The Englishman’s house is his castle and we have been obsessively stippling, varnishing and remodelling since we coined the phrase interior design. Having your garden landscaped has been the preserve of the rich and famous; the rest of us making do with a nicely mown lawn and a sporadic bedding plant. In recent times, our homes are more styled than ever and as the garden has become another room in your ‘Grand Design’, it deserves to be treated with the same loving care. Despite the weather, we are all loving the idea of outside living and gardens are a real selling point. If you are desperate for an edge over those pesky Jones’, nothing says success like a split level tree house.
When it comes to outside living, the sky really isn’t the limit. As long as you have a healthy tree and have thought about how to keep it that way, there is nothing limiting your creative tree ambitions. Tree houses can be built in any tree as long as you have sought advice from a professional who, like Gok Wan of the tree world, will consider its size and shape. The tree needs to be strong with sturdy branches and, of course, disease free.
You will need to consult ‘the tree files’. No, not a joke! Your local council will hold files on all the protected trees in your area and if the one in your garden has a file, you may need to rethink your plan. This also applies to any tree pruning or removal.
Respect your tree. If you start hacking at it, you may cause catastrophic problems. Use a few big bolts rather that lots of little nails – like any living thing it will not like being treated like a pin cushion and the area could start to decay. A builder can come and repair your DIY disasters but a damaged tree is not so easily patched up.
If you are looking for a secret hideaway for your kids or, as we all do sometimes, just want to hide away from your kids, a tree house may be a quirky, exciting prospect. It could be your child’s fairytale dream house or a concept home in the clouds, with a living tree as your basic structure, it could not be a more unique and satisfying place to be.