Not a Tree House, Not a Climbing Frame





Introduction: Not a Tree House, Not a Climbing Frame

I wanted to build something for my children to play in and on. Something like a climbing frame (Jungle Jim?) or a tree house.

But none of our trees are really big enough yet for a proper treehouse, and lots of climbing frames are a bit hard on the eye. So this is something in-between. It is partly supported by the trees and partly stands on legs. It still sways with the trees so it has that treehouse "feel" and being all wood it blends in pretty well.

The main structure is all pressure treated fencing parts, working with wood in the round like this was fun and making it all fit to the trees meant it was quite a challenge.
I first cut the top horizontal bar to fit in two crooks between branches and the trunk, just jig-sawing out curves until they fit nicely. Then bashed the big pointy ended round legs into the ground. Then I just cobbled the rest around it.
I should emphasise that I didn't screw nail or tie anything to the trees, it just hangs. The only exception is the low horizontal to the contorted willow which has a sort of "clamp" around the branch to stop it lifting when you stand on the small platform. This should get "split open" by the branch as it grows... or at least that's the theory, I can always unscrew it.

I did this in a rush, less than a day all in, so I didnt have time to do a full step by step instructable but hopefully the pictures help.

All the fencing wood was rather a garish light green from the pressure treatment so we stained it with tea (just a whole box of old tea bags in a couple of litres of boiling water) then gave it a coat of linseed oil to help protect it from the elements and seal in the tea stain. It seems to have worked well and the children love it.

Underneath I added a "spinner" that I made about 15 years ago for something else, it has a proper ball thrust bearing in it so you can spin indefinitely.

As the trees grow it will no-doubt become warped and twisted and I will need to jack the legs up out of the ground and extend them or make alternative arrangements. I also want to add on other things, maybe some monkey bars, or maybe build another one in other trees and build a rope bridge between them... then again maybe I was just at a very impressionable age when I saw the Ewok village in Star Wars....  

The trees are a contorted Willow and a Golden Alder.

UPDATE: The "perch" is holding up just fine several months on. It has had a good bit of use by children between about 3 and 13 with no problems.



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    5 Discussions

    LOL....OK, I'm sure the guys at Home Depot will really enjoy your pictures and helping me gather the parts. They are actually rather cool like that! PS.....Beautiful BackYard

    1 reply

    I joined this site after google sent me here. i want to build a treehouse for my daughter and have the SAME exact backyard, SO after all the treehouses I have checked out here, THIS project IS PERFECT for us, seems rather inexpesive and Im thinking I can handle this one, Its actually perfect! Thanks so much for the detailed instructions!

    Trees grow taller from new growth at the top not the bottom. So the height where you have the posts attached is where they will stay until the tree dies...However trees continue to get bigger around every year. The reason some trees have long trunks with no branches is because the lower eventually die from shading by the newer upper branches and the bark (which like our skin is constantly being replaced) covers over the knot where the old branch was.

    Great work and no worries about the height; just the movement in the horizontal direction. And keep an eye out for bugs where the post meet the branch.

    This is really cool. You've inspired us. We have the same problem with the trees in our yard.