Treehouses are some of the best places to spend your outdoor time. Kids love to sit in them, draw in them, play games in them, and do just about anything else they can think of in them. You can build your own treehouse or have one built for you. The easiest way to get started is to find an experienced carpenter who has plenty of ideas about how to build a good treehouse. They’re usually meant for children, but they also make a great place for teenagers and adults to hang out.
First, you must decide what kind of treehouse will be best for your yard and your family. There are two basic styles of treehouses — single-level and multi-level. Keep in mind that the larger your treehouse is, the more time it will take to build it correctly.
Customize your tree house with a ladder to enter and exit. You can build your own or just buy one at a hardware store. Be sure that the ladder is sturdy and will not tip over as you ascend and descend, especially if more than one child is using it.
How to build a ladder
Find a sturdy tree to attach your ladder to. Make sure it is at waist level, or slightly higher. Make sure they are about eye level when you are standing on the ladder’s foothold. This will be the ladder’s base where you will get on and off of it, so make sure it is level with the ground.
Cut the tree to an appropriate height for your treehouse ladder- make sure you can easily reach it without any difficulty.
Get ready for some tree trimming! Trim off all the branches that won’t be strong enough to hold a treehouse ladder. You might also want to cut any tree limbs that could interfere with your treehouse ladder here.
Attach several beams between the tree trunk and nearby trees – similar in appearance to how treehouses are typically built. Make sure the ladder will be able to support your weight safely and make sure you can get on and off of it easily. Make sure it is sturdy, but not too high- ladder safety is very important for kids.
Use rope or wire to help support the weight of people standing on top of your new treehouse ladder. Hang this wire or rope horizontally across where you plan to put the bottom of your tree ladder, and tie it around the tree trunk or tree limbs. Again, make sure the ladder can safely support your weight and is not too high.
Place a beam across these two trees at tree height, and attach one end to the tree closest to the treehouse tree, using a bolt. The other end of this beam should be attached to a nail by wire or rope. You can use a pulley system for added support if desired.
Trace the outline of your ladder’s baseboards onto plywood. Cut out these boards from plywood- make them about an inch smaller than the traced outline so they fit snugly in between the baseboard pieces nailed into place on either side of them. Make several steps cut from plywood this same way.
Make ladder rungs from 2x4s or dowels. For each ladder stringer, use three pieces of wood that are the same width as your ladder’s treads and rungs. Drill a hole through the center of these boards at one end, and attach them together with wire or rope at the other end. Once they are attached, these ladder stringer boards can be slid onto the ladder stringers to make your ladder’s steps.
Your ladder is now ready for kids to climb up and down from their treehouse!
How to attach a ladder to the treehouse
Find a sturdy tree to attach your ladder to. Make sure it is at waist level, or slightly higher. Cut the tree to an appropriate height for your treehouse ladder- make sure you can easily reach it. Get ready for some tree trimming! Trim off all the branches that won’t be strong enough to hold a treehouse ladder. You might also want to cut any tree limbs that could interfere with your treehouse ladder here. Attach several beams between the tree trunk and nearby trees – similar in appearance to how treehouses are typically built.
Climb up the tree and find the perfect spot for the ladder. Remember that you will need at least one side to be against another tree or other stable object. Also, make sure it is high enough off the ground but short enough so you can easily climb up it. The height of your highest step needs to be around 2ft 4in (or 60cm for metric users). It can vary depending on how tall or short you are but remember that safety should always come first! Always get another adult’s help if needed with this part.
Attach the ladder to the tree. There are many different ways to do this, but the most common is bolting it in with lag screws. This is done by drilling pilot holes into the tree and then using a socket wrench (or ratchet) on your drill. You can attach each side of the ladder separately or make them both one long ladder. Also, make sure that no part of the ladder is touching any tree branches.
Attach strong lines/ ropes/ cables between two trees at least 8ft (2.5m) higher than your treehouse for support beams if needed. These will usually be tied off with tight knots such as a trucker’s hitch knot. Some treehouses don’t have these but they should only be built without them if you know what you’re doing!
Cut tree branches around treehouse to keep treehouse and ladder clear of tree limbs and leaves. Also, attach “safety railings” to keep kids safe as they go up and down your ladder for safety. You can attach them by drilling pilot holes, nailing or screwing them to the ladder stringer boards. Also, check online what safety precautions you need to take to comply with your country’s legal requirements for treehouse safety! ( This can differ from county to country)
Make sure the steps are strong enough by holding onto them over a hard floor over 13ft (4m) off the ground and pushing down on them with your body weight. If you feel like they might break, try to fix it before climbing up or get another adult for help!
Now that you’re done, climb up your tree ladder with some friends and enjoy your treehouse!
Treehouse ladder safety tips and precautions :
- Ladder safety is very important! Always make sure your ladder is sturdy and able to support your weight before climbing on it. Ladder accidents can be serious.
- Ladder rungs should always be worn over the ladder’s feet, not under them. This way, there will be less likelihood of slipping.
- Ladder rungs should always have a gap between them of at least 2.5 inches or more – ladder safety is very important for kids!
- Never do anything on a ladder or tree ladder that will cause it to sway, rock, or wobble – ladder accidents can be serious.
- Always hold the edges of your ladder with both hands – this will keep you nice and steady as you climb
- Don’t ever stand on top of a table or any other object to balance yourself (and definitely don’t do it on top of a tree branch!)
- If there is anything wrong with your ladder – such as a broken step – get an adult to help you fix it or tell someone who can before using it!
- Always make sure another good, stable ladder is within easy reach in case the one you’re on breaks. If the ladder does break and you keep hold of the sides, there’s a better chance that you’ll be saved from injury.
- If the ladder is very long, try having one or two small ladders along with it that can be easily climbed if the long ladder breaks. This way, you’ll have an easier way to get down in case of an emergency – your safety is very important!
- Always keep at least 6ft (2m) away from tree branches (or any object above your head).
- Never try to climb up a tree if you cannot see where the branches are that may support your weight. This is because it’s very easy to get hurt or break something this way.
- You should always wear sensible shoes when climbing ladders, especially ones attached to trees! This way, you won’t slip.
- Just like when climbing up a ladder, you should never climb down a tree ladder too fast and make sure your feet are always on the outside of each step – this will keep you safe in case it breaks!
- There should always be at least one other good, stable ladder available in case something goes wrong with the one you are climbing. This way, there is always a safe exit point if an emergency happens.
- Don’t go over 13ft (4m) above the ground on your ladder. If something did happen at this height, it would be very difficult to get down!
Treehouses may take some time to build, but they sure are worth it. Check out our other treehouse-related blog here. Let us know in the comments how your treehouse looks!
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