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Ask Flipped: Can I build a treehouse in a shrub?

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Is there such a thing as a shrubhouse?

Welcome back to Ask Flipped, where we answer very real questions from readers who are having problems with home decor, design, or anything else. Do you have a question? Write it on a post-it note and throw it into a strong gust of wind. If it was meant to be, we will find the post-it and answer the question.

Dear Flipped,

Ever since I was a little kid, I have dreamed of living in a treehouse. Imagine, making your home high above the ground, among the birds and the squirrels and being hidden from everything by a canopy of leaves! It just seems like an incredible way to live. And now, at age thirty-four, I have decided to finally make my dream a reality.

Unfortunately, however, I don’t have a tree on my property and it turns out you aren’t allowed to just build a house in any old tree. I asked my neighbor if I could live in his tree and he said no.

My question is: can you build a house in a shrub?


Arboreal Architect


Dear AA,

Of course you can build a house in a shrub. What else did you think a shrubhouse was? The thing is, though, that shrubhouses are crap and that’s why nobody ever builds them. Imagine having to push through thick shrub branches every time you leave your house, or accidentally getting your roof trimmed off by a careless gardener. No thank you.

Instead of building a shrubhouse, I recommend you go ahead and build a treehouse in your neighbors tree anyway. What’s he going to do about it? Climb up into your treehouse and throw you out? Even if he did, you might have legal grounds to sue him since once you’ve occupied a tree for more than thirty days the eviction process becomes extremely difficult. Chances are he won’t want to deal with all that paperwork and he’ll just let you stay. So, here’s what you do: figure out when he’s going on vacation, build that treehouse real quick, and move right in. Boom, you got yourself the treehouse of your dreams.

Hope that helps,


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