If you wanted to build a tree house when you were a kid, you had to beg your dad to buy some wood and nails, slap them together and hope for the best. Now, you can decide for yourself whether your backyard tree will support your elevated ambitions. Consider these important factors:
Tree height. The higher the tree, the more awesome the tree house. The higher the tree house, the more freedom you'll experience. But, the higher the tree house, the more broken bones you'll suffer if you fall from the tree house. You probably, therefore, want to keep your tree house no more than 10 feet off the ground if it will be inhabited by children, especially children not known for coordination or common sense.
High wind probability. The higher the tree house, the stronger the wind. Although it would take an enormous amount of wind to blow apart the tree house, the added force of the wind could lead to a swaying tree or a tree more likely to topple over during a storm. If you reside in windy areas, The Tree House Guide recommends you keep the house in the lower third of the tree.
Branch thickness. Your tree house's foundation consists of the branches on which the floor rests. Remember, the wise man built his house upon the thickest branches he could find. Make sure branches are strong enough to hold the weight you are adding. Minimum thickness for a one-story tree house is about 8 inches. More attachment points, however, will spread out the weight, allowing for less thick branches. The best trees for branch support are oak, beech, maple, fir and hemlock.
Tree damage. Build your tree house in such a way as to avoid damaging the tree. Reduce tree damage risk by not cutting trees and branches unnecessarily. Only use nails and screws for the flooring, framing and paneling. Never wrap ropes around the trunk.
Now that you've found the tree, learn how to build the best tree house.