Cindy and I had planned the landscaping of our backyard pre-kids. In hindsight, it would have been nice to set aside some space for future use, such as a kid's fort. This dilemma has been dogging me for the last four or five years. How much area should I carve out? What can, or what am I willing to remove? What am I going to install? Many of the playground kits did not meet our requirements (e.g. we don't need more swings, or they cover too much area). So finally this summer a plan started to coalesce. We first decided to take out a chunk of garden including a tangerine and orange tree. I designed the fort on paper and received approvals from my sister-in-law (architect) and nephew (civil engineer).
I prepared the site earlier in the month and planned on building the fort during my long Christmas vacation. Two weeks seemed like enough time.... As my vacation approached the scale of the project became overwhelming. I would be doing this project without Cindy's direct help (someone has to watch the kids). In the past we have always worked together on projects. Besides her excellent skills with the power saw I would not be able to chat about the project as it developed. Fortunately I was able to secure extra help for two days. A friend's teenage son helped me mix and pour cement for the footings. And Matt and Greg, who are contractors, were able to quickly trouble shoot the assembly of all the large posts, joists and floor boards a couple of days later (their relative youth and vitality, and tools were useful too).
Here is how it came together:
The 6' by 8' area is cleared and marked off. I dug six holes and mixed and poured concrete for footings.
All the wood was hand picked and pre-painted (two coats). Boy, there was a lot of wood. My big van made a great hauler.
The six 12' posts go up!
The floor is laid.
The boys and me enjoying the fort mid-construction (thank you Greg and Matt)!
More progress as the ladder, railing, roof, walls, climbing wall, climbing net and rope posts are finished.
The interior walls still need to be painted and the hand holds and net and ropes have been ordered. Also the ground needs to be cleared some more and the wood chips added. I pray I am done by the end of January.