Decked Out in Art Decko

     As the weather warms, lots of people head outside. And with finances limiting what we can do and where we go, the backyard looks better and better. Or does it?  If your house could use some help before you start entertaining al fresco, try some of these outstanding books available from the Jackson District Library.
     The first great book by Heidi King is for dreaming and includes a great opening section on making the distinction between a deck and a patio. Design ideas for decks & patios will help you plan your backyard project. The beautiful examples show many possibilities and combinations.
    Grounds for improvement: 40 great landscaping & gardening projects
from diy network has some fantastic up-to-date projects that could quickly change the look of existing structures. Examples include screening in an open porch, installing a waterfall, adding a raised walled garden bed. The gorgeous photos and easy instructions add up to an exceptional book.
    Backyard idea book by Lee Ann White is not a how-to but rather just what it claims—a superb group of photos and suggestions. There are unique options in here such as recreational areas or outdoor kitchens as well as studios and greenhouses. A bestseller and a frequent library checkout, this one has a wide variety of styles to copy.
    Calling itself the ultimate sourcebook for designs, materials, and inspiration, 1001 ideas for decks by Joe Provey is a full range of information tool. It covers both aesthetics and the practicalities, including materials, safety, and codes. With many unusual ideas and photos along with exceptionally well-written instructions, this book might be the single source you need.
    Hardscaping: high style, low maintenance outdoor spaces by Haig Seferian is the best book in the list for ideas dealing with rock and stone or brick—wood,too.  There is such a range of materials and patterns utilized that everyone will find something in this book that they love. For the person who knows what they want to do and now wants the instructions, How to build paths, steps & footbridges by Peter Jeswald doesn’t miss a step nor a stone. It covers every aspect from tools to materials to installation and inclines.
    Somewhere in here or in one of the many, many other outdoor living books at our thirteen library branches, you will find the plan that suits you best. When complete, invite the family out to view it and tell them, “Ha! Decked you!” Just make sure the water guns are still put up in winter storage.