Everyone needs a clubhouse! You can build your own backyard shelter, retreat, or clubhouse even if you have never built anything before. The clubhouse above was built in 1959 by three kids aged 8, 9 and 11, with no money or help from grownups! I know; I was the 11-year-old who took this picture. I'm sharing here what I have learned since then.
Readers of all ages are welcome to comment with their own ideas, pictures or stories.
To help you on your way, I've written a book titled "Keep Out! Build Your Own Backyard Clubhouse", which is available through bookstores or at Amazon.com . Many of the items I post here are also in the book.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Any kind of plan will help!

Draw a Plan
This works a lot better than just starting out nailing boards together. A plan is simply a way to think about what you want, and then how to get there. Plans might also help you get permission and support for your project. Here’s how to plan your clubhouse:

Think about a space big enough to hold yourself and your friends. Think about what you might want to do in it, and maybe write a list: will you want a desk or a couch? Will you want chairs or just cushions on the floor? Will you want a place to store or hide stuff, or a secret exit?  A 6-foot by 8-foot clubhouse will comfortably hold 4 people, so I am going to use this size for my demonstration: 
Then check the site you’ve chosen to see if your clubhouse will fit. With your tape measure, check the actual size on the ground if you need to. You might have to make it square-shaped or maybe four feet wide and ten feet long to fit a tight space!
Also think about how you’d like to get in and out…what kind of door?  How much light and ventilation do you want? What kind of windows? Some kids like their clubhouses dark and den-like, others like a lot of light so they can read or see what’s going on outside. A sliding window or two are great for ventilation on hot days.

You may want to build a different shape or size, so draw your plan first. Later you can add more rooms if there is enough space around your clubhouse.

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