Lonnie Oxley has built his son Landon a “multi-kingdom treehouse.” Shortly after moving into their home in 2004, he recalls, “The new house didn’t start feeling like a home until we started putting our own touches on the place, such as the treehouse.” There are monkey bars, a zip line, tire swing, flip bars, swings, a slide, a rope, and a porch. The other end of the zip line is attached to the top a basketball pole. Landon claims it is “soooooooooooooooooooooo much fun. I`m 10 years old and me and my friends love it because we play this game called war. we throw balls threw the window and we hide in shields.”
Oxley started this project by using a salvaged 16-year-old swing set, from which he improvising the design. He notes, “After a few weeks, the swing set wasn’t much fun anymore, so the idea to put a ‘clubhouse’ on top started to kick in.” Halfway through construction, though, the project was almost stopped, because the neighborhood association wanted it torn down. To help quell concerns, Oxley bought a green sheet metal roof which blended in with surrounding trees, and used beige paint that matched their house trim. “Eventually, it all turned out OK,” he reports, but this is a great warning for others: make sure you know your neighborhood’s regulations before starting this type of project.
Care was taken in purchasing treated lumber for the main supports, to ensure it would hold up, but costs were kept low by using scraps from the lumber yard or houses being built in the area. The most critical part was leveling and anchoring it all to three used railroad ties, which were pierced with multiple four-foot steel reinforcement rods going into the semi-rocky soil. “It has survived some strong puffs over the years,” Oxley says
Landon’s sister and several of her friends, including the girl who donated the swing set, have had multiple sleepovers in it. Oxley writes “The record was six girls. Now they are all off to college.” Landon still gets to to do epic battles with neighborhood kids. The inside has a variety of colors from left over paint jobs and will likely have more added before he grows out of it.
A neighbor helped out putting on the sheet metal, but for the most part Oxley did the project on his own. In the end, he says, “I had the family help with staining which lasted about 2 hours out of a 6 hour job. My wife Michelle was a good sport about it, keeping toddler Landon, out of harm’s way and dealing with the mess, distractions, priorities.”