Constructing a Kid's Fort

Create a cool playhouse for your kids.


After: The Perfect Fort

Materials and Tools:

4 2x6s
10 5/4x6x8 decking
4 4x4 posts
4 1x6s for railing
6 sheets of 1/2" plywood
20 2x4s
12 joist hangers for 2x6
4 bags of quick-set concrete
corrugated plastic
miter box
circular saw
reciprocating saw
hammer and nails or nail gun
router with roundover bit


  • When building a tree house or fort, be sure to follow local building codes. Most localities consider play equipment a deck as far as codes go, so consider the floor joist size, railing spacing and hardware such as joist hangers.
  • For young children, it's best to not have any working doors or windows in a playhouse. This allows parents to see in all the time to supervise and protects little fingers from getting pinched.
  • Clear corrugated plastic roofing is a great choice for playhouses. It lets light in, keeps the rain out and is fairly inexpensive.


1. Measure for a 4x8 platform, marking the four corners. Dig holes in the corners for the 4x4 posts.



frame 1

2. Set the posts in holes dry. Start hanging the 2x6s as a perimeter band off of the high corner, making sure to keep the boards level with each other. The perimeter band will act as the border for the floor, as well as brace the posts while the concrete sets.

4. Pour quick-set concrete into holes, according to manufacturer's instructions. Add more bracing if necessary. Let dry.

3. Double check posts to make sure they are level.



frame 4

5. While the concrete is setting, build the house out of 2x4s and plywood. Cut the plywood to the desired dimensions and build a frame to match with the 2x4s. Nail the plywood to the frame. For this project, they cut the front wall with a four feet wide base and six feet wide top. The back wall is four feet wide at the bottom and five feet wide at the top with the sides built to fit. After walls are built, attach them together with clamps and then nail together.



frame 1

6. The roof is made of a grid of 2x4s with bird's mouth notches in the rafters. Attach corrugated plastic by drilling holes into the wood and screwing into place.

7. Cut the doors and windows where desired. Run a router with a roundover bit around all the openings to protect the kids' fingers.

8. Install 2x4 floor joists by nailing through the outside of the perimeter band. To secure the joist, install joist hangers on each end of every joist.

9. Cut the back posts flush with floor joist. Cut front posts off 24 inches above floor joist. These posts will be used to support handrail.

10. Lay decking and nail into floor joists.

11. With help, place the built house on top of the platform and secure by nailing through the bottom of the frame into the decking.

12. Nail 1x6s to posts to create the railing around balcony.

13. Build an angled stepladder up to the fort two 2x4 rails. Cut three or four horizontal steps using the 2x4s and a circular saw. Nail the steps to the rails with a nail gun or hammer and nails. Attach the roof by nailing through the top of the frame.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Create a Birdbath From a Salvaged Sink

Design a unique birdbath out of a vintage, wall-mount sink. This fun DIY project will add charm to your yard, and create a fun hangout for your feathered friends.

How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit

Design a metal fire pit to transform your back patio.

How to Make a Backyard Fire Pit

Create a cozy space for outdoor entertaining with a stone fire pit.

How to Install a Pool Waterfall

Give your swimming pool a touch of nature with a self-contained waterfall kit.

How To: Building a Cedar Fence

Carter Oosterhouse shows how to install a cedar fence.

How to Build a Stone Accent Wall

Learn how to build a simple dry-stacked stone wall and patio.

Outdoor Pond Installation

Add a unique water feature to your backyard.

How To: Installing a Fire Pit

A backyard gets more warm and hospitable with a stone firepit.

Plant a Child-Friendly Garden

Even 2- and 3-year-olds can help plant their own little patch, and watch as life unfolds around them.

Building a Horizontal Plank Fence

A redwood fence is built on an angle to lend privacy to a sloping backyard.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.