Treehouse in the Woods

We recently built our daughter a treehouse nestled in the redwood trees by our house. She had long enjoyed a special stand of Cathedral Redwoods, which get their name by growing in a circle around a host stump or tree. This circle has about half a dozen trees, each about 150 feet tall.

But she needed a better way to get there – our land is extremely steep, and soft and slippery with needles, leaves, branches and, often, mud. There was no trail. Even if you were to make your way up on foot, chances are you’d slide back down on your bottom. This is what much of the land looks like. It’s shady redwood forest with lots of ferns and bay trees.

Being more visionary than handy, we called on some handy friends to help design and build a trail with a switchback, and then some stairs to get up the steepest part of the hill.

The trail is one that was already used by local deer and just had to be widened. (We’re hoping the deer appreciate it.)

The steps are made of copper-injected wood. We wanted something that would stand up to the weather in this damp spot. We also wanted a banister for safety.

The deck has a pier-and-post cement foundation, to make it sturdy and raise it above the forest floor.

The platform is close to our house but far enough away and in deep foliage, so that it feels private. It’s a great place to read and daydream, to the sounds of birds and frogs and, if it has rained hard enough, water running down a natural stream.

Anna is very happy there. She wants to decorate with prayer flags and chairs for friends (she says a sofa). When the rain stops we are going to hang this colorful, handwoven Mayan hammock that she picked out from a mother-daughter company called La Casa Mexicana.

We know the treehouse is going to get a lot of use. One of its great benefits, which we have already experienced, is that it gets us up into the land by our house, which we had been looking at but not walking on because of the steepness. It’s still steep past the treehouse, but not quite as much, and from there, the forest opens up. We took a walk through it the other day and found early spring wildflowers and all sorts of other things. I will tell you about them in my next post.

Photos: Susan Sachs Lipman, La Casa Mexicana

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10 responses to “Treehouse in the Woods

  1. Oh, Suz, I love, love, love this! Hats off to you for calling in some help to make a previously unexplored area a new haven. How lucky your daughter is! The area around your home reminds me a bit of the area surrounding our family cabin in Yosemite — how fantastic it would have been to have had a treehouse there!

  2. Hi Debi! Thank you so much! I’m really glad that this spot and project speak to you. My husband and daughter deserve more credit than I do for making the treehouse a reality.

    You put that so eloquently: In removing a barrier, A previously unexplored area has been made a new haven. And a teenager, who has always appreciated the woods, can now have a private, contemplative spot within them.

    Thanks again for your enthusiasm and for commenting. (And wonderful that you have such rich family memories of Yosemite.)

  3. What a beautiful setting to have a tree house. I think every child (and parent) on this planet would love to come and visit. We built Sam a treehouse last year:http://www.marghanita.com/lets-get-outside-tree-house-fun-for-kids/
    They make the most amazing places for kids to hang out -watch the birds, read a new novel, hide from parents or imagine your Robin Hood spying on enemy.

    Lovely Post- thanks for sharing Suz.

  4. Pingback: What’s Happening Wednesday | Backyard Mama

  5. Ahhhhh…. so peaceful to read about how much fun our girl is going to have up in the woods.

    Shhhhh— don’t tell her that Daddy is going to be napping there on “lost” summer afternoons!

  6. I miss the redwoods! I went to college in northern California and loved hiking through the trees. What a wonderful place you have to relax, read and connect with the big trees!

  7. What a fabulous spot. Isn’t it just amazing to be among redwoods? I’m afraid my back yard is not nearly so enticing. Still, I do what I can. This is my favorite time of year out there, before all the lawnmowers start. Maybe I’ll just dream of being among the redwoods every now and then. Your daughter is fortunate – well done on making this retreat for her. It looks like the perfect place for reading, yoga, bird watching…

  8. “before all the lawnmowers start…”

    That line says SO MUCH!

  9. Thank you all for your lovely comments. Today was the first sunny day in some time and I popped up to the treehouse to show it to a friend. It truly is in an amazing spot. As you know, Melynda, redwoods are so majestic and awe-inspiring. I know Anna is going to carry the memory of being among them with her for life.

    Marghanita, your treehouse is amazing. What a great setting and view! Lucky for your children as well. And, thank you, Alison. I know with your gardening talents, your backyard is enticing in other ways.

    Shannon, at Backyard Mama, thanks for mentioning my blog on yours! I eagerly await seeing pictures of your own treehouse (not to mention your yard. A lot has been going on over at Backyard Mama!)

    And Lippy, you worked hard to make this treehouse happen. You deserve a lay-down in it every now and again!

  10. I think we need to do a treehouse also! Love the hammock!

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