We have friends who do tree work, removing trees, pruning trees, planting trees, you name it, they do it. (www.treeservicesannapolis.com) They turned us on to this great show called Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet.
The person the show revolves around is Pete Nelson. He is very personable but so goofy sometimes it is almost embarrassing. We also wonder about their safety habits. Sometimes one wears a hard hat but most of the time no one does. Other times they have to squeeze or push a piece into place or to get it around a branch and it seems like it wouldn’t take much for it to go horribly wrong.
Considering the large holes they drill in the tree and put metal supports in the hole, it is a wonder that they don’t damage and kill the tree. We are not sure this show would work on the East Coast because of the species of trees here. It seems like there aren’t enough of the large trees here to make it work. They have so many large tree varieties in the Pacific Northwest where this is filmed. Redwoods, spruces, cedars, etc. Although a recent show had them building a tree house in a huge old multi stemmed silver maple. It was quite the engineering challenge to build around all the stems / branches.
Actually it might work well in the south with the big old live oaks. If they were on the East Coast, they would probably figure out some way to make it work.
It is interesting seeing the range of projects that Pete and his team create. Some are small, but others are quite extensive. First he meets with the owners and they discuss the vision that the owners want Pete to build. Then they walk the property looking for the right spot and the right tree or trees. In one episode Pete found a spot he liked but the owners nixed it. It turns out that a black bear family had hung out there the prior year and the owners were worried they would come back and that they would invade the treehouse.
Then Pete sketches his ideas based on the owner’s vision. On the show the owners always seem to love his ideas and sketches. Maybe they cut out the segments where he has to go back and rework ideas for them. One recent show needed something built on a very steep hillside that was otherwise unbuildable and was only accessibly from the water. But, it was in Seattle harbor and had a view of downtown, and of Mt Ranier and of the ocean / bay. Pete came up with a light house design.
Then they toss ropes up or use ladders or both and work on getting the tree(s) drilled and the supports put in. Then they create a frame and really start building it out. What is amazing to us is that the final decorations all seem to happen in the last 24 hours. It seems like a lot to get done in a very short time. But they always make it work.