A Tree Platform for All Ages

Fresh Air and a View

July, 2019

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In the winter of 2015 - 2016, Dona and I visited New Zealand. While there, we visited a grove of Coastal Redwoods someone had introduced way back when and in which the enterprising Kiwis have now built a Tree Walk.

It looked like a cool idea, and we have lots of big Ponderosa Pines, so I took a lot of pictures. I started back in 2016, working on it a little here and a little there. This year we are more are less done. Unfortunately, I didn't take very many pictures of the process.

DISCLAIMER: Do not try this at home. Your mileage may vary. Success / failure / major medical problems are dependent on your skill level and attention to detail. You should be able to properly select material, such as appropriate webbing material and polyester thread for sewing the chokers, as well as appropriately strong lumber, steel, cable, and aluminum channel. You should know how to cut cables (a big hammer and cold chisel and a steel backing block work fine), and properly attach cable clamps, among other things.

It went something like this:

That gets you more or less to the images below.

Floor Gary
Floor Gary

Working on the Floor shortly after Raising the Frame

Before you screw the floor all down:

After the floor is done, make some funky brackets from steel or aluminum strap about 8" long, with four holes horizontally. Two about two inches apart to bolt into the end of the railing pieces, and two set the appropriate distance to attach the 'U' part of a wire cable clamp. See the pictures of the New Zealand tree walk linked at the top of this page. I have not included pictures of mine as I don't want to show you my crude workmanship by comparison...

Floor done, Railing partially complete

After the railing is up, get some 2" square netting or similar. Mine is from Golf Range Netting and is apparently used for soccer nets, driving ranges, etc. Figure out some way to attach it to the railings and the floor. I drilled 3/8" holes about 10cm apart in the railings and tied the netting up with climbing accessory cord, then used 1/2" EMT tubing threaded through the net at the bottom and through loops of cord in the floor. That way the EMT can be removed if you want to be able to push things like snow off the floor, although I've generally just shoveled and thrown it over the railings.

At this point you have a platform, but you can only access it via a long ladder through the trap door. More fun is if you have a bridge from the house, so...

I probably should have engineered the thing properly and cut the cables precisely, but because the house / balcony end has suspension points which are not located opposite each other perpendicular from the cables it would have been a bit awkward. (read: I'm not sure how.) I am delighted at how strong the planks are. I suspect the bridge would support my weight without the suspension cables. The aluminum cross-members tie all four pieces together horizontally, and everywhere there is a joint between two planks there are also two full length planks centered at that joint. I can adjust the cables while standing on the bridge without using anything to support the channel I am adjusting — it only takes finger strength to hold the cable in place while adjusting.


Platform done with Railing and Netting
Working on the Suspension Bridge


Mostly Finished Platform

View from the House Balcony
View from the Platform

Remove the ladder because it detracts from the fun. Hoist up / carry over from the balcony a table and chairs, sleeping pad and sleeping bag, etc. Enjoy!