Re-discovering the tree house

Kirstenbosch, Cape Town’s premiere botanical garden, recently opened a new Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway. Using the 130m high walkway, nicknamed the Boomslang, as inspiration, let’s look at another wonderful way to spend time among the treetops.

Treehouse Close Up

Why every beautiful garden needs a tree-house

A lot of grown-ups can reminisce about blissful hours spent in a childhood tree house. Years later there is a certain whimsical charm to the idea of a hiding place amongst the leaves.

Luckily the tree house is celebrating a revival and is no longer the exclusive turf of child’s play. A new trend is arising where tree houses for adults are being used as lounge areas, entertainment rooms and quiet garden hideouts. The new adult tree house is also not a matter of hammering a few planks into a tree. Imagine an elaborate cottage-like structure fully equipped with electric lighting, comfortable furniture and perhaps even basic kitchen facilities for easy entertaining.

Besides lending a garden some whimsical aesthetic, building an adult tree house is a wonderful creative project and a great way to add extra living space.

Building the ultimate adult tree house

With some proper prior planning, a decent amount of nails and a supply of wooden poles, tackling the challenge of building your own garden hideaway can be a fun endeavour. But be mindful, for the sake of structural integrity, you might want to consider enrolling the help of a building expert.

The first step is choosing the right tree. You want a sturdy base to start with, so look out for thick branches that are still sprouting leaves. A dry branch can’t carry as much weight. Use pillars and props to distribute the mass of the structure, and factor the tree’s growth into your planning.

Access to your tree house should be user friendly, even while carrying a bottle of champagne for a treetop sundowner. Consider steps instead of ladders. Ensure you can fully enjoy your treetop dwelling by installing enough windows to appreciate the view, but remember to make them lockable to avoid all kind of creatures moving in.

Decorate the interior of your treehouse with simplistic, light-weight furnishings and touches of plush comfort like rugs and cushions.  Lastly hang bird feeders and soothing wind chimes to create a pleasing atmosphere before your first get-together in your new hideaway.

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