Recently I attended a birthday party for a retired friend — the location of which was his outdoor entertaining area. A multi-year construction project, the site is now nearing completion. Built entirely from scrap or otherwise salvaged items, the structures there give imaginative form to the space and utilize non-conventional construction techniques.

Structural elements include such diverse items as irrigation pipe, automobile chassis parts, and a satellite dish (repurposed as a gazebo roof). Truck tarps, chickenwire, acrylic sheets, tree limbs and sections of expanded metal all play roles. Built virtually single-handedly, the “Tipi” and other structures show how much fun that cast-off materials (coupled with a vision and lots of determination) can be. Let’s take a look!

Three levels of decking adjoin a “Tipi” which is clad in old truck tarps in lieu of animal skins.

The main level opens to the Tipi’s interior.

Natural lighting comes from a ground-level window.

Miscellaneous sections of salvaged iron railing join fence gates to enclose a combination ramp/stair which leads to the second level. The ramp winds around a tree.

Plexiglass windows provide light to the second level.

Entry to the second level.

The second level is partially open to the room below.

An old iron wheel serves to tie the Tipi’s poles together at ceiling level. Spokes interfering with pole locations were removed.

From the second level, this site-built spiral staircase leads to the top.

A grab bar mounted to the center post provides support. The balustrade, made of tree limbs, is clad in chicken wire for safety.

The top deck feels like a treehouse!

The balustrade winds around the top of the Tipi. The rail is reinforced with iron straps welded together.

Nearby, another structure offers additional elevated space — also with a treehouse feel.

Recycled fencing encloses a portion of the spaces both above and below.

Built-in benches terminate in a Chippendale railing. The space below the deck houses more salvaged materials for future construction. The joists supporting the deck are repurposed steel pipes.

An internally-illuminated mid-century bar clad in corrugated fiberglass awaits at the top of the steps!
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