Forts are safe and magical places for play, imagination, and relaxation.
TO KIDS, THEY’RE CASTLES IN NEED OF DEFENDING, DUNGEONS FOR DRAGONS,
AND TOWERS FOR PRINCESSES.
Or, they can be meditation spaces, reading nooks, and camping spots.
A fort can change a child’s life—and yours too.
Building a fort is not as hard as you would think, and it is fun and affordable. HomeBiome is one company whose founder, Andrew Faust, uses permaculture techniques to make forts really special and simulate patterns found in nature. He built ours and helped us to create a sacred space on our property.
We also added a swing, rope ladder, climbing net, and trapeze bar swing to make it a complete play area. Sometimes our son, Milo, will have friends over and I will set up a lounge area nearby for the adults. It has become a new central location that was never used before we built the fort.
HomeBiome values using pieces of property that are underutilized.
“We help families to find possibilities in their property to more fully live in,” said Faust, “making better and more frequent use of the entire yard and nearby space around the home.”
The first step in building our fort was to find the right place on our land. It needed to be a location that felt like a getaway but was still close enough to our home for adult supervision.
After selecting the piece of property for the project, HomeBiome used rot resistant cedars for the four main upright posts, making sure they were squared up and placed at least three feet into the ground, below the frost line. Most of this cedar material was actually found on our property.
They then anchored the framing material to this very solid set of posts. HomeBiome sourced the rest of the materials from local sawmills, working primarily with rough-cut, full-dimension lumber.
“Generally we use hemlock from a mill in Youngsville, NY, run by Dan Millis,” said Faust. “We have been working pretty much exclusively with Mr. Millis for the last eight years on a range of projects from straw bale homes to forts and barns.”
HomeBiome took special care to pay attention to the structure’s orientation to the sun, and then decided how many feet off the ground it should be in order to ensure that it stays high and dry while maintaining privacy and comfort.
Faust said he also used other natural, unprocessed, and renewable materials like stone, clay, and sand from as nearby as possible.
Forts and playgrounds “create a play space that is simple, beautiful, dry, and comfortable with no electric wiring—a healing place for your children to go and unplug,” said Faust. “These forts are a way for us to help children develop connections with nature.”
CENTER FOR BIOREGIONAL LIVING