The platform construction is the most important and challenging part of building a treehouse!
Here we show you how to construct a stable platform from individual “Support Elements”.
1. Small 1-tree platforms
Our cheap and easy solution for mini treehouses, viewing platforms and children’s playhouses in one tree:
All you need are 4 x GTS Free with which you build a small triangular construction!
As the stainless steel bolts go straight through your wooden beams, the GTS Free is only suitable for small decks:
< 6 m² in softwood
< 10 m² in hardwood
Minimum trunk diameter for two GTS Free opposite each other: ø > 30 cm
- The tree should be as central as possible and the platform should not project far.
- Reinforce your support beams around the GTS Free with fully threaded screws.
- Use lots of screws and wood glue or better PU glue to stabilise your lower triangular connection around the GTS Free!
- You are welcome to build a children’s playhouse on top of it, but it should be really small and light.
- A slide and a ladder firmly anchored in the ground strengthen your construction.
Is your tree still very small and young?
There are good solutions for this too:
The smallest possible diameter of a tree for building a treehouse (ø at the height of the attachment) is 25 cm. If your tree trunk is thinner than ø 25 cm, we recommend waiting or building completely on stilts.
Variant 1: Stagger the screws
Stagger the height of the screws on one side (at least 10 cm) – this way they cannot get in each other’s way.
Variant 2: Triangle + stilts
This solution is particularly suitable for treehouses that are very close to the property line. You can build a slightly larger platform with the supports set in concrete. Don’t forget the struts on your stilts, otherwise your little house will tip over to your neighbour!
Remember that small, young trees still want to grow properly – plan your tree house so that this is possible!
Do you want your project to be bigger and heavier?
Then switch to our larger, black GTS tree bolts:
Instead of the upper GTS Free, you can use e.g. a GTS Friend + Static Support + Distance Rings: the longer shaft and the support give you more leeway for crooked trees, the load capacity is higher! Assembly becomes even easier.
For large vertical loads you can use the GTS Top in small trees – for this the trunk must be very straight! Often it is enough to install only one GTS Top.
Every project is different – just combine the screws that fit your treehouse perfectly!
2. Medium 1-tree platforms with wood struts
Another classic among the 1-tree platform constructions are “wood strut support structures”. The struts are very easy to prefabricate and assemble – with our Strut Support Safety you can even adjust the height afterwards!
- Softwood < 12 m²
- Hardwood < 16 m²
The brackets should be loaded as evenly as possible.
The log diameter for 4 brackets should be ø < 35 cm!
You can also cheat here by staggering the height of the bracket pairs so that the screws do not get in each other’s way (see above).
Variant 1 – wood struts directly on the trunk:
This is indeed a quick and cheap solution for temporary treehouses.
Moisture can build up between the tree and the strut at the point of contact, and the strut can rot there. If your tree is still very small and young (< 40 cm), we advise against screwing wooden beams directly to the trunk – the trunk still wants to grow strongly in width and could be hindered or will simply push your struts away.
With thick, mature trees, there is nothing to stop individual struts being screwed directly to the tree. Use sturdy wood (oak, robinia) and several ø 8 mm wood screws for the struts.
Variant 2 – Strut Support Safety:
The advantage is that you have more room to manoeuvre during assembly and can also adjust the height afterwards – it couldn’t be simpler!
You also give the tree more time to adapt to the new situation with the struts – it can simply wrap around the small GTS Safety and continue to grow undisturbed.
Waterlogging at the struts will not be an issue for the time being – so you can do without expensive and difficult to work with oak and robinia.
Variant 3 – With GTS + Support instead of GTS Side:
This construction is also an absolute classic! The two parallel beams at the top form the basic framework for your platform. Depending on the load, you can freely choose which 2 GTS you use at the top.
Example – Loading a “Mix Construction”
1 – The front strut has to take a lot of compressive load: it should be strong; possibly braced in the middle with an intermediate strut sloping upwards; a second strut parallel would also be useful.
2 – The upper GTS bolts are pulled strongly in the direction of “arrow 2”: the left triangle wants to tilt. If we didn’t have an attachment on the right, the upper GTS would be very strongly loaded on extension! This is exactly why we have the upper screw on the right, which is now pressed into the tree and absorbs the tensile load.
3 – All the left-hand bolts together transfer the vertical loads into the tree trunk.
4 – Due to the large lever arm, there are also lever forces upwards: both the upper GTS and the strut are loaded in tension (green arrows 4, 5, 6). These parts should be extra bolted, glued and reinforced with angle plates.
In hardwood, this construction is possible with little load (no heavy, two-storey house!). In softwood, you should use larger GTS screws – a solid triangular construction would then also make sense! More on this below!
When planning your platform, think about where your loads will be transferred and what forces will occur at your connections. Also consider horizontal loads (storm) and rotational movements.
We have the right hardware for every situation!
3. Large 1-tree platforms with triangular constructions
If you want to build a proper treehouse, stable “3D triangular constructions” are the best choice! If possible, use our tree screw GTS Allstar – especially with softwood you are always on the safe side.
The advantages of real triangle constructions with our “Brackets” and “GTS Allstar” are:
- The triangles are very stiff in themselves.
- The “GTS Allstar” can also take lateral, horizontal loads in softwood
- Cantilevered platforms are therefore easily possible
- On the long shaft you can position the support beams further out – the tree can grow undisturbed
Minimum trunk diameter ø > 45 cm
- Hardwood < 30 m²
- Softwood < 20 m²
Example – Large platform with 2 x Triangle Set – 45° Heavy
The easiest way is to prefabricate the triangles (white) on the ground, you can also subdivide them further.
- You mount the upper tree screw (GTS Allstar) and lift the triangle into position.
- You accurately measure the cross beam and the support (Static Support) and fix it to the screw.
- You mark the lower drill hole, swing the triangle on its side, install the lower tree screw.
- Then you push the entire triangle (incl. Distance Rings) onto both screws – finished!
Example – cantilevered platform with 2 x Triangle Set – Vario Light
Always take into account the greater leverage and rotational forces with one-sided overhanging constructions!
Install diagonal struts – these stiffen the platform and transfer the forces directly to the tree.
In this example, for example, the lower screw is heavily loaded horizontally. In hardwood this is ok as long as you don’t build a heavy treehouse on top.
In softwood, it is better to use GTS Allstar at the bottom – it can better absorb the lateral forces and rotational movements due to the large cylinder!
4. 2-tree constructions with parallel beams and Dynamic Supports
The construction with parallel beams is as simple as it is ingenious:
- Assembly is child’s play
- You can use the space under the treehouse freely
- Spans of up to 6 m are easily possible
- Thanks to the Dynamic Supports, your trees can swing freely
- Choose the right GTS screw depending on the load and trunk diameter ø
- Also perfect for 3 or 4 trees
The beam dimension is easy to calculate (see photo). Note that your beam will be very heavy with large spans 😉
Tips for designing the platform:
- Mount the Static Supports on the thicker tree, it swings less and is the fixed point.
- The treehouse (the main load) should be as central as possible above the beams.
- The main load should rather be on the side with the Static Supports.
- Avoid lateral loads and large lever arms.
There are two simple solutions to support wide overhanging parts:
1. From below – Strut Support Safety or Strut Support GTS.
If you only need one strut and want to support smaller loads, Strut Support Safety is your choice.
If you need to support larger loads, you can use several Strut Support GTS on the shaft of our large GTS screws (Allstar, Friend, Top)!
Work on the moving side (with the Dynamic Supports) without Distance Rings – this way the struts remain somewhat movable and can absorb the movements of the construction.
2. From above – with a Cable Suspension.
If the course of the struts at the bottom bothers you, you can of course secure your platform from above. The best way would be to use a stable branch fork or a twig to which you can attach a tree loop. Alternatively, you can hang the rope on one of our tree bolts.
Use a turnbuckle to tighten the steel cable. The advantage of hanging the rope is that it is easy to assemble and adjust. The rope swings with the movement of the Dynamic Supports.
Attach the steel cable to the platform with a ring nut and carriage bolt and stiffen the area with extra beams.
Alternative: Triangle construction – spread your wings!
With a triangle you bring your support beams far out and your platform becomes more stable! This construction is a good idea for trees on the property line, where the triangle does not interfere.
Your triangle construction can absorb and cushion slight vibrations. There is a solution for all scenarios:
- Both trees thick (ø > 50cm), hardly any vibrations: Tree 1 – Static Supports.
- Triangle tree very thin (ø < 35 cm) vibrates in the wind), tree 1 thick (see photo): Tree 1 – Dynamic Supports, completely limited laterally with Distance Rings, Dynamic Supports can only move in the direction of tree 2, not laterally.
- Tree 1 thin, triangle tree thick: Tree 1 – Dynamic Supports limited laterally with Distance Rings.
5. 2-tree constructions with triangles
Whether it’s a small wine-drinking deck or a 40m² platform – triangular constructions make everything possible!
It works best like this:
Prepare the triangles on the ground, mount both in the tree and screw your platform construction on top (e.g. 6 x 12 beams) – this can protrude over the triangles. Once the triangles and the platform level are firmly screwed and braced, you plank the platform with your floor boards.
The trunk diameter for a triangle in a tree should be at least ø 40 cm at mounting height.
Oh wind – oh wind – how do the triangles stay mobile?
- The triangles can rotate a little on the GTS by nature.
- In order to cushion wind vibrations of the trees, you should only fix the triangle to the more solid tree with Distance Rings.
- The wood of your platform construction will cushion the rest.
If you want to build very high up, or in very thin trees that are prone to vibrations, you can work something out yourself; e.g. glide shoes for your platform beams. For this purpose, you can buy Sliding Plates made of PE-HD in our shop!
6. Treehouses in 3 or more trees
Congratulations! With the knowledge from the previous examples, you are now ready to plan a tree house in several trees. On the page “Supporting Elements” you will find more useful details.
Finally, a few examples with several trees.
It’s up to you: Each treehouse is unique! You can freely combine all our products to create the perfect basis for your treehouse project!
If you are still not sure what your treehouse should look like, we have an interesting article for you here!
Here again are the 5 most important rules for building a treehouse:
- Trees and their branches swing independently of each other in all possible directions.
- The tree wants to grow – give it room to do so: the trunk diameter ø increases by approx. 5 – 15 mm every year.
- Keep the balance: watch out for leverage and torsional movement
- Stiffen the construction with triangles, struts and diagonals!
- Distribute the loads as evenly as possible among the individual fasteners