Tree houses have long been hailed as the new playhouse for adults. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not for children too. Most often, they’re built with the family in mind – by a bespoke company designing to a brief.
Aside from J.K.Rowling’s treetop home for her boys, the two most famous tree house designs are The Minister’s House in Tennessee and the Irvine family’s Surrey build.
The Minister’s House is the world’s tallest tree house design to date at 10,000 square feet tall. Its designer and builder, Horace Burgess, built it as a tribute to God. Using 258,000 nails, at least the structure was built using recyclable materials! It’s not the most glamorous tree house that we’ve seen but it features a space for worship and a basketball hoop – all for around £8,000. It just goes to show that not every build has to cost you thousands of pounds, although you might want to invest more if you’ve got lots of imaginative ideas.
If I were to design my own tree-top residence, I’d have to make sure that it had a rope bridge. It seems to have that fun element that’s akin to a fairytale. The Irvine family seem to have picked up on that too with their luxury tree house designs built by Blue Forest. If you thought that rope bridges were strictly children only, think again as this one hosts dinners for The Prince’s Trust! Of course, it’s all about the size and if there were any first-glance doubters amongst its regal visitors, the designer kitchen is left to impress.
Often, larger projects seem to say, “American”. Not with tree houses. It’s not just the Irvine family who are lucky to have one. Squirrel Designs are based in Wiltshire and offer bespoke tree houses, summer houses and playhouses. There’s no cap on cost but a play tree house can easily cost around £15,000, like that built for the Berks family. It all depends on your design requirements.
For the Berks, a tree house was designed around a Yew tree which acted as a focus point in the garden. The finished structure is self-supporting and the design allows children to play without interfering too much with the yew tree. There’s a hideaway house, accessible from the ground and a tree platform complete with a rope net, slide, ladder and a chicken run ramp – all to encourage exercise and fun.
It’s truly impressive but then so is this more modest build – designed to be a child’s country style playhouse. Structures like this demonstrate that you can design to suit a range of budgets.
Are you considering a tree house to complete your garden? Let us know! You’ll need to apply for planning permission before you start the build. While some applications can be processed within two weeks, it’s best to allow 8 weeks to be on the safe side.
If you need help designing a tree house, post your job in our Carpenter / Joiner category. Up to three tradesmen can contact you to quote and you’ll be able to view their profile pages, complete with customer ratings, to help you decide who to hire.