Category: Backyard Studios

12 Fun Backyard Forts Grown-Ups Could Love

While any kind of system in a tree or a cardboard box clubhouse will make a kid happy, it is an excellent bonus if this permanent structure is appealing for adults. Even better if it’s a location we prefer to escape from time to time.

With the most up-to-date in kiddo fort designs, children get the advantages of climbing walls, fire sticks and suspended bridges, while the grown-ups get to gaze out on small structures that seem like an architect’s design or a Mondrian cube. Who knows, after the kids grow up, possibly the adults will take these over as offices, potting sheds, studios or money-making rentals. Here’s a glimpse at 12 favorites.

Sometimes I think designing and building tree houses brings architects back for their woodshop times in design school. This fabulous fort resembles an architectural design to me, with thoughtful overhangs to mitigate direct sun and an assemblage of reclaimed wood. Additionally, it resembles a lot of pleasure with its ladders and ropes, which is the point after all.

Aitken and Associates

This floral fort wins the Best Use of an Old Tree Stump award. While I wouldn’t recommend this wisteria-draped getaway for anybody allergic to any type of stings, it may be a great area to perform scenes from Romeo and Juliet or even Cyrano de Bergerac.

Verner Architects

This slatted elevated fort is enjoyable to climb up to hang out in and descend from, while its modern architecture is not anywhere near the eyesore most tree houses are for Mom and Dad.

Verner Architects

Keith Willig Landscape Services, Inc..

This fort makes the most of the lawn’s change in altitude. From front one sees the tempting pleasure of the nets and fire rod, while around back there is a rod, a slide and a swing set.

Keith Willig Landscape Services, Inc..

Bjon Pankratz

The ordered yet ramshackle style of the two-story fort provides it architectural interest while still attracting children. Its mixture of materials is quite Austin, Texas, keepin’ it fashionable and weird.

Bjon Pankratz

When it’s lit up at night, you can observe how the home was built right around a tree.

This is another of those easy-on-the-eyes structures. The tall, Jenga-like tower has peekaboo slats in addition to its own deck and roof deck (complete with sail shade).

In addition a climbing wall alternative is up a balcony, in addition to the side.

Know more about home climbing walls

Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc

This cool little cube is certainly easy on a modern artwork fan’s eyes and may even function as a sculpture in the backyard.

Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc

It has a great playspace interior which carries a chalkboard wall, bookshelves, a window seat and even a peekaboo clear panel in the ground which may sit beneath a koi pond.

Know more about the playhouse

Hugh Lofting Timber Framing, Inc..

A suspended bridge is currently the most recent craze in garden forts and tree houses. Maybe it’s due to the rising popularity of Costa Rica as a vacation destination? I am not certain what brought this on, but it is in most of the cool backyards at this time.

Hugh Lofting Timber Framing, Inc..

Another attic inside gives a fort within a fort.

Alex Amend Photography

The whole family pitched in to build this wonderful tree home overlooking the San Francisco Bay. They used as many reclaimed and vintage items as you can, including stained glass windows.

Alex Amend Photography

Now the kids are all grown up, the household rents the appealing and cozy tree home to visitors (you can stay here too).

Know more about this tree home

Lobalzo Design Associates, Ltd

These homeowners built a playhouse which matches with their particular home, right down to the planter urns, for their toddler, Birdie.

Lobalzo Design Associates, Ltd

The family are big fans of Beatrix Potter and MacKenzie-Childs. The interiors are inspired by both and also are built to stand up to adults that are visiting for tea parties and story hour.

Watch more of Birdie’s nest

Grant Davis Thompson, INC..

This big garden in Brooklyn, New York, was crying out for a bug-free area for all ages to enjoy.

Grant Davis Thompson, INC..

New York architecture firm Palmer Thompson-Moss produced a 200-square-foot screened-in space complete with a ice chest, outlets for speakers, salvaged light, built-in benches and even a sandbox.

Know more about the playhouse

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

OK, my fellow nerds, we’re never going to top this one, however hard we try! It’s a fort for grown-ups … grown-ups who love J.R.R. Tolkien.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The owner is a significant collector of J.R.R. Tolkien novels, manuscripts and artifacts, and The Hobbit House is the greatest spot for preserving and appreciating his collection.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The Hobbit House even has a rounded door crafted of Spanish cedar. Bam! Top that — I dare you!

Know more about The Hobbit House

More: The Most Beautiful Kids’ Tree House You’ll Ever See?

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Boost Backyard Chickens Without Ruffling Neighbors' Feathers

A report in the New York Times tells the story of a Brooklyn community which has turned neighbor against neighbor — all because of this Warren-St. Mark’s community backyard decision to temporarily home eight hens. The chicken war between the urban farmers and longtime residents of this area brings up a problem: How can you maintain the peace while raising backyard chickens?

Photographer and chicken keeper Amy Renea says it starts with neighborly acts: advanced notice to neighbors and strategic coop placement go a long way in keeping the peace. She houses her chickens in a far corner lot on her property where neighbors can’t see, smell or hear the chickens when they’re cooped up. The hens roam free when they are released from the coop, and although they generally stick near her property, the cluckers sometimes drift to a neighbor’s lot. “We find the best way to fight any issues is using a giant basket of eggs every once in a while,” Renea says.

Here are additional strategies for keeping things neighborly.

Amy Renea

Keep neighbors informed. Lyanda Haupt, that has been keeping chickens for more than 12 years, sought her out neighbors’ ideas before building a coop in her Seattle lawn. “I told them about what we were planning to do and asked what they thought about it. Once people are informed, they will determine that real safety and health concerns are minimal,” she says.

Leslie Divoll did the specific opposite in her beachfront Florida community. She retains her coop a mystery since the neighbors complain at the drop of a hat, she says.

For Gwen Weerts, consulting neighbors about the left, right and right behind is essential, but she admits that living in the “crunchy” city (her description) of Bellingham, Washington, ensures that more people are supportive of agriculture. “I can see how urban areas without much exposure to small-scale agriculture could have these community flare-ups because of misinformation,” she says.

Check city ordinances. Kathy Siegel, that used to have a coop in Los Angeles, underscores the importance of adhering to city ordinances. “You don’t wish to be in the wrong when your pets’ lives are at stake. In L.A., they have ordinances that say no roosters could be maintained, that limit the hens to five only and dictate clear space minimums between the coop and your neighbor’s home,” says Siegel.

Most chicken keepers will tell you assessing ordinances can prove to be difficult when chickens are involved, since rules concerning chickens may fall under pet, noise or small livestock ordinances. “The Backyard Chickens website has a fantastic choice of city ordinances regarding domesticated fowl. I would check there,” says Weerts.

Amy Renea

Anticipate noise and odor issues. Although Divoll retains her coop a secret from her neighbors, she proposes having only hens in the coop for noise reduction. And if you keep cows or cows, more means more noise and odor; limit a backyard coop to five to make sure less noise. “I’d also strictly adhere to an odor-free practice,” she says. “It is very easy to do. Individuals who don’t pick up their pet’s poop have stinkier lawns compared to people who have chicken coops.”

Amy Renea

Strategize your coop’s location and design. Screen chickens from street perspective and from the perspective of neighbors’ dogs, which might become barking nuisances if they are not utilized to seeing chickens.

“Our neighbor didn’t wish to see that the coop, so we lowered our coop’s roof to them,” says Shannon Demma, that keeps chickens in Santa Cruz, California. “We maintain the coop in a completely enclosed lawn, so from the outside you don’t even know it is there. After watching us chickens, our neighbors now have their very own coops.”

Some chicken keepers purposely assemble coops without windows and lock their chickens in nightly. Haupt says they’re quieter in the dark, and that she doesn’t let them out until after 8% to maintain early-morning clucking from waking the neighbors.

Amy Renea

Know how to manage predators and rodents. Keeping a sterile coop reduces troubles, but occasionally leftover food onto the ground still can encourage mice — nothing which a cat can’t handle. “In an urban setting, I would definitely suggest daily crossing of any spilled or spilled food to avoid rodents,” says Amy Renea.

A high-security coop can defend chickens against predators, like skunks and raccoons. But keeping the area inside and outside the home clean ought to still be a high priority. The effort of keeping up a home is well worth it for these chicken keepers, who state that the cluckers are becoming part of their family. “My children play together; they supply wonderful fresh eggs; they eat our scraps and create compost for our backyard. We feel very blessed to have them,” says Demma.

“I feel like having a flock of hens harkens back to days when most folks had a vegetable patch, evenings were spent collectively on the porch and acquaintances spoke to one another over their fences,” says Weerts. “Chicken possession is an excellent reminder that we ought to go back to this”
Tell us Do you maintain backyard chickens? Please show us your coop and share your experience in the Comments below.

The Scoop on Chicken Coops
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Backyard Bliss: Conjure a Worldwide Oasis Outdoors

Enjoy your lawn like you would like a hotel this summer. If you can not manage to get to Thailand or Spain, transform your backyard to bring those countries to you. A small backyard, patio, loggia, porch, balcony or deck could all take on an international appearance. Here are three ways.
Close your eyes, spin the planet and stop it with your finger. If it lands somewhere like Antarctica, spin again.Take out the photos from a favourite excursion and remember which components made you feel as if you were on vacation. Decide whether any of the outdoor spaces below hit your fancy and replicate what you like about these.

Supon Phornirunlit / Nude Decor

Designer Supon Phornirunlit looks for inspiration on his world travels. A Thai resort lobby’s reflecting pool inspired him to lose his high-maintenance plant set on his deck in Washington, D.C., and substitute it with a pool. He made a relaxing Far East air by amassing inexpensive umbrellas, chairs and elephants out of Pier 1 Imports and Ikea.

See the rest of this home

Artisan Books

The Moroccan exterior lifestyle is all about sun protection and relaxing. Rich local textiles bring softness and colour to sandy stucco and rattan.

Blasen Landscape Architecture

Earthy colours on the walls and under your feet produce a Tuscan foundation, whereas potted plants, especially citrus trees and blossoms, create an edible container garden. Insert a dining table and chairs and enjoy drinking Italian wine out.

Summerour Architects

There might not be a view of minarets beyond these arches, but the kilim cushions and rugs used during this second-story covered patio whisk visitors away to Turkey.

Leslie Hayes Interiors

Traditional Chinese garden stools in blue and white bring China into Philadelphia. Designer Leslie Hayes has cleverly grouped a trio of these together to form a foundation for a glass-top dining table.


Don’t forget to focus on lighting. There is no requirement to have a grand electric system installed; candlelight adds all of the ambience this resortlike lawn needs. If I had a lawn in this way, I would not ever have to travel everywhere.

Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group

Transport yourself to Kyoto by opting for Japanese fashion in your garden. While Japanese gardens seem to be minimal and easy, each rock, sculpture, plant and course was placed with fantastic care. These elements inspire calm meditation when you are sitting and looking out in the garden and provide a very specific experience when you are walking.

Tommy Chambers Interiors, Inc..

Tommy Chambers Interiors paid particular attention to the outdoor spaces surrounding a timeless California Mediterranean home. He imported bright colours, tropical plants and geometries found on Spain’s Mediterranean shore.

Elad Gonen

Deep blue and white will take you away to Mykonos, Greece.

Vanni Archive/Architectural Photography

If your home doesn’t have each the crisp white structures seen in the previous picture, add it through your furnishings to get a relaxed Greek island look.


Attain your French dreams by adding lavender oil, lavender fabrics and café furniture.

Space of the Week: The Supreme Breakfast Patio
Garden Tour: A Colorful Patio Blooms in Arizona

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