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The Best Tree House Ever: How to Build a Backyard Tree House the Whole World Will Talk About

The Best Tree House Ever: How to Build a Backyard Tree House the Whole World Will Talk About

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The Best Tree House Ever: How to Build a Backyard Tree House the Whole World Will Talk About

2/5 (1 valutazione)
249 pagine
49 minuti
Jun 1, 2013


When his two young grandsons clamored for a hideout in the trees, what could Maurice Barkley, a sixty-something retiree, do but grab some wooden beams and a level? Now, more than ten years, seven tiny houses, and a spiral staircase later, Barkley’s grandkids can truly say they have the best tree house ever. With a backyard that has become a tourist destination and the delighted cries of children playing pretend sounding in his ears, Barkley shares his pro building tips, floor plans, and how-tos in an easy-to-use guide anyone with a hankering for nature and a set of basic carpenter’s tools can follow.

The Best Tree House Ever records the creation and growth of a child-sized village built high above the ground and documents the wonderful, unexpected consequences—the visitors, the excitement, and the hundreds of friendships made—that occurred along the way. Filled with plans and construction details of Barkley’s entire tree house village, The Best Tree House Ever leads adventurers of every age to explore the magical worlds hidden amongst the foliage.
Jun 1, 2013

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The Best Tree House Ever - Maurice Barkley



I remember the approach of my sixty-fifth birthday and my pending retirement. Both events evoked mixed emotions. That time of life works well for some and not so well for others, regardless of the plans that they made.

I thought about it from time to time, but retirement arrived in the same boat that had delivered my high school graduation day. On that happy day long ago, I gave no thought to the fact that my life as a dependent child was nearing its end. Another major part was about to begin, for better or worse.

Fortunately, it has worked out quite well, but it has taken many years of experience and many evenings of quiet reflection to appreciate my good fortune and my good luck. This book begins shortly after my retirement. Among other things, it is a good example of unintended consequences in the pursuit of rainbows. As a child recently told me, You did good, Mister.


I think that I shall never see

a poem lovely as a tree.

I was a very young man when I first heard this song by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. It is still among my favorites. There is magic when you are up in the arms of a tree. Secret places—things that can’t quite be seen. Listening to the whispering as the leaves play with the passing breeze. Sitting below a leaf and watching it glow as the sun shines on top.

I call the picture above Genesis. It shows the joy on the faces of my daughter’s children after I built a simple platform in a maple tree out back. This was where it all started several years ago. Soon they asked for a rope bridge going to the next tree. I was reluctant, but I did it because that’s what grandpas do. At some time during the construction I discovered that it was a lot of fun, so I kept going and only looked back to admire my work.

Now, several years later, I have in my yard six tree houses linked by seven bridges and a small deck suspended between two locust trees.

There are four seasons where my wife and I live. For half the year I build and play outside. When cold weather arrives, you can find me in my basement workshop building a new tree house or maybe a device with a crank and pulleys to lift small things from the ground.

But the best thing from these experiences, the very best thing, has been the children. Imagine watching a five-year-old climb into my trees for the first time. To see their wide smiles and shining eyes is pay back with interest for all my work.

We have a guest book. We ask anyone who climbs the tree to sign their name and city of origin. They all sign and heap praise on the builder. To date we have most states and about fifteen countries.

A Short, Sweet Story

Once upon a time a young lady with a camcorder came to visit. She went through the entire tree complex filming and providing her own commentary on what she saw. Later, in our house where several people were visiting, she turned on her camcorder, pointed it at my wife, and said, This is the wife of THE MAKER. She then turned to focus on me and said, and this is THE MAKER.

Well . . . Well, well. Are you curious? If so, follow the yellow brick road and enter



A Quick Orientation

It all began here—a simple platform with a tree in the middle 1. A solid-and-rope bridge 2 to a nearby pine was next. While there, I made my first attempt at a spiral staircase 3. It was not good and soon removed. Three more bridges 4 brought me to a maple tree, where I built a transfer platform 5, a short walkway, and a small platform hung between the maple and a nearby pine 6. The platform was finished with railings all around and a tent cloth roof. Another rope bridge reached the last maple in the backyard 7. From there it took a combination of a rope and solid bridge to reach two locust trees 8 where I built a floating deck 9, and then I attached three lollypop houses to it. 10 That done, I returned to the big pine tree and built a proper spiral staircase. At the top I made a platform hung between the two pines 11. The following spring a tiny church found a home up there in the pines. Needing a new project, I returned to the original platform, reinforced it a bit, and then built a second story with little steps going up and a narrow walkway going back to another curious little house 12. My latest effort was another double bridge 13 with Chelsea’s Gazebo 14 and The Wizard’s Den 15 at its end.

This view from the driveway is the first sight that greets our visitors.

Day by day the view from this spot constantly changes. On certain wonderful, sunny days I find myself wishing that things could stay just as they were at that moment. My trees forever green. My wife’s flowers forever in blossom. Our grandchildren forever young. This is my answer to that wish.

Once here, all you must do is FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD.

From the flower-covered arbor you will find a

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