Connect with us

Beginners Guides

Lloyd Kahn: 50 Years Of Diy And Alternative Housing



Lloyd Kahn stands out as an esteemed author and publisher, dedicating over fifty years to the exploration and documentation of unconventional housing concepts. His interest in habitations has compelled him to delve into a variety of constructions, encompassing everything from geodesic domes and mobile homes to shelters made from driftwood. Kahn’s contributions have significantly influenced and guided the do-it-yourself (DIY) trend, equipping individuals with the necessary resources and information to construct their personal dwellings.

Kahn’s insights offer a unique perspective on the evolution of housing and the DIY movement. His experience spans decades, giving him a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that people face when building their own homes.

In this article, we will explore Kahn’s life and work, looking at his books, his ideas about shelter and housing, and his advice for first-time DIY home builders. By examining his contributions to the field of alternative housing, we hope to provide readers with a greater understanding of this important and fascinating area of study.

Key Takeaways

  • Lloyd Kahn has been exploring and documenting alternative housing ideas for over five decades.
  • Kahn’s building philosophy is grounded in simplicity and sustainability.
  • Kahn has produced several books on unconventional dwellings, including tiny homes, geodesic domes, and driftwood shelters.
  • While Kahn maintains skepticism about the tiny home movement, he encourages those interested in building their own homes to do their research and be realistic about the challenges they may face.

Author and Publisher

Lloyd Kahn, a well-known author and publisher on alternative housing ideas who got into publishing through his interest in building, has documented various types of DIY dwellings, including tiny houses, dome homes, mobile houses, and driftwood shelters, in his books such as ‘Shelters’ and ‘Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter.

His building philosophy is grounded in the idea of simplicity and sustainability, which he believes can be achieved through the use of natural materials and low-impact building techniques.

Apart from his interest in building, Lloyd has made significant contributions to the publishing industry. He served as the shelter editor of The Whole Earth Catalog and later became the editor-in-chief of Shelter Publications.


Through his books, he has influenced a generation of DIY builders and has provided a platform for showcasing innovative and alternative housing ideas. His contribution to the field of alternative housing and publishing is invaluable and has inspired many to explore sustainable and affordable housing solutions.


The author and publisher, Lloyd Kahn, has produced several books on various types of unconventional dwellings, including tiny homes, geodesic domes, and driftwood shelters.

One of his favorite books is ‘Builders of the Pacific Coast’, which documents the unique homes and lifestyles of those living on the West Coast.

In his books ‘Shelter’ and ‘Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter’, he showcases small and simple living spaces that are sustainable and affordable.

Kahn’s early work, such as ‘Shelters’ from 1973, focused heavily on geodesic domes, which he has since reconsidered.


In his later work, he has documented thousands of small or tiny homes, including those built on wheels, as well as driftwood shelters and mobile houses.

Despite his interest in tiny homes, Kahn maintains a healthy amount of skepticism about the tiny home movement and encourages those interested in building their own homes to do their research and be realistic about the challenges they may face.

Shelter and Housing

Diverse types of shelter have been documented by the author and publisher, including geodesic domes, rolling homes, mobile houses, and driftwood shelters.

Over the years, Lloyd Kahn has documented thousands of small or tiny homes, and his interest in shelter has led him to explore alternative housing ideas.

The concept of shelter has changed over time, and the current fascination with tiny houses is a reflection of changing concepts of what a home should be.


Despite his documentation of tiny homes, Kahn has a healthy amount of skepticism about the tiny house movement. He believes that building a tiny home is not as simple as it may seem and that there are many aspects to consider, such as zoning laws, building codes, and the practicality of living in a small space.

Nevertheless, Kahn’s work has contributed to the conversation around alternative housing and has provided inspiration for those looking for creative solutions to housing challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

What inspired Lloyd Kahn to become interested in alternative housing and DIY building?

Lloyd Kahn’s interest in alternative housing and DIY building stemmed from his passion for shelter and his background in building. As the former shelter editor of The Whole Earth Catalog and editor-in-chief of Shelter Publications, he has documented a wide range of dwellings, including tiny houses, geodesic domes, and mobile homes.

His fascination with shelter led him to publish the book ‘Shelters’ in 1973, which showcased DIY dwellings and tiny homes. Over the years, Lloyd has documented thousands of small or tiny homes. While he is skeptical about the current fascination with tiny houses, he continues to share his knowledge and experience through his books and publications.

What are some of the challenges that come with living in a tiny home on wheels, and how does Lloyd Kahn feel about this housing trend?

Living in a tiny home on wheels presents both challenges and benefits. Challenges include limited space, lack of privacy, and the need for frequent maintenance and repairs. However, the benefits of a mobile lifestyle, the ability to travel and explore new places, and the reduced cost of living can be appealing to some.


Lloyd Kahn, a well-known author and publisher on alternative housing, has expressed both skepticism and admiration for the tiny home movement. While he acknowledges the appeal of minimalism and mobility, he also questions the long-term sustainability and practicality of living in such small spaces.

Kahn’s perspective on the future of alternative housing is that it will continue to evolve and adapt to changing needs and lifestyles, but he believes that the focus should be on creating sustainable and functional homes rather than just small ones.

As for the tiny home on wheels trend, he sees it as just one of many possible solutions for those seeking affordable and alternative housing.

How has the concept of shelter and housing changed over the years, and what do you think the future of alternative housing looks like?

The concept of shelter and housing has evolved over time, and innovative solutions have emerged to address affordability and accessibility.

With an increasing focus on environmental sustainability and minimalism, the tiny home movement has gained popularity in recent years.


However, alternative housing options have been documented for decades, with authors like Lloyd Kahn advocating for DIY dwellings and showcasing unique structures like geodesic domes and rolling homes.

The future of alternative housing looks promising, with ongoing advancements in technology and construction materials allowing for even more creative solutions to address the housing crisis.

Can you share any anecdotes or stories from Lloyd Kahn’s experience documenting DIY homes and builders?

Lloyd Kahn’s extensive experience documenting DIY homes and builders has resulted in many interesting anecdotes and stories.

Throughout his career, he has encountered numerous builders with unique designs and approaches to alternative housing.

Kahn’s impact on the alternative housing movement cannot be overstated, as his books have inspired countless individuals to pursue DIY building and explore alternative housing options.


His work has also shed light on the changing concepts of shelter and housing over the years.

Ultimately, Kahn’s documentation of DIY builders serves as a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of those who choose to build their own homes.

How does Lloyd Kahn prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness in his approach to alternative housing and building?

Lloyd Kahn’s sustainability priorities and eco-friendly approach in alternative housing and building are evident in his documentation of small and tiny homes that utilize natural materials and energy-efficient designs.

His DIY building inspiration emphasizes the importance of self-sufficiency and low-impact living, as seen in his book ‘Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter.

While he maintains a healthy amount of skepticism towards the current fascination with tiny homes, he recognizes the potential for these dwellings to promote sustainable lifestyles.


Kahn’s approach to alternative housing highlights the importance of reducing one’s environmental footprint while also creating a comfortable and personalized living space.

Continue Reading

Beginners Guides

Different Types of Treehouse Netting




If you are considering building a treehouse, getting netting for the treehouse is essential. Fortunately, there are many options available on the market. Whether you need climbing nets in different colors, patterns, or styles, you will discover that these products are typically sold by the linear foot and require a specific amount of space – usually starting at 75 square feet. Moreover, these nets are multipurpose, working well for both cargo lofts and hammocks. You can choose a net that suits your treehouse project perfectly, whether it is for a hammock, a cargo loft, or a combination of both.

Dream Nets Are a Treehouse Netting

The concept behind Dream Nets is to create a tensile tree platform that can be woven on-site. It creates a safe and playful play environment that can be enjoyed by the entire family. The dream nets are made of nautical/fishery supplies and are sturdy yet flexible, making them a great choice for any treehouse. The average lifespan of the Dream Nets is 10+ years, making them a great alternative to traditional treehouse materials.

These innovative netting systems come in many different styles and colors. Tree House Supplies offers nets by the linear foot. Depending on the size of your structure, there are several different types of dream nets available. You can also purchase nets specific for hammocks, cargo lofts, or a cargo loft. If you have a large space, you can also buy a netting system that allows you to fit many different-sized hammocks and cargo bins in your treehouse.

Treehouses with net floors are fun for kids of all ages. They are an adventure for children and can be equipped with a rope swing. Kids love to swing from the treehouse and the net floor will make the experience more enjoyable. Treehouses with net floors can be constructed quickly and easily, making the experience fun for everyone. You don’t even have to spend hours or even days building the stairs. The net floors are flexible and can be customized to your child’s needs.

Spider Web Climbing Nets Are a Treehouse Netting

9.8 X 14.8FT Kids Playground Play Safety Net Outdoor Climbing Cargo Net Playground Sets Double Layers Backyard Net for Playground
Spider Web Climbing Nets

This climbing net is ideal for playgrounds, amusement parks, and residential areas. It’s easy to install with essential hand tools. The net is available in standard sizes of twelve, sixteen, and twenty feet. It has two-inch square netting liners and synthetic rope and can be attached to bridges, cargo climbs, and treehouse structures. A few tools are required to install this netting, and you’ll want to have some help if your children aren’t sure about it.

The net allows children to climb up and down without hurting themselves. These nettings are also very durable and should last a long time. These nets are often custom-made from high-quality materials. Once installed, they can be used as a treehouse roof or as an accessory for other structures. Spider web climbing nets are a great option for treehouses designed to keep kids safe. They don’t break easily and are very durable.


Double Stack Climbing Nets Are Ideal for Larger Areas

If you plan to create a playhouse in your backyard, you will need to use sturdy, double-stack climbing nets. You need to use the right knots when tying them, and most resources point you in the right direction. If you’re not sure about what knot to use, the Carrick Bend is an ideal choice. This ornamental knot is very strong and will not create sharp bends that can tear or damage your netting. However, you can experiment with different knots to ensure you’re tying the right knots to keep the net from fraying or breaking.

Double stack climbing nets are designed to accommodate multiple occupants and perfect for larger treehouse netting areas. They are made from two layers of two-inch square netting that are reinforced with a sewn edge and 5/8″ thick rope on the perimeter. The border rope also acts as a stronger connection point, and is usually attached to a wooden platform. These netting products are popular for treehouse platforms.

Treehouse Netting Can Be Used as A Ladder

Treehouse netting is an excellent alternative to traditional ladders for many reasons. Not only can it be used as a ladder, but it can also serve as a protective barrier in case of a fall. A store’s staff usually installs these nets. The installation costs depend on the size of the net, so it is best to check with the store before buying it.

Continue Reading

Beginners Guides

What Happens to a Tree House When the Tree Grows?




One obstacle you may face while building a treehouse is the weight it adds to the tree. The sudden increase in weight can strain the tree and its roots may take years to strengthen enough to support the additional load. This could potentially affect the tree’s stability in stormy weather. Despite this challenge, there are ways to address it. It is recommended to assess the structure’s weight before deciding to proceed with building the treehouse.

Building a Treehouse

Using specialized bolts is important when building a treehouse. The platform should be at least eight feet above the ground, and the house should be out of reach of children and adults. You should also use safety measures such as railings and individual spacers to prevent falls. If you are not a construction expert, you may want to seek advice from a professional. If you are unsure of the safety precautions to take, consider a platform with railings on all sides.

If you’d like to build a treehouse, it should be built away from power lines. Power lines can fall on the branches of a tree, and a dangerous accident can lead to injury and death. Also, avoid building a treehouse near a waterfall, a working road, or a hilly area. Also, don’t forget to build a sandpit underneath the tree house. Make sure to leave enough room around the tree to accommodate the growth of the house.

You should discuss your plans with your neighbors before you start building. You’ll want to be aware of any potential legal or neighborly problems that might arise if your treehouse is too close to your neighbors’ property. While a treehouse may be fun for children, it’s not worth a neighbor’s ire. As long as you’re considerate and follow the city code, you’ll be able to enjoy your treehouse for years to come.

The cost of building a treehouse will depend on its height and size. The complexity and type of materials used will also determine the project’s overall cost. Remember that it can be hazardous to trees, so always check with a professional before you begin. For example, large bolts and fasteners can damage the tree. Also, the added weight can damage the tree’s trunk and branches. If you’re not sure of the tree’s capacity to handle the extra weight, consult with an arborist. Many tree care companies have arborists on staff.


Before building a treehouse, you should make sure the tree you plan to use is a strong one. If the tree is young and the trunk is a hardwood, you should consult with an arborist. You should also find a tree with strong limbs. You should also consider if the tree will grow to be a good fit for your new treehouse. This will ensure the safety of everyone who uses it.

Once you have a tree with enough size and shape to support a treehouse, you can start with the construction of the treehouse. You should build the base first, and then move on to the main part of the structure, the roof. If the tree is too small or too large, you may need to build a treehouse on stilts to avoid damage. Building a treehouse requires some preparation, but once you’ve completed the initial steps, you’ll be glad you did.

Problems with Tree Support

One of the most common reasons a young tree leans is its poorly developed roots. Soil that isn’t consistent, or which does not support the roots well is also a common cause. The tree may also be leaning because of wind or a wet ground. In these cases, addressing drainage patterns is essential to prevent the problem. Proper placement of stakes, cables, or other supports will prevent a tree from leaning and ensure it has sufficient support during its life.

Problems with Tree Compartmentalization

Wood decay in trees has several causes, including injuries caused by animals, inappropriate pruning cuts, and excessive weight. The damage can also occur as a result of extreme temperature changes. To survive, trees must protect themselves by creating boundary areas to prevent damage. This process is known as compartmentalization. It helps prevent the spread of discoloration and loss of normal wood function. However, this defense system can also lead to problems with tree compartmentalization.

The concept of tree compartmentalization was first introduced in the 1960s and has since become one of the standard concepts in the field. It is based on extensive studies of wood and bark. In addition to the lab, it is based on observational studies of trees in the field. This research led to the development of tree compartmentalization as a concept to describe the growth and decay of trees.


During a forest fire, the first step in preventing decay and disease is to protect the burned area. Trees respond to injury by forming a wall around it to prevent decay and disease from spreading. This wall covers the injured area and prevents the disease from spreading vertically. This wall is made up of two types of tissue: vascular tissue and thick-walled latewood growth rings.

The concept of compartmentalization was originally presented as a systems approach to decay problems. Before Shigo’s research, it was thought that living tree sapwood was dead and that decay was the result of cellular differentiation and maturation. Punky wood, a void left in a tree after wood decay, was also viewed as dead wood. With the compartmentalization concept, wood decay is understood as a multi-step process, beginning with wood formation in the vascular cambium, and culminating in apoptosis and shedding.

Continue Reading

Beginners Guides

Types of Treehouse Brackets




Brackets are essential for building treehouses in any do-it-yourself project involving treehouses. A strong and dependable support system is crucial for constructing a treehouse. There are various types of brackets available, and the right choice will depend on the specific project requirements. Options include floating brackets, J-brackets, TABs, and treehouse cables. Keep reading to learn more about each type. Each type has its own pros and cons. When you are constructing a treehouse for your child, it is important to choose the appropriate types.

Floating Brackets

A floating bracket can support a treehouse in the wind. This can be achieved with a single-inch lag bolt. The bracket can withstand 50 kg of weight without the use of scaffolding or cherry pickers. A cheater bar can be used for additional leverage. Once the bracket is installed, the beams need to be screwed into the flat plate of the bracket. This allows the structure to sway with the tree.

When building a treehouse, it is important to use flexible supports. If you have multiple trees, you will want to use floating brackets. They are specially designed to withstand the swaying of the trees. They are better than through bolts because they do not damage the trees. Floating brackets are also better for long-term stability, so you can enjoy your new treehouse for a long time.

In order to attach the treehouse to a living tree, you will need to use TABs. These are specially designed bolts that attach a treehouse to a tree. These can withstand thousands of pounds of weight. They also help the tree heal. Treehouse attachment bolts are easy to install and do not require any tools or training. You can find them at home improvement stores. If you decide to use these brackets, make sure to check the manufacturer’s warranty.

Tree houses weigh thousands of pounds. This means that they must be stable. When using fasteners, be sure to use large bolts. These will provide the same strength and durability as a handful of nails or screws, but will also cause less damage to the tree. Moreover, you can also use lag bolts to perch your treehouse on them. However, it is important to use fasteners made for treehouses. They should be at least 1 inch in diameter.



There are two main types of J-brackets for building a treehouse: simple and strong. The former is made of a single bolt which is fed into the tree from one side. The second type requires a single bolt, which is a bit longer and bigger than the first one. It is easy to use and doesn’t need any special tools. The J-bracket can be attached to the tree with rope support or scaffolding.

Another type of attachment point is a floating bracket. These are used to support the roof of the treehouse. A single J-bracket can support up to 50kg. An array of floats can be as large as three feet. These are useful if the tree needs to move. While floating brackets are more expensive, they provide more security and can support the weight of your treehouse. For safety and stability, it is a good idea to hire a professional to install the treehouse.

To install a treehouse, you must follow specific guidelines. The first rule is to keep the spacing between treehouse components at least 12 inches horizontally and vertically. The second rule is to make sure that the J-brackets are not butted against the tree trunk. If you install them at the wrong height, you run the risk of compromising the safety of both you and the tree. This disclaimer is valid for both Be in a Tree LLC and Nelson Treehouse and Supply.

Another important rule of treehouse construction is to always use a solid support system. Do not nail or glue the tree house to the tree; this will only create a wobbly structure. A good solution to this is to use diagonal bracing beneath the structure. You may only need one set if your treehouse is supported by two trees, but you can use up to four if the treehouse is supported by only one.

To attach the treehouse to the tree, you should choose a strong and sturdy beam. A two-by-ten-inch beam should span eight feet and a four-by-six-inch beam is recommended for 12 feet and greater. Remember, most localities require building permits for a treehouse, so you should check your local laws before deciding on the size of the beams. This way, your treehouse will not be a hazard to the tree.



A treehouse bracket is a simple structure that slides over the TAB to create a flexible platform for the structure. It can withstand up to one inch of wind movement and is attached to the treehouse structure with a flat plate. It has a rectangular frame that resembles a long handle. It fits over the TAB so it can move with the tree. The bracket is made of durable materials to withstand the weight of the treehouse and can also be removed and washed.

Treehouse brackets can be used for different types of structures. The J bracket is one of the most common and is the most common. It requires the beam to be fed in from one side while the J bracket is designed to be installed the other way around. Treehouse brackets can be attached to a tree using rope supports or scaffolding. A cheater bar will give you additional leverage when mounting brackets on a tree. It is important to choose the right one for your treehouse project.

Before you install a treehouse bracket, you must measure the beam and make sure it is the correct length. Remember to do this on a calm day when you don’t have to worry about the wind. During construction, you will need a metal plate for the underside of the beam to prevent it from sliding out of the bracket. Using a 1/4″ steel strip for the bearing surface will help ensure the bracket doesn’t slide off the beam.

Another type of treehouse bracket is called the floating bracket. It can be used for treehouses with three or four trees. It is also used for connecting several trees with a single tree. Floating brackets are attached with 1.25″ lag bolts. They are only compatible with 1.25″ lag bolts. If you use a TAB for your treehouse, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Besides TABs, you also need to consider using attachment bolts. These special bolts are made for treehouse construction and distribute the weight. In general, these bolts can support up to 2000 pounds. The nut and bracket ensure that the beams and joists are protected and won’t fall off the bolt. They also prevent any damage to the tree. However, make sure that the bolts are not too loose or too tight.


Treehouse Cables

If you’re building a treehouse, you’ll want to think about where to run the cables and brackets. While they may not seem important, they’re an important part of the structure. Cables can support long beams, overhangs, and radiating supports. Cable designs can affect how much floor space your treehouse takes up, so consider how you want to use them. You can run them along the inside of the wall, or you can divert them in a diagonal fashion to save floor space.

The cable should not come into contact with the tree. Any branches that brush against the cables may lose bark. You also don’t want to wrap the cables around the tree trunk, as this can girdle it and cut off the flow of sap. Also, be sure to leave a gap of about two inches between the platforms and the tree. The common mistake that novice treehouse builders make is not giving enough room to the tree to grow.

For a treehouse to be safe, cable systems must be installed correctly. The cables should be at least four feet in length. If the cables are not long enough, they might end up damaging the tree. When installing them, make sure that the cables and brackets are installed at right angles to the tree. If they are not, the cables may wear away the bark. Be sure that the eyebolt is in the correct location and angle to the cable direction.

If the treehouse requires cables or brackets, make sure that the TAB is securely attached to the timber frame with lag screws. Then, install four sliding brackets. The cables must be secure and stable so that they don’t come loose in the event of a move. When the treehouse is in motion, cables and brackets can cut the bark of the tree. They must be secured to the tree, and ideally, the treehouse must be placed in a location where it won’t cause damage to it.

Continue Reading