Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the definition of the word 'treehouse' (or phrase 'tree house')?
The word 'treehouse' and phrase 'tree house' are synonymous. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a tree house as: "A structure built in the branches of a tree for children to play in." The Treehouse Guide (this site) further defines a treehouse as: "A structure built in or around a tree which interacts with, and relies upon, the tree for its support. A treehouse consists of a roofed platform defining a sheltered space which may be fully enclosed for protection from the elements."
Is it acceptable to use ground supports for a treehouse?
The amount of ground support permitted for a structure to still be called a treehouse is a contested subject among treehouse builders, but nonetheless is based on opinion. Some say a treehouse must be fully supported by the tree - others say some ground support is allowed as long as the structure interacts with the tree for most of its support. A structure that is built next to a tree on posts fixed in the ground could exist without the tree and so is referred to by The Treehouse Guide as a playhouse.
When is it not a treehouse?
If any of the following apply, The Treehouse Guide would not consider the structure to be a treehouse.
- When the house is fully ground supported, even if the tree passes through parts of the structure. There is no interaction with the tree.
- When the tree support is not structurally critical (ie, the structure would stand even if the tree was removed).
- When the structure has no roof (it is then a tree platform or tree fort if walled).