The first thing you should know about Cindi Fitzgerald and Leif Linde is that they have a treehouse in their backyard that would make Swiss Family Robinson jealous.

The second thing you should know is that you can take a peek inside during the White Rock East Garden Tour — if you’re brave enough to make it past the rope bridge.

Linde built the treehouse for their daughters, who helped him design the layout, and it has been host to many sleepovers over the years.

The treehouse is one of many things Linde built at the couple’s home near White Rock Lake. He also designed the garden after they bought the home 10 years ago, although they kept some of the trees, which were planted along the edge of the property by the older man who sold them the house.

“He planted one tree every year he was here,” Fitzgerald says. “So that’s what we had to work with, was the bones of the trees. It was an overgrown mess. We had to cut some of them down since they’re all fighting for the same amount of sun and water. We’ve done everything ourselves.”

They kept some of the trees in the front yard that shield the house from the street. It gave their girls, who were little at the time, more space to play.

Linde made a driveway out of cinderblocks he cut in half and filled with soil to create something that would be structurally sound but also collect water and allow the trees around it to breathe.

Behind the house, wide windows open up the house to the expansive backyard. There are places to lounge — a fireplace on the porch, a hammock between the trees — but they left the very back part somewhat ungroomed.

“So the kids could kind of run wild,” Fitzgerald points out.

The White Rock East Garden Tour, which features nine gardens in Forest Hills, Little Forest Hills and Casa Linda Estates, is May 15 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 in advance, $15 day of. Learn more online at

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