A Backyard Tree House With Zip Line and Hammock | Gardens & Landscapes | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It

A Backyard Tree House With Zip Line and Hammock 

click to enlarge Dad: Jason Mikula, Stepmom: Polly Mikula, Kids: Daughter Emery, 8, and son Sam, 6 - COURTESY OF JASON MIKULA
  • Courtesy Of Jason Mikula
  • Dad: Jason Mikula, Stepmom: Polly Mikula, Kids: Daughter Emery, 8, and son Sam, 6

Jason Mikula was obsessed. For one month in the summer of 2014, the father of two could think of little else besides finishing the tree house in his Killington backyard. When his wife, Polly, asked him what he wanted to do after work each night that July, he'd reply incredulously, "What do you mean? I'm working on the tree house."

He had good reason to hustle. He was building the structure for his kids, Emery, 8, and Sam, 6, who live with their mother in Denver, Colo. He visits them regularly, but at the end of that month, they were coming to stay with him and Polly for the first time.

Jason knows carpentry basics, but he'd never built a tree house. He and Polly scrolled through Pinterest for inspiration, and their final plan included a zip line and a hammock. They ordered a bunch of pressure-treated wood and got to work.

There were mishaps: They initially selected three trees to build the house in, only to discover, when one collapsed just days before they began construction, that all of them were dead. Jason learned the hard way that it's foolish to attempt to hang a zip line by yourself (especially late at night, after a tiff with your wife, when balancing on a wobbly ladder in the dark).

He also worried about the project's structural integrity. "I had nightmares that Sam was going to be in the hammock and this whole thing was going to fall down on him," Jason admits. "That's why we did bring in a professional just to look at it and tell us it wasn't going to fall over."

When the Mikulas pulled into their driveway on the first night of Emery and Sam's visit, "they jumped out of the car and ran up into [the tree house]," recalls Jason. "They were blasting on the zip line until 10 at night."

Dwelling Deets

  • The tree house includes a climbing wall, zip line, hammock and bucket on a pulley for hoisting treasures up and over the balcony.
  • Jason estimates he spent a total of 80 hours and $2,500 on the structure — worth every penny, he and Polly agree.
  • The project was a family effort. While Jason and Polly flew to Denver to pick up the kids, Polly's sister and brother-in-law worked on finishing touches.
  • Jason's parents installed a whimsical bridge and decorated the inside of the tree house with Star Wars posters, a toadstool-shaped table and chairs, and light-up drinking glasses.
  • Next up: Build bunk beds inside so the kids can spend the night, and install a fire pole through a trapdoor that leads down to the hammock.

This story originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Kids VT.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Megan James

About The Author

Megan James

Megan James

Megan James began writing for Seven Days in 2010, first as Associate Arts Editor. She later became an editor for Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT, and is currently a freelance contributor.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Latest in Category

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation