Treehouse on a Low Budget

by - August 16, 2012

For months now, Scooby has been talking about building a tree house. We've had a tree picked out for a year, but no funds to build it. This past weekend, we went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore center to find some free or cheap lumber so I could build a raised bed for fall and winter lettuces. We ended up finding up to 16' long 2"x 8", 10" and 12" boards for $1 each. I also sent out a Facebook blast asking if any friends had free lumber scraps they were looking to unload. That lead to three pallets in good condition, a whole pile of decking slats, and a 2" x 4" board. This was obviously more than I needed for a single raised bed, and thus Treehouse 2012 began.

Typically, treehouses are best built ground-up, starting with posts, joists and then the decking, but we started top down. Joe trimmed the pallets and secured them together with the large boards. When it comes to their personal projects, engineers rarely do things the way they are "supposed" to be done.

Because we didn't have any posts, he used the boards to create L-shaped posts. We used a large magnolia as one of the posts, and enlisted the help of the in-laws to hoist the deck up onto posts.

There is still a lot of securing to be done such as more post supports, a permanent ladder and a safety railing, which we may end up having to take another trip to ReStore for.

 There is no plan for a roof since that's what the tree is for. The view up the magnolia is fantastic!

"This isn't a treehouse! There is no roof or walls!"

Since the lumber wasn't all treated, I found exterior paint on super discount at Lowes on the rack where customers have for whatever reason decided they don't like the way the color turned out. I picked up two $5/gal buckets of black paint. While black isn't particularly exciting, it will serve as a nice backdrop for whatever embellishments the boys want to do with the leftover birdhouse paint from Scooby's third birthday party. I also found a seemingly unused 10ft, very sturdy wave slide on Craigslist for only $40.

So our current total is as follows:

Lumber: $3
Nails: $8.50 (we used up all we had in the garage and had to buy a new box)
Paint: $10
Slide: $40

Total: $61.50

Have you built a treehouse on the cheap? I'd love to see! Post a link in the comments section.

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  1. What a great project! I would love a tree house for my kids but seem to be lacking a tree LOL!

  2. That's awesome! Can't wait to come slide down!

  3. Hopefully this link works:

    My husband built this for less than $100. The smaller part was there when we bought our home. He added the drawbridge, slide, 2 tire swings, and the two seperate levels. He searched Craigslist for people getting rid of lumber and used up screws we had in the garage. There is a crows nest as well, you can barely see it. Usually the table and grill aren't in those places, but we were cleaning the deck.

  4. What a great tree house. Hope he has hours upon hours of fun here.

  5. In a low budget you have created an amazing tree house an entertainment for kids, nice job!!



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