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DIY Backyard Treehouse on a budget...

Our son Elliott loves going to the playground (like every other toddler) so we agreed that the next DIY project would be to create a fun, little play area in our own backyard! The inspiration idea came from: Repurpose & Upcyle's DIY Platform Tree House. We loved the simplicity of this design and the fact that it was big enough so WE ALL could enjoy it. AND she also created downloadable plans to help you create your own play area in your backyard!

Here was the tree that we wanted to incorporate into the plan for many reasons such as:

  1. difficult time growing grass around the tree, very sandy area;

  2. started to become dead space in the backyard;

  3. building around the tree gives us a better line of sight from inside to the backyard;

  4. and it's the only tree in backyard ;)

With the current inflation prices (2022 yall), we knew we needed to keep this as budget friendly as possible, but also be durable enough to last for many years and many (neighborhood) kids.

Here's a list of materials and tools we decided to use to complete this project.


(Shemwell Spaces earns commissions through links)


(Shemwell Spaces earns commissions through links)

Here was the drawing that I initially drew as my inspiration. We did end up making some changes to the plans along the way, but they were for the better. We moved the slide and rock wall on the opposite side so we could have better sight of it.

We were also fortunate enough for our neighbors/friends to give us their old playground set. We were able to keep the swing, slide and rock climb pegs and use in Elliott's tree fort, but unfortunately everything else was rusted.

Now here's how we built the tree fort!

After you figure out where you want your tree fort, dig out the post holes using a post hole digger. Each hole was dug up about 18 inches deep. (depending on your measurements, your hole depth may vary.) If you do not want to purchase this tool, check with your local home improvement store as they may rent these out for a fraction of the cost.

Once the holes were dug, we added the posts. Then we poured in some concrete mix in first and then added water and stirred in together in the hole. We then let it dry/set overnight.

If you are short on time, they do have a fast setting concrete mix which sets in 20-40 minutes!

The next day we added the frame/support boards with the lag screws. We liked the black screws best, but there are several different options you could use for this. We added interior support 2x4 boards every 16 inches and secured them with the joist hangers.

They also have joist hanger nails you can use, but we had so many exterior screws so that's what we used.

We decided on fence pickets as the floor boards as they were much cheaper than the alternative options.

Space was also cut out for the tree to grow, but if more needs to be cut down in the future, we can certainly do so!

Once the fence picket floor boards were installed using screws, we sanded with our orbital sander and using 220 grit paper.

This gave it a smooth finish and ensured that no future splinters were to be pulled from little fingers or toes or even paws!

Next we installed the top and bottom wood railings for the ropes to loop through.