Treehouses are attractive structures usually built in backyards. Some of these possess a suspension bridge that is connected to another tree. The view looks interesting and it can encourage children to play in such structures.
In building a suspension bridge for a treehouse, you should prepare the needed materials, estimations, measurements, and labor. This kind of bridge is made of wood floorings, nets, screws, cables, wires, and more. Also, take note of some of the limitations that may not fit your place.
In this article, we will discuss the things needed in building a suspension bridge for a treehouse, the steps to do, and the pros and cons of this structure.
What Do You Need to Build a Suspension Bridge for a Treehouse?
Before you start building a suspension bridge for your treehouse, you should prepare the needed materials. Keep in mind that the quality and type of materials are important to guarantee support for the bridge. Watch out for the trees’ limitations to avoid damaging them by using cables and ropes.
Engineering a big suspension bridge with towers
Suspension bridges are tied or attached eyebolts the trees. The only problem with such is that the tree may not withstand the pressure, which can lead to damages, or worse, to it collapsing. That is why professional assistance from an engineer is helpful if you want to construct a huge bridge.
To avoid using trees, an engineer can design a tower specifically used for the bridge. Although you may think that you can also do so, the durability of the materials used is important to prevent the bridge from crumbling down. Engineers know which materials are strong and can create a blueprint that ensures the tower is sturdy.
Before you start building a suspension bridge, make sure you prepared the materials and equipment you need. Suspension bridges are made of nets, steel, ropes, cables, chain, and wood. You can also choose several materials depending on your preferred design.
The common way to install the bridge is to use cables for the primary suspension. The nets will serve as the barrier of the bridge to prevent people from falling. Some small bridges use ropes only for support while the larger ones need a dependable cable with concrete foundations, frames, etc.
Costs and Measurements
The measurements of the treehouse and suspension bridge you’re building are essential factors to estimate your budget. Check your backyard first and choose the best place to put up your suspension bridge and treehouse. Afterward, start measuring the size of the bridge you are planning to establish.
Some construction companies also offer building treehouses and suspension bridges. If you have enough budget to spend on labor, you may want to consider this. Otherwise, doing it on your own with the assistance of a few people is an advantage and can save you money.
Steps to Build a Suspension Bridge for a Treehouse
Suspension bridges require a lot of work to set up. You will need boards for floorings and woods for frames. Also prepare cables, wires, and ropes for the guy wire, and support for the bridge.
1. Build a platform frame on a tree
The first step in building a suspension bridge is to build a platform frame on a tree. Choose a tree that is 25 feet away from the treehouse. Plan out the size of the platform so you can estimate and ensure the support of the frame.
To attach the platform frame, you can use lag bolts and screw them to the tree. Before you can link the screw in the tree, you need to create holes using a driller or auger bit. As screws are kind of hard to attach in trees, you need equipment to twist and lock them.
Once you’ve drilled the lag bolts, proceed to put 2 x 10-inch boards on the suspension brackets. Lock them into place with screws and ensure the platform is even to the boards under it. Put wood under the boards to support the platform. This will serve as the angle brace of the whole structure.
2. Establish the floors
You can now proceed to establish the floors. Enclose the open frame with boards to complete the floorings. You can use floorboards and hardwoods for this part of the construction.
You can choose floorboards of different sizes. Make sure it will harmonize with the frame you built so it won’t cause any hassles if you use it. As for the hardwood, you can choose from mahogany, oak, maple, teak, and many other types as long as it is available at your local market.
After you put the floorings, set up the railings surrounding the platform. Don’t forget to leave a space to enter and exit. Also, provide another space for the suspension bridge’s entry points, meaning the railings will only cover three sides of the platform with a little opening intended for the ladder or slide on one side.
3. Attach your ladder or slide
If your treehouse is made for kids, a slide is a good addition as it can enhance their enjoyment. You can use a ladder to guarantee everyone’s safety, especially for adults who would love to see beautiful views. Adults tend to appreciate the scenery more and going down with a ladder can also provide angles for picture-taking purposes.
You can buy slides on the market or make one yourself. Although DIY slides can easily fit the platform you built, buying ready-made slides requires you to check the measurements first. Ensure it is well-suited to the opening you provided. The durability of the slide is substantial to prevent it from collapsing and causing dangers or accidents.
Ladders, on the other hand, allows a person to access and exit the platform, unlike slides, with which you can only go down.
4. Attach guy wires to the tree
Before you set up the cables, provide more support for the platform by putting a guy wire to the tree at the back of the platform. The guy wire provides strength to the tree, even if there is a heavyweight on the platform. Install guy wires to make sure the tree will hold the platform for a long time.
5. Fasten the cables for a suspension bridge
Once you’re done installing the guy wire and building the platform to be connected to the treehouse, you can start attaching the cables to the suspension bridge. Use eyebolts attach to connect the cable to the treehouse and platform. Secure the eyebolts by locking them with eyebolt nuts after you’ve attached them to the wood of the platform and treehouse. In this way, the cables are tightly held and secured, even to a heavy load carried by the suspension bridge.
After you’ve installed the cable to the platform and treehouse, make sure these are leveled. Secure the end of the cables with fist grips.
6. Set up the suspension bridge’s nets and floors
The cables you attached are not complete without the floors. Wooden flooring boards are joint to the cables. Measure the boards and estimate how many of them you will use to provide floorings to reach the platform from the treehouse or vice versa.
After attaching the flooring boards to the cable, wrap it with nets. Place and lock decking boards in a vertical position, just like the direction of the cable wires. Use screws to attach the deck boards, nets, and flooring boards.
7. Install handrails
A bridge is not complete without handrails. For this part of the suspension bridge, you can use ropes. Tie it to the platform and treehouse with a bowline knot for a secure grasp. Attach the nets to the ropes so it will enclose the bridge with nets, and you’re done!
Whether you build it in a simple or extravagant manner, for a kid’s play area or a quick escape for adults, a treehouse will help you enjoy nature right on your property. But before you take out your tools and buy building materials, you need to know the factors to consider when building a backyard treehouse.
Pros and Cons of Building a Suspension Bridge for a Treehouse
Suspension bridges are appealing but also present disadvantages. So, before you construct a suspension bridge in your backyard, check the pros and cons. In this way, you will know whether this structure is suitable for your location and fits your standards and preferences.
A suspension bridge can be stretched over far distances
The use of suspension bridges is not only limited to treehouses or short distances. It can reach 2,000 to 7,000 feet and even can stretch up to 13,000 feet. Longer suspension bridges require durable and strong materials to support the said length and weight.
Some places use suspension bridges to provide access to other places. The three notable longest suspension bridges in the world are Akashi Kaikyō Bridge (6,532.2 ft.), Yangsigang Yangtze River Bridge (5,577.4 ft.), and Nansha Bridge (5,538.1 ft.).
The materials of the suspension bridge are cheap and need to be overseen regularly. The advantage of having such a structure is the lesser maintenance compared to other types of bridges. Less maintenance equals fewer expenses, which is a huge benefit for you.
Although the materials used are much more affordable than those used for heavy-weight bridges, we can say this doesn’t require major renovation, repair, or overhauling.
Affordable to construct
Unlike bridges made of concrete or wood, suspension bridges reduce the total cost due to the materials used. You will only need cables, boards, and ropes to build such a bridge.
Treehouses are an ideal attraction for your backyard. Suspension bridges are another structure that will add appeal to the treehouse, especially to children. You don’t have to spend expensive materials to build concrete structures as this can solve your problem.
Strong and versatile
Anywhere you put your treehouse, you can build a suspension bridge. Just make sure the bridge features complete support, including guy wires, screws, and cables. Backyards must have challenging spaces for this structure, which is why this will lower the problem of what kind of bridge can fit the space left.
Attractive structure for your backyard
One of the targets of the appealing visual of the suspension bridge is children. Kids are interested in treehouses, particularly if you add a bridge to them. They will love it and enjoy playing in it.
Not only children, but also adults or even the whole family can spend time in a treehouse with a suspension bridge. It provides you with beautiful scenes and fresh air that can help you relax after a stressful week.
Fragile against the wind
Even though suspension bridges are supported by cables, wires, and screws, they are still vulnerable to the wind. This kind of bridge is moveable, and the wind is capable of moving it. A suspension bridge is considered durable, but the strength of the materials to hold the bridge has limitations.
For example, a strong wind will hit it. The cables can easily break, especially if there are people with them. To prevent danger and accidents, you should avoid staying on the bridge if there are heavy blows of winds.
Let’s say suspension bridges are supported with guy wires, cables, and screws. Although these materials are dependable, they have specific weight limitations. That is why we advise you don’t put heavy traffic on the bridge together with many people.
If the suspension bridge reaches its limit, it will lead to breakages of cables or wood where the screws are attached. If these are affected, the bridge will collapse in no time.
The versatility of a suspension bridge also has limitations. If the place you are in is susceptible to strong winds, having one can result in expensive costs and danger. The feasibility of this bridge may suit other places. So before you decide to construct this, observe the surroundings and determine whether this one can withstand the weather.
If you ask kids about what they want to have in their backyard, chances are they’ll pick a treehouse. It can be a place for them to play or simply hang out while enjoying the cool breeze and listening to the different sounds of nature. If you want to make a treehouse that is more interesting than a regular one, why not add a suspension bridge?
Suspension bridges are constructed to connect places that are separated by bodies of water. Although the purpose of such a bridge is helpful, its usage also has limitations. For the treehouse, it’s an ideal choice to add more beauty to the structure. Aside from aesthetics, a structure like this will surely fascinate kids and make them more interested in their treehouse. Just make sure to install safety measures to prevent accidents from happening.