Ah, the tree house: A childhood dream that almost every child probably wishes they could have. If you have children and are thinking of making a fort in the trees, you can do it yourself in your backyard. These DIY treehouse ideas will inspire you.
Whether you want to share your experience of having a one-of-a-kind playhouse in the sky with your kids or are keen to build them the treehouse or raised platform in the trees you always wish you had, you'll find plenty of inspiration among these do-it-yourself design options.
What to add to your treehouse depends on the child or children. Do you make it a pirate hideout with a hidden trapdoor? How about bunk beds for a true treehouse adventure ala Swiss Family Robinson? Great additions to consider:
- Cargo net climbing ropes
- A fireman's pole
- Rope bridge
- Rock-climbing wall
- Pulley lift system
You can build a treehouse on a budget by reclaiming wood for railing and banisters or using pre-fabricated picket panels that also cut your build time. The best trees for support are deciduous, strong trees with dense wood, including oak, maple, fir, apple, beech, hemlock, or cedar.
Take a look at these plans; some are simple treehouse ideas that took a week for beginner DIYers, while others are more complex and took several months.
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Layers of Fun
This two-story tree house from Living Edge Treehouses & Edible Landscapes featured on Houzz connects a simple tree platform to a raised shelter via a cargo net passage. It provides plenty of spots to sit and play. And it’s an ideal setting to hang out and catch the breeze on a warm summer day.Continue to 2 of 27 below.
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Toddler-Friendly Tree House
Although it may sit a little lower to the ground than your average tree house, this pint-size tree-stump palace spotted on Made With Happy will leave your little one on cloud nine. With a cheery yellow interior, clean blue-and-white striped curtains, and roughly a 3-foot drop to the grass below, it’s the perfect starter home for an adventurous toddler.Continue to 3 of 27 below.
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This rustic tree house featured on Houzz by Whitney Lyons incorporates organic materials and scrap lumber into a simple design that blends nicely into its garden surroundings. The best part is the bucket on a pulley. It's perfect for passing secret messages and other goodies to friends above.Continue to 4 of 27 below.
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Custom Tree Fort
Spotted on Houzz, this custom tree fort from Stout Design-Build is a childhood dream come true. The multi-deck tree house features swings, a slide, and a rock-climbing wall. The hand-painted signs add a personalized touch; you could even turn them into an art project with your kids.Continue to 5 of 27 below.
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Pallet Wood Tree House
Add cushions, pillows, blankets, and a string or two of fairy lights, and you’ll have a comfortable hideaway that will entertain your kiddos all summer. Plus, the pallets can be painted to customize your design further.Continue to 6 of 27 below.
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Simple Slat House With Modern Appeal
This contemporary reinvention of the classic tree house from Austin Outdoor Design and featured on Houzz boasts rich tigerwood slats and floating stairs. The look comes together with its elegant, modern steel frame. It's fun for the kids and a beautiful art piece for your yard.Continue to 7 of 27 below.
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This four-post platform tree house, spotted on ideiasdiferentes on Instagram, leaves plenty of room for a pair of comfy hammocks suspended below the main deck. You can have fun playing up top, and then curl up in a hammock below with a good summer read.Continue to 8 of 27 below.
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With its clean lines, steel foundation, and corrugated plastic walls, this modern playhouse by Studio 30 Architects is almost sculptural in its beauty. It offers fun for the kids and aesthetic appeal for the backyard. Plus, its plastic walls keep the interior protected from the elements.Continue to 9 of 27 below.
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Double the Fun
This beautiful woodland tree house from Barbara Butler doubles the amount of aerial play space thanks to its use of two neighboring trees. One tree holds a tree house, while the other has an open platform for variety. And a cargo net bridge connects the trees and offers multiple ways to climb and play.Continue to 10 of 27 below.
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Few tree houses, modern or otherwise, are as eye-catching as this wood-slat cube created by Naço Architectures and featured by Duende. You don't need a huge budget or expert building skills to develop this treehouse. The design is easy to replicate with straight cuts on the wood pieces.Continue to 11 of 27 below.
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Simple Chevron Tree House
With its rustic chevron walls in multi-toned woods, this simple tree house by blogger Carrie Bloomston transforms reclaimed wood into an artful and visually exciting play space. Because the tree involved was too small to hold up a tree house, the family built a freestanding platform around it. The interior features a comfy spot to read and enjoy the nice weather.Continue to 12 of 27 below.
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Hobbit Hole Tree House
It may be tucked snugly against the ground, but this hobbit-inspired hideout from ghettocottage on Instructables is a form of a treehouse. Built around the base of a tree and covered with a grassy roof, this charming little house creates a beautiful place space for kids. Plus, it fits right in with its natural surroundings.Continue to 13 of 27 below.
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Texture-Rich Tree House
Cedar shake shingles and a corrugated metal roof add rich textural dimension to this simple plywood playhouse by Shannon of Dirt Digging Sisters. With no treehouse-worthy tree in sight, the family had to improvise. They incorporated a sapling tree into their design that will hopefully grow into its new digs.Continue to 14 of 27 below.
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This pirate treehouse designed by johnkry19 on Autodesk Instructables is any child's ultimate dream. It took the original builder 100 hours and about $1,800 to construct this 8-foot by 8-foot house, using decking boards for the flooring. The roof is built of OSB board. It features a front porch using a premade railing. And to make their intent clear that this place is for seadogs and scallywags, this pirate hangout proudly displays its own Jolly Roger flag.Continue to 15 of 27 below.
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Tree House With Knee Braces
This treehouse plan from Village Custom Furniture features multiple pages of information on how to get started by building a simple platform to installing a ladder and surrounding gate. The treehouse's platform was built in a red oak tree with a trunk circumference of about 5 to 6 feet. It features 8-foot beams for the platform. To give the wobbly foundation stability, this house was built with knee braces that were custom-cut to account for the irregularities in the tree trunk.Continue to 16 of 27 below.
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Trapdoor Tree Deck
Kristen Duke, her husband, and four children built this open-air tree deck in two months next to their home. It is made hugging a tree but is fully supported by posts set in concrete in the ground. It features three hinged trapdoors, corner seats for each of the children, and a fully functional staircase.Continue to 17 of 27 below.
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When your children have a four-level treehouse play area to call their own before they hit their tweens, they're some of the coolest kids on the block. This treehouse from hotrodz0321 featured on Autodesk Instructables has two slides, a soft mulched base at the bottom of the tree, and a boat filled with sand as a sandbox. It's built on posts and doesn't get its support from a tree, although it's made amongst the trees. It has electricity running to it, giving it the "ultimate" in its name.
The interior of the treehouse was built with reclaimed wood from pallets, windows from a thrift store, and a used railing from an old church. The exterior was made to last using HardieBoard, pressure-treated lumber, and a roof made of asphalt shingles.Continue to 18 of 27 below.
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An A-frame treehouse is a classic architectural design and an excellent place to start. David and Jeanie Stiles have written dozens of books all about how to build treehouses of different shapes and styles. They share their plans for an A-frame construction with OutdoorLife using two 10-foot support posts and the tree as the third support point. The flooring is made of plywood and framed using 8-foot long 2-inch by 8-inch fir boards. For the deck flooring, they used 8-foot cedar planks. The roofing is made of asphalt shingles to keep out the rain and other elements.Continue to 19 of 27 below.
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Corner Tree Fort
This 8-foot tree fort was built by a single mom who used as many premade building materials to make this project go faster, requiring less cutting and measuring than many other projects. The treehouse foundation is built on three posts rooted in poured cement. The flooring is 2-inch by 6-inch boards.
Once the frame was built, the 8-foot floor boards were easy to install with simple nailing; no cutting or measuring was required. One knee brace was secured to the tree, supporting the post-less corner. It's the only spot where the tree is used for support. To encase the fort, this DIYer used prefabricated stockade fencing as a privacy screen, and premade railings were also used to complete this project faster.Continue to 20 of 27 below.
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Redwood Tree Deck
When builder shawnconna bought his land with a redwood tree stump with steps carved in its remains, it gave him an idea. Since surrounding the stump was a stand of living redwoods, he felt it would make great support for a tree deck.
This six-month project involves a spiderweb support system for the floor platform, making it up to code and strong enough to support a two-level house if desired. To enclose the deck, reclaimed wood made up the railings. An old copper pipe was upcycled for use as a fireman's pole, and a cargo net was added as a fun climbing structure and an alternate way to climb into the tree deck.Continue to 21 of 27 below.
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A Platform in the Trees
Many people don't want to harm or injure a tree, and it's possible when drilling into them, especially when you don't know what you're doing. This dad decided to build a platform in the trees, but not on them.
This design didn't require digging post holes or pouring concrete. This 8-foot square tree-encircled platform was made from pressure-treated lumber and was built in a week for $500. The biggest expense was $400 for the lumber. A hammock, tent, and slackline turned this simple platform into the perfect kids' playground.Continue to 22 of 27 below.
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Treehouse Tucked Between Two Oaks
Two oak trees support this treehouse. This builder decided to construct the house in his garage, fabricating each of the sections in place. This way, his building wouldn't be done uncomfortably up in a tree, where it could get less precise. Raising the roof was no small task, but his pulley system in the trees got the job done. It features fully finished walls, a door, windows, a roof, and a hidden trapdoor for a quick escape hatch.Continue to 23 of 27 below.
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Treehouse for Two Neighboring Families
This DIY project from Ron Hazelton includes photos with step-by-step instructions and a video tutorial. This treehouse was built next to a property wall that straddles two property lines, giving access to both families with children. It uses a tree as one support point. The other support points are three 4-inch by 4-inch posts set into the ground with poured concrete. At ground level, the house walls were framed. Pickets were added once the frames were added to the house foundation in the tree.Continue to 24 of 27 below.
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Tree Deck for Younger Children
This treehouse from Les Kenny from Buildeasy is more like a deck surrounding a tree; it has a staircase with a handrail leading up to the deck and enclosing the entire deck. It was built with smaller children in mind. It can be modified for older children by incorporating a ladder versus a staircase. It also contains four in-ground posts set in concrete for the deck foundation. Additional features include a slide and swing.Continue to 25 of 27 below.
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Exercise Tree Fort
Katie Wells from Wellness Mama shares her materials list, schematic plans, and a video that discusses how she made a 12-foot tall treehouse and exercise playground for active children. Its super cool features include a rock climbing wall, climbing rope, zipline, slackline, fireman's pole, hammock chairs, a hammock, gymnastic rings and trapeze, and cargo net.Continue to 26 of 27 below.
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Treehouse With Porch
This treehouse design by bloomie972 on Autodesk Instructables is secured to a tree with four corner posts. The walls were framed on the ground and lifted into place. This treehouse features a trapdoor, a fully functioning front door, front porch, and a shingled roof.Continue to 27 of 27 below.
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The Owl House in the Woods
This freestanding treehouse is set in the woods, surrounded by trees, but trees do not support it; no trees were required. It features a fully framed house, deck, and lookout spot. It's set on a triangular platform and does not require concrete posts for stability. It features bunks inside the house, a dutch door, and a pulley system for lifting items into the treehouse.