Reader Guest Post: Re-purposed decking made into Fort

Today is the first of what I hope to be many more posts from fancy nonsense readers! I’d like to introduce you to Heidi. She lives in Bend, Oregon with her dashing husband and 4 super cool kids. I met her many years ago when she was living in Kenya. They moved back stateside a couple of years ago and this is one of her most recent projects in the backyard. 2 reasons I love this project, one she uses re-purposed materials, and two there are no directions to follow.

diy tree fort

Two years ago we moved into an 80’s house with a hot tub. The kids thought that was so cool, like a little private swimming pool of sorts (even though we have a great neighborhood pool and hot tub right around the corner!).
Well, as it turns out the hot tub was cracked, the decking around it was rotting away, so much so that you would fall thru in certain areas, and it was expensive to up keep!

SO this summer my husband and I had to ripped it out! Actually, I called around to see if anyone could remove it for free 🙂 but the only people in the area who would come to take it away were going to charge me $5,000. NEVERMIND! So my father came with his ‘sawsall’ and chopped it all up one day. We took one big truck load of sawed up hot tub to the dump and then all the kids helped rip out all the old decking, saving as much of the wood as possible.

Well, I hate for anything to go to waste so I started thinking about what to do with all this good wood. The kids always have had some sort of play structure in the yard in every other house we have lived in and I wanted one in this new house of ours….. only if they aren’t too old, but hey, if I’m not too old, they aren’t either! (ages 15, 12, 10, 7). We sorted the wood into piles to be cut up and then I begged for some good wood to be saved. Ripped out old nails, put the straight ones in a ‘reuse’ pile and thru the crooked ones out.

diy tree fort

There were three 4×4 posts with big bolts into the tops connecting a huge supporting beam, plus lots of re-usable decking. So I started creating.
Leaning all three supports onto the tree of choice in a sort of half circle, then securing them to the tree and topping them with the decking!!

DIY tree fort

I didn’t go to the hardware store once. I reused every nail I could find. I then hung up a cool Kenyan basket of sorts for the ‘roof’. Used the old pine tree trimmings for the side and little ‘entrance’. I even got to rehang my daughters slide that had been in the garage for months and put down layers of gunny sack for the landing.
In any case, I was outside ALL DAY and felt very productive, rewarded with happy kids, and I even think my teenager was a little impressed with his old mama. And it looks cute. Totally worth not burning or throwing away all that good wood!

Happy summer.


A little more about Heidi. She works for Socially Responsible Safaris, they seek to bring positive economic benefits to local communities, involve environmentally sensitive accommodations, off-set carbon emissions, and generate meaningful relationships with host communities, schools and orphanages along the route.

If journeying off the beaten path and ‘traveling with a purpose’ sounds interesting to you, I invite you to check out their website or email Heidi at

If you have a project you want to share I’d love to hear about it. Email me at

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