Vacaville Man Builds Massive Treehouse in His Backyard

VACAVILLE -- It's easy to see the Jolly Rogers at full mast at one spot in Vacaville, but it's not waving above some kind of vessel in nearby Alamo Creek. It's on a ship sailing in the sky as part of the kind of treehouse you've probably never seen.

"It's just scrap lumber for them. I just clean it up and take the nails out, and then treat it," the builder, Dean, told FOX40, describing his handiwork.

Nine years ago, the local treehouse master started building with what a local company was throwing away. Originally it was just to solve the problem of the penn oak's limbs growing across the top of his house.

"Yeah, I had this ladder to begin with," he said pointing to a few slats nailed up the side of the tree. "And then I had a station over here with tools, and then after that I thought, 'If I have to prune it again I'll make it easy on myself. If had a treehouse, right?'"

When asked what his wife thought of his plan, he laughed. "Oh, she still thinks I'm crazy."

He tried his hand at building a few treehouses when he was a child in Panama, but none of them compare to what he's been able to accomplish as an adult. To get about 45 feet high to an incredible view it took about eight years of the crane operator's spare time and ingenuity. He finished it last year.

Now, his two young sons have a fantastical retreat in their own backyard.

"It's actually supported by about 400 feet of 3/4-inch pipe that's tethered to the network of branches," Dean said.

He says an arborist checked the tree and gave it a "clean bill of health."

Dean estimates he spent about $5,000 of his own money for materials he wasn't able to scavenge.

The treehouse is not pirate-themed all the time. He changes the flag for Cinco de Mayo, puts up a big bat for Halloween and lights a 10-foot star on the treehouse at Christmas.