I knew spring was here when I started checking out “deck” books to library patrons. Yes, you can call it “Ski Country,” but look around — it is also definitely “Deck Country.” The South may have its porch with a swing, but in the West, it’s a deck (or as Billy Connolly calls it, a perch) with views, barbecues and Adirondack chairs. If you brought your morning coffee out to sit on the deck and realized that you didn’t have one, or it desperately needed repair, maybe a trip to your local library is in order.
If you are just beginning your deck, Black & Decker has put out “The Complete Guide to Decks,” and it includes a dozen detailed deck plans. Each and every one of the 350 pages has colored photos and details that are better than YouTube. There is also a section on “Accessories” that add to the look of your deck, such as planters and benches. If your deck has been buried under snow for about nine months, you may want to check out the “Maintenance” section. Some other very new guides are “Building Decks,” from the editors of “Fine Homebuilding,” and “The Ultimate Guide: Decks, Plan, Design and Build,” by Creative Homeowner. Better Homes and Gardens’ “Deck & Patio Design Guide” is full of beautiful ideas for spending your time outdoors. Better Homes and Gardens also has many other publications, such as “Complete Decks” and one simply named “Decks.” Our Summit County library offers a huge selection of books to help you plan your deck or just dream about your outdoor retreat.
Another informational resource is found in the library magazine collection. “The Family Handyman” is an excellent reference for all of your summer projects. The June issue is a “Home Repair Special.” Other helpful magazines are” Custom Home,” “Fine Woodworking” and, of course, “Better Homes and Gardens.” The library stores all periodicals for five years, and they are available to check out.
If you are moving beyond decks, there are great books such as “Outdoor Projects” for ideas about walkways, fences, sheds and gazebos. Of course, the library can cover landscape projects, too. “Outside the Not So Big House” has an interesting chapter called “Crafting the Elements of Nature.”
Any time there are big building plans going on, or even smaller projects, referring to “The Complete Book of Home Inspection” might be helpful. A general book on projects, “The Handbuilt Home,” has, in addition to 34 projects, a list of 10 reasons to do it yourself. My favorite is “DIY is wallet friendly. It keeps you fit, and it’s rewarding.”
Perusing the project books at the library can be fun. If you come away with a plan, it’s even better. Once the deck is built or fixed up with a new bench, you can sit back and enjoy. As James Dent said, “A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing and the lawn mower is broken.”