Our Giving Tree…

The tree in our backyard is amazing.  As far as trees go, it’s a simple fruitless mulberry, and not really anything special, but I love it.  I love it because it provides just enough shade to cool the sand box and our thrifted hammock in the summer.  I love it because it holds Son’s swing.  And now, keeping with the idea that this tree is the hub of our backyard, it holds Son’s scavenged slide and tree house.  I happened to spot the slide on the side of the curb one day, and Husband carried it home for me, in a truck, of course.  To Husband’s credit, he rigged up something to make the slide usable for Son, but I was getting tired of looking at this…

A few months back, I shared with you my tree house template idea.  I used some cardboard to trace out the basic shape of the tree house platform.  I figured it was lighter, and more easily handled than wood would be.  Then over the weekend, Husband and I finally built the actual, wooden platform.  Cardboard isn’t exactly recommended for a tree house.

We started with some 2x6s laid out, using screws for spacers between each plank.  The spacing will allow for both water runoff, and swelling of the wood.

Then I laid the template on top, and traced around it.

Then Husband had to cut through each 2×6 to get the required shape.  It wasn’t exactly easy, cutting curves in a 2″ thick piece of wood, but Husband indulged me, as he often does when I get neurotic about a design.  It’s nice to have good help.

Once the pieces were cut, I had the task of putting the puzzle back together, but in reverse, being sure to include the spacers.  Then we placed some ripped 1x boards across to hold the platform together.

We quickly discovered that each piece of 2×6 would need 2 screws to keep it from twisting.  Once we had it all attached, we placed it into the tree.  It suddenly became apparent that I hadn’t fully thought this out.  While the platform shape looked great, and fit fairly well, we had no way to support the platform.  I guess I was hoping it would simply rest of the tree limbs, but it wasn’t exactly stable.  Instead, Husband attached some 2×6 scraps between the platform and the tree to create shelves.  Of course to test its security, I climbed up and jumped a few times.  I’m still here, writing this post, so it obviously worked.

Now we just had to attach the slide.

I stayed in the tree house, and Husband thought about the slide.  After a few back and forths, we finally worked out a way to hang the slide, and once it was finished, I had the scary job of testing it out.

The last step was getting boards attached to the trunk of the tree so Son, and anyone else, could climb up to the tree house.  We decided to go with the traditional wooden plank screwed to the tree method.  We chose to use some scrap 2x4s that had been outside for a while, so they were nicely acclimated to the weather.  They were also part of the previous slide setup.  We cut them down, and then added spacers behind each board as needed for stability.

Naturally, we still had to get Son to climb up the ladder, and slide down the slide.  He was a little unsure, but I showed him where to put his hands, and reassured him the whole time.

Once he overcame his fears, he was ecstatic.

He played on the new slide all evening.  He doesn’t have mush use for the ladder, still, preferring to climb up the slide, but he’s getting there.

I can’t help but smile when I look out my back door.  I love it.  It’s just what I wanted.  The tree house is compact, fun, and it doesn’t take over my back yard.  It also cost us a grand total of 30 bucks, and we have several boards left over to use on other projects.  Even better, Son loves it.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like when the leaves come in.  I may also paint the platform with some of our leftover house paint.  Of course, I’ll share if I do.



Filed under DIY, Home Design, Home Making, Save my Wallet, Save the Earth, Toys

2 responses to “Our Giving Tree…

  1. What a great project! I love the outcome and how your son is super happy about it. I’m predicting a lot of hours spent on that treehouse!

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