Well, it's almost spring again and time to start planning for that backyard structure you've been thinking about. At our house, we've been contemplating a gazebo over the patio and are just looking for the perfect design. If you're looking for inspiration for a new backyard improvement, here are three projects from our archives to get your creative juices flowing.

1. This  deck has plenty of ways to inspire.

Dream deck, The Family Handyman, May 2004
Look closely at the plans for this deck and you're sure to find an idea for your backyard. There's a pergola, ground-hugging deck, copper rails and even a stone planter.

2. Do you prefer a classical look?

Classic pergola, The Family Handyman, June 2002
There's plenty to inspire you here! Classical columns with an ingenious mounting system, Roman ogee-shaped beam ends, and a classic design that would look perfect in any backyard.

3. How about a one-day project?

Garden arch, The Family Handyman, May 2008
Even simple projects can make a dramatic impact. This garden arch is easy to build in less than a day. Or you can combine two to create a little pergola.




— Jeff Gorton, Associate Editor