Harry Potter writer JK Rowling hit the headlines recently when she applied for planning permission to build two massive tree houses in the grounds of her Edinburgh home for her two youngest children to play in. Ms Rowling is not alone in her desire to make better use of her outdoor space as despite the credit crunch more and more people are looking to the garden to provide the extra living or recreation space that a growing family needs.
Nearly all tree houses which are built are used as play spaces for children. For generations parents and children have built dens in the garden or in trees, and most tree houses in the UK are still home-made affairs which are rickety and quickly assembled. Getting a child involved in the construction of their den is a great way of encouraging them to spend more time outdoors climbing trees and having fun than sitting in front of their computer screen. For those with a greater budget, the sky is the limit when it comes to building a tree house.
The cost of £20,000 and upwards for a tree house of the type JK Rowling wants to build may be well out of the reach of many, but it can be a sensible option if looking to add a playroom, guest bedroom or office onto a house. A loft conversion or extension onto the house would cost around the same amount, and the costs of moving to a larger property to get the additional space could be far greater. An off the shelf tree house is always going to be cheaper than one which is specially designed for your needs, but spending a little more on a custom made tree house will ensure you get exactly the space you want.
Most people who have a large tree house treat it as a multi-purpose space which grows with their family. Young children will mainly use their tree house during the day for playing, whereas older children may wish to use it in the evening for sleepovers or as a place to spend time with their friends. If your kids are brave enough to sleep out overnight, small 1 person hammocks are the ideal purchase as they can be stored away easily when not being used and they don’t take up as much space as mattresses or camp beds. When building your tree house, consider whether you are going to use 1 person hammocks, and ask the builder to incorporate several hooks at different levels so the kids have a choice of where to sleep.
Using a tree house or log cabin as a home office means you can get away from the rest of the family and work undisturbed. The drawbacks are that you may have to have an electricity supply linked into into your rustic cabin, unless you are prepared to charge your lap top inside every couple of hours. Keeping the tree house secure and dry may be another issue, but professional tree house companies can solve these problems without too much difficulty.
Planning Permission for a Log Cabin
The good news is that if you want to have a log cabin in your back garden then in the UK the planning regulations are already fairly relaxed, but from November 2012 these regulations will be relaxed even further. It used to be the case that the size of exterior buildings had to be related to the external space available to you, but these rules apply mainly to bricks and mortar construction – wooden buildings are seen as ‘temporary buildings’ if their size is under a proportional square footing of the main propery. So go ahead – get yourself a tree house or log cabin!
Westmount Living offer a fantastic range of log cabins which are available as self-build for your garden.