Followers of 80s cartoons most likely remember Tom Sawyerthis Japanese television series adapted from Adventures of Tom Sawyera novel by American writer Mark Twain published in 1876, which featured Tom Sawyer, a young American orphan in the 19th century.e century in pre-Civil War Missouri, and his wandering friend Huckleberry Finn—the hero of another novel by the same author, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finnpublished in 1884. It is this friend “Huck” who, at the start of the series, will build a makeshift “house”: a cabin suspended among the trees on the banks of the Mississippi River.
A cabin, what for?
Unlike Huck, you are not — at least we hope — homeless. Moreover, if you are reading this article because the subject interests you, it is first because you have, or are about to do so, a house with a garden, a garden in which at least one tree sits majestically.
That’s it ? Have you made your decision? Are you seduced by the idea of building something with your hands, feeling the satisfaction of the work done and being able to contemplate it daily next to your home? It’s an excellent decision! In addition to the pleasure of tinkering, alone or with others – essential here for safety reasons, see later – you will be delighted with this “new piece”, to look at and to experience.
Children will have a blast there, giving free rein to their legendary imagination and creativity. For adults, a perched shelter allows you to cut yourself off from urban or domestic life, disconnect from electronics, isolate yourself to work, concentrate, dream, relax, imagine, rest, recharge your batteries. Because it also allows us to get closer to harmony with nature, the environment created by a treehouse is ideal for reading, writing, composing, playing, painting, so many artistic and manual activities of which we have need to suspend time in a world where everything is going so fast. “Secondary resilience” at a lower cost, in short.
What materials, tools, wood treatment?
A “100% recycled” construction would be ideal, but unrealistic and above all relatively dangerous. Even if you want to paraphrase Mark Twain — “They didn’t know it was impossible, so they did it” —, be pragmatic and efficient, in particular for the elements that will support the structure of your cabin: they must be stable and solid under all conditions.
For wood, the classics boards recovered from the palettes and driftwood (large, thick branches that have fallen into streams and more or less polished by time) will do the trick for the side faces and the roof, but it is not easy to find them in quantity and are in workable condition. It is recommended to approach specialist suppliers, many on the internet, in addition to traditional DIY stores. They generally offer two ranges for each species: raw wood and planed wood. The latter, slightly more expensive, is preferred to avoid very unpleasant splinters when handling the boards.
When it comes to building cabins, the wood species preferred for their solidity are pinl’spruceand the douglasthree conifers of the Pinaceae family which are particularly suitable for exterior constructions. As such, such a development potentially confronted with bad weather requires a stainless steel screws to minimize the risk of rust.
For the attachesif applicable, steel wires dedicated to gardening as well as ropes or cords treated to withstand the outdoors will be perfect.
The wood treatment, essential for the life of your shelter, is generally very polluting. There is an ecological alternative which, however, has the disadvantage of a relatively long drying time, from several days to two or three weeks depending on the case and the number of coats: “Norway tar”, also called “Swedish tar”. or “liquid pitch”, discovered by the Vikings to nourish and protect the wood of their longships. It is a vegetable tar obtained by carbonification of pine, which should not be confused with creosote, which is prohibited from use.
At the level of toolingprefer the electric (screwdriver, saw, etc.). If you know how to fix a hook on a door without difficulty with the sole force of your hands helped by a screwdriver, the repetition of the task and the hardness of certain materials could make your life hard and discourage you here. To facilitate the screwing without altering the solidity of the fixings, opt for the “pre-holes”, made with a drill with a drill bit of a diameter quite smaller than that of the screw.
To bring different elements of the cabin up high, think, finally, of the cable and pulley systems.
Regarding the ” combat uniform “, for your comfort and your safety, you will also adopt gloves and closed clothing and shoes. Goggles are also recommended during drilling and sawing operations.
What nature-friendly design method?
Be forward-looking and pragmatic: draw of the sketch and plans, even approximate. If you are comfortable with computer tools, you will find many devices on the internet to help you model the cabin of your dreams in 3D.
Of course, your tree house in your garden is for, among other objectives, to bring you closer to nature. Therefore, you have to protect it, including the tree you are about to invest. In this case, there is two main modes Design for a cabin that do not damage the tree : the clamp and the structure on stilts. It is neither essential nor desirable to dig or drill the tree to fix its structure to it.
If you are not confident in your DIY skills, practice first with constructions intended for smaller inhabitants: the birds, your cat, your dog.
Of the tutorials and plans very detailed and very educational are available on many websites, for free or for a few euros.
Pay attention to safety
It would obviously be very regrettable if the pleasure of building and the happiness of having a cabin in a tree in your garden turned into a tragedy. To best prevent this risk, various precautions are necessary.
The importance of lift
Check the stability in all angles of the “living” surface. Depending on the type of construction, the tree is more or less the “carrier” of the structure. Make sure that the branches that support certain weights are not rotting.
Your safety during construction
Do not carry out the work alone, consult relatives who know a little about it or sworn experts, respect the basic safety instructions for DIY (gloves, shoes, protective glasses) and, if necessary, those relating to working at height (harness, guardrail, etc.).
Everyone’s safety after construction
As the structure is installed at a height, the risk of items or people falling to the ground cannot be ruled out, particularly in the event of violent weather (storm, heavy rain, storms).
If the waterfalls from a perched hut do not flourish in the “miscellaneous” sections of the local press, it is mainly because the vast majority of them are designed by qualified installers complying with safety standards and carrying out regular checks. As such, the use of cabins for purposes hoteliers has been authorized in France since 2007 and some of them are federated, affiliated to a network, such as Cabanes de France.
In individualsit is “another pair of planks”, so be carefulespecially if you want to “occupy” your adventurer’s construction, in addition to its decorative function.
Solidity, stability et accessibility should be given priority when designing and building your cabin. As such, it is necessary to know how to envisage the worst to prevent it: on the ground, soft and generous vegetation will cushion any possible fall, the ideal being, a few centimeters higher, the installation of a safety net, why not recovered at a fishery or a fishing port if you live by the sea.
These few ideas intended to help you imagine the cabin of your dreams and make it real are not limiting: give free rein to your creativity (design, recovered materials, etc.) while remaining reasonable in terms of safety and harmony with nature.