How to Build a Tree House for Kids

Looking for a fun project to do with your kids? Why not build them a tree house! This backyard tree house is perfect for kids of all ages and can be customized to fit your needs. We’ll show you how to build a tree house, step by step. So gather up your tools and materials and let’s get started!

tree house
Image by FreePik

Picking the Right Tree

When it comes to building a treehouse, the most important thing is to find the right tree. You’ll want to choose one that is sturdy and strong, with thick branches that can support the weight of the treehouse. It’s also important to consider the height of the tree – you’ll want something tall enough for a nice view, but not so high that it’s unsafe. Something where the treehouse can sit about 6 feet off the ground but not much more than 10 feet off the ground. Additionally, take care to choose a tree that is healthy and free from damage.

Choose a tree that is durable enough to support your new treehouse and any visitors who may use the area. Ideally, you’ll choose one with a distinct “y” shaped limb.

Treehouses may be constructed of a variety of materials, including wood. Oak, maple, and hickory are all good hardwood woods for treehouses. Also, avoid trees with shallow roots since they are more vulnerable and have a weaker foundation.

Once you’ve found the perfect tree, you can start planning and building your dream treehouse.

Choosing a Design

The next step is to draw up treehouse plans as accurately as possible. Creating a blueprint will ensure you have the right materials during the build. 

To get started, measure the height from the ground to the platform location and then measure how large you want the platform. Include these dimensions in your plan. Once you have the basic platform measurements, you can start thinking about walls and railings. These will provide extra safety for the future treehouse occupants. If you’re not sure what kind of materials to use, don’t worry – there are plenty of treehouse plans available online that can give you some ideas.

Building a Foundation

The first step in building your treehouse is to set some 4×4 posts into concrete deck blocks. You’ll want to use scrap lumber to prop up the posts while you’re working, to make sure they stay in place. Once the posts are set, use 2 x 8 bands to connect them together. Make sure to use a level during this process, so that everything lines up correctly. Then, use your framing nailer and 3-inch framing nails to secure the connection. With the foundation in place, you’re now ready to start building the walls of your treehouse.

Build a Platform

The direction of your deck boards for the base of your child’s tree house will determine the direction of your floor joists. You’ll want to choose a direction that will allow the joists to run perpendicular to the decking boards. This will provide additional support for the deck and make it more stable. Once you’ve determined the direction of your decking, you can begin planning the rest of your build. Keep reading how to build your tree house.

Floor Joists

The next step is to attach the floor joists to the tree. First, pre-drill the tree and the 2 x 8’s. This will make it easier to install and decrease the odds that the boards will crack. Once drilled, use an impact wrench to tighten the screws. Keep in mind, your lag screws should be at least 6 inches long. Now, add the remaining floor joists at 16 inches from the center. With this final step, the floor of the tree house is complete!

Attach the Joist Hangers

Hammer the joist hangers into place with 1-inch galvanized nails after installing the support beams.

Cutting the Angle Braces

Next, it’s time to cut your shorter 4 x 4 posts for angle braces. The braces will add extra stability to the tree house’s foundation. Cut the posts at a 45-degree angle, and each one should be about 2 feet long. Once you have all of your braces cut, it’s time to attach them to the foundation post with 3-inch deck nails. This will help ensure that your tree house is sturdy and safe.

Deck Boards in Place

It’s time to add the decking to your treehouse platform! You’ll want to choose a material that is durable and weather resistant, such as cedar or pressure-treated lumber. Be sure to measure each piece, as you’ll have to cut around tree and the posts to fit. You can use 2-inch wood nails to attach the decking to the platform. Once all the boards are in place, give the entire structure a good sanding to smooth out any rough edges. Time to move on to framing the walls…

The Tree House Walls

The next step in how to build your tree house is to measure and cut your 2 x 4 studs. You’ll want to build the frame based on the perimeter of the platform and your desired height of the roof. Once you have your studs cut, you can attach them to the platform using your framing nailer and 3-inch nails. Next, add vertical studs at 16 inches on the center. Remember to frame out where you’ve planned for doors and windows. Just a little tip: Install temporary 2 x 4’s across the top to keep the walls plumb. With the frame of your treehouse complete, you’re one step closer to the completion of your tree house!

Roof structure

The tree house is coming together nicely! The roof is one of the most important parts of the tree house, as it helps to protect against the elements. To build the roof, start by creating the ridge beam. This will be a long piece of lumber that runs along the top of the tree house. Then, attach rafters to the beam, spacing them evenly along the length of the beam. The rafters should reach from the top plate of the walls to the ridge beam. Time for the walls!

Build the Walls

Now that the floor and walls are up, it’s time to start working on the roof. The first step is to frame up your gable end walls from the floor to the rafters using your 2×4 studs. Once they’re attached, you can remove the temporary 2x4s. Just be sure to leave enough space between the rafters for your roofing material. You can also add some braces at this point to help support the walls if you think they might be too weak.


Now that your walls are in place, you can begin installing the siding. Measure and cut the siding to fit, then attach it to the walls using your framing nailer and 2-3/8 inch framing nails. Start with the gable end walls, then move on to the sides. If you have any excess wood, use a reciprocating saw to remove it. That’s all there is to it!

Cutting out doors and windows

Cut out holes for doors and windows with your reciprocating saw.

Finish the Roof

Cut pieces of plywood sheathing to fit between the rafters, then use a framing nailer and 2 3/8-inch nails to attach them in place. Leave enough space for the tree trunk to pass through, as well as enough plywood for a 6-inch overhang on all sides. This will help protect your treehouse from the elements and provide a bit of extra shade. With the roof in place, your treehouse is now ready for some finishing touches.

Trim Out Windows and Doors

Even the most basic treehouse can be taken to the next level with the addition of trim around the doors and windows. Trim gives the treehouse a more finished look and can be easily created using 1 x 4 and 1 x 6 lumber. Attach the trim using your nailer, and you’re sure to impress everyone who steps foot in your treehouse!

Safety Rail

A handrail is very important to have regardless of what age plans to use the treehouse. Here are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure to attach the handrail around the deck area, leaving space for the ladder and entrance. Second, connect the railing to the posts using rail connector brackets. And third, be sure to check your local building codes to ensure that your handrail meets all the necessary requirements. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your treehouse is both safe and stylish.

tree house
Image by FreePik

Adding a Ladder

A treehouse just isn’t a treehouse without a ladder. A ladder not only provides the required access to get into your treetop abode, but it also adds an element of adventure. If you’re planning on including a ladder in your treehouse design, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, space the rungs of the ladder about 7 to 10 inches apart. This will provide enough space for foot placement without being too wide and cumbersome. Next, cut the steps for the ladder out of 2 x 4 lumber. How many steps you’ll need will depend on the height of your treehouse. Finally, attach the steps to the tree using 3-inch deck screws and your drill. Pre-drilling the holes will make this step easier.

Stain or Paint

If you want to keep it natural-looking, a clear coat of sealer will help protect the wood and keep it looking good for years to come. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can paint your tree house with a pop of color. This will definitely make it stand out and be more fun for kids (and adults!) to play in.

Decorate Your Tree House

You finally have your tree house built. Now it’s time to make it your own special space. Add some furniture, like a table and chairs or beanbag chairs. Curtains can give you privacy and also help keep the weather out. Plants in fun planters brighten up the space and make it feel more like home. And don’t forget a firepole or rope exit for quick exits (or entrances!). You could even use a zip line to go from the tree house to the ground (or another tree house). With a little bit of imagination, your tree house can be the best place in the world.

Building a tree house is a fun and rewarding project for both kids and adults. By following the simple steps in this article, you can create your own backyard tree house that will be enjoyed by all. So get out those power tools and get to work! Please feel free to share this post with friends who may be looking at how to build a tree house.

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