Monday, August 31, 2015

Backyard treehouse

I grew up on the east coast (North Carolina until I was 16, then Pennsylvania; now my parents live in Tennessee) so trees are important to me. Like, really important.

I spent my childhood playing in the woods behind my house. I had my own little tree fort that I built with scraps of plywood and nails I stole from my dad and I loved playing and reading in it.

 When we were house hunting, I knew that I needed to find a yard with trees in it--easier said than done in Utah! One of the things that made me fall in love with not only our house but our whole neighborhood is how many mature trees there are on our street. We have seven large, shady, beautiful trees in our backyard and one of the very first things we did after moving in was hang a couple of swings from one. We've spent many happy hours on those swings!
A few years after we moved in, I built a little platform in the trees with a slide coming down from it. 

It was fine for reading or maybe eating lunch...

Tempe and Helena in 2011 at the original enchanted treehouse
But it was small. Like, one kid at a time small. We talked about enlarging it for years but it was just too big a project for me to take on by myself. 

I love the look and idea of natural playgrounds and playscapes. I think kids are already drawn to incorporating natural elements into their play--rocks, treestumps, logs and such. I also love how charming natural playspaces are and how easily they can blend into existing landscaping. So when my dad came out for business last week and asked what project I wanted him to do while he was here, we jumped on the chance to get our dream treehouse built!

We built the treehouse frame out of redwood 2x6s and 2x8s, attached to the trees with lag bolts and redwood 4x4 posts. Just like the original, there's a narrow platform between the cluster of five trees where the slide comes down, and then there's a larger platform off to the side. It's about 6 ft square--plenty of room for lots of friends to play together!

I splurged and used Veranda composite decking for the deck and I'm so glad I did. It's so nice that I don't have to worry about kids getting splinters or any upkeep! Definitely worth the extra $40 (yeah--it was only $40 more than using lumber. So not even much of a splurge!)

The three wooden pennants have been in Tempe and Helena's bedroom for a few years, but they are perfect in the treehouse instead. I found a string of solar lanterns at Wal-Mart to hang in the trees. Treehouse + lanterns softly twinkling at night = perfection.

Let this be my public proclamation of THANKS to Grandpa K, aka Big Kahuna for his 12+ hours of work to get this thing framed for us. We love you!

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