Home > Case Studies > We Built Our Own Tree House: A Case Study

We Built Our Own Tree House: A Case Study

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 26 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Tree House Paddock Trees Shed Wood

What do you do if you have a three acre paddock in front of your house and two young boys desperate to get out and play? Well, if you're Alan Gerrard you use it as an excuse to build a huge tree house.

Perfect Setting

"There's a number of things going on out there," Alan said, "and it's all part of trying to improve the environment for us, the boys in particular."

Anyone looking at the Tudor hunting lodge set in its grounds would imagine it was the perfect environment already. But the house is only separated by the paddock from a busy A-road in Essex and the noise is very intrusive.

"People think we must be loaded," he said, "but the house had been empty for three years when we bought it (in 2000) so we were able to drive a strong bargain. We hocked everything we had and nearly bankrupted both our parents too, but we're here for life and that's why I put time into long-term projects."

Planting a Wood

The particular long-term project he's referring to is transforming the paddock into a wood, mainly to provide more of a noise barrier. There were already half a dozen large mature trees and a handful of smaller ones in the paddock. Before he started adding his own trees, Alan decided to put a tree house in the middle where three large trees grew, about ten to fifteen feet from each other.

"We decided to build a platform between the main trunks of the two that are closest together and then send two outrigging beams to the third one, forming a triangular base," said Alan. Those beams had to be huge, about 8 x 6, to take the weight. There are five thick ropes with metal eye ends, from a chandlers in Brightlingsea, spreading the load of the triangle of vast beams among supporting branches.

Brothers in Arms

"Once we'd figured the main triangle out, the rest was just filling in the gaps, we finished it off in the two weekends that followed," said Alan. The 'we' in this case is Alan's long-suffering brother James, who always seems to be roped in for the heavy work.

"We made the triangular platform by simply filling the gaps with smaller timbers and planks on top, then we bought a 6 x 8 shed to put on top of it," said James. "The second weekend we spent building handrails, a step ladder and a few other bits and pieces. Those were the things we hadn't really thought about until we had the main timbers up."

Was there anything else that they hadn't really thought about? "Getting the whole thing up there!" laughed James. "We spent hours on the first weekend trying to lever and winch the large beams into place but the thing that nearly killed me was hauling the shed walls up!"

Satisfaction Guaranteed

But it was all made worthwhile a fortnight later when Alan's oldest son, Robert, had his fifth birthday party. "Fourteen kids swarmed all over the tree house and had a fantastic time," Alan said, "and just watching the smiles on their faces was reward enough."

"You start these things thinking they're going to be cheap projects," Alan added, "I mean how much can it be to throw up a few bits of wood? But in the end, mainly because of buying the shed and the size of the main supporting beams, it ended up costing about twelve hundred pounds!"

Short Term Effort, Long Term Benefits

Still, Alan built it to last, with the intention of using it as his hideaway when the children have grown up. Eight years later it's still there, slowly turning green among the trees that have been planted around it. It looks like the plan is working so far.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • AGardenBuilding
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    Chris - Your Question:I have a house and at the end of my garden is double garage if I want to sell my house and keep the garages can I…
    20 March 2017
  • Chris
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    I have a house and at the end of my garden is double garage if I want to sell my house and keep the garages can I take it out the deeds?…
    17 March 2017
  • Trine
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    We have been renovating our house for last 7 years turning the 80's nightmare to a nice modern space. We've got bored and now want to sell…
    29 January 2017
  • AGardenBuilding
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    Ernie - Your Question:I have a four bed house but all rooms are extremely small. The house was built as part of an estate in the 1980s.…
    17 November 2016
  • Ernie
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    I have a four bed house but all rooms are extremely small. The house was built as part of an estate in the 1980s. The rooms are so small…
    16 November 2016
  • HouseBuyer
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    My fiancĂ© and I viewed a property and really wanted to purchase it. Fortunately prior to involving Solicitors etc. it came to light that…
    11 April 2016
  • jont
    Re: Building Regulations for Garden Structures
    Hi i live in a housing trust flat (bottom) my neighbour also! he has a12ft by 12ft outside my windows…
    19 March 2016
  • AGardenBuilding
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    john the paint - Your Question:I have planning to build an annex on the side of my existing house, question, if sold in the future can I…
    15 February 2016
  • john the paint
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    I have planning to build an annex on the side of my existing house, question, if sold in the future can i sell it has a separate sale to…
    12 February 2016
  • AGardenBuilding
    Re: Building a Home Annexe
    jono - Your Question:I am wanting to build a 30 ft by 15 ft self contained flat to rear of detached garage. The house is detached sitting…
    2 September 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AGardenBuilding website. Please read our Disclaimer.