From the Bookshelf
Simple & Stylish Backyard Projects
By Anna and Anders Jeppsson
(Popular Woodworking Books, $26.99)
Any Day Now – Perhaps Any Moment – Spring Is Just On The Verge Of, Well, Springing
While nature will be handling the botanical refurbishment on a grand scale, you can lend a hand at improving the allure of your own slice of paradise with a few creative undertakings. As presented by family team Anna and Anders Jeppsson, the step-by-step guides found in “Simple & Stylish Backyard Projects” walk readers through woodworking designs that are utilitarian, decorative or both.
The book covers 37 undertakings in an expansive variety of scopes and scales. Nothing says you need to start at the beginning and work your way straight through, though – if you want to try your hand at something small and whimsical like a bird feeder or lantern-like votive box for candles, forge ahead; if you feel up to tackling something more industrious like a garden gate, woodshed or porch deck with privacy fence, specs and directions are available in here as well.
Bear in mind that “simple” is a relative term; it’ll take more than 10 minutes with a claw hammer and some nails to turn a pile of lumber into, say, the sun bed with an adjustable back found on page 66.
The book’s projects are predicated on a familiarity with basic woodworking; you don’t have to have a Nick Offerman level of skill, and there is a section at the back providing extra detail on some concepts like rabbets, cross-laps and radius cuts, but the authors do presume you have access to and can use jigsaws, clamps and other tools.
In this fertile season, spending more time outdoors is a joy in itself. But there’s an extra pleasure in being surrounded by the creative works of your own hands, and undertaking a bit of construction not only results in that sense of accomplishment, but gives you a reason to be outside during the woodworking process – doesn’t that sound like a win-win?