Plans from Treehouse Guides

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Projects for beginners, with or without trees

Treehouse Guides
Plans for beginners


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.

  1. When the house is fully ground supported, even if the tree passes through parts of the structure. There is no interaction with the tree.
  2. When the tree support is not structurally critical (ie, the structure would stand even if the tree was removed).
  3. When the structure has no roof (it is then a tree platform or tree fort if walled).