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Having a tree house is something almost every child dreams of. If your yard has a big enough tree, you can make that dream a reality for your kids with a summer DIY project. As with any construction project, a little pre-planning goes a very long way. But with a simple design and some basic materials and tools, you can give your kids a backyard retreat they can enjoy for years.

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1. Start with a basic design

Tree house designs are best kept simple. A roof, walls, and a way to get up are all that's needed; anything else is a luxury. If you have the inclination and the skills to realize something more elaborate, let your imagination run wild. Pull up staircases and rope bridges, windows that open, and a balcony will all be put to good use. But kids will work with what you give them. It's the sense of privacy and ownership that's of value to them, not the curb appeal.

A simple treehouse and balcony design using timber logs. wundervisuals / Getty Images
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