Over the next few months I will be posting some of the important considerations that I address when I perform the backyard consult for a Tree House project. These backyard visits are always free for my Tree House clients and are one of my favorite parts of the process.
The height of the Tree House is always an integral part of the discussion. I have found that parents, especially Dads (who are normally completely rational!), are often excited about placing the Tree House well up into a tree, but kids usually have other ideas. Children are most interested in having the feeling of being under a tree instead of being halfway up near the top of a tree. There are many advantages in building a Tree House with the main platform at a height of 5 to 6 feet. First is the safety issue: it is far more pleasant to tumble 5 or 6 feet rather than 10 or 15! Second is that it usually affords us the ability to build the structure below most of the branches and thus avoid the need to cut them. This is especially true of roofed Tree Houses. We like to preserve as much of the tree as possible. By keeping the Tree House lower their is more useable headroom space below the major branches. Third is that most of our trees in Colorado’s Front Range are small and less than ideal for Tree Houses. So we put less stress on the trees by staying lower and using the larger diameter portion of the trunk. Fourth is that with our standard design and construction the 5 to 6 foot height keeps our costs more reasonable. Added height means added material and labor expense. Fifth is an issue that comes into play with most of our Tree Houses: accessories, kids want them! Slides and other accessories are designed for heights of 5 to 6 feet, and ones built for higher attachment heights are very pricey. Sixth is one part of this Tree House building game that can be a major hassle: M.I. (municipal involvement) which is fortunately not often an issue. The less M.I. that we attract, the easier life will be for you, me and your kids. Most cities want to insure that a Tree House or any play structure is built outside of setbacks and easements. They also don’t want to get a get a call from an neighbor about a structure in your yard, and actually they truly dread those calls. (I will address the whole M.I. issue more fully in another entry soon) A 20 foot high Tree House can bring unwanted attention from many sources!
There are trees that beg for a taller Tree House and backyards that are ideal for one. And please don’t misunderstand me, I love to build big Tree Houses!!!!! But mostly I will be talking to my clients about the 5 to 6 foot rule.
Until next time, Keep dreaming about Tree Houses!!!!