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Outdoor Furniture, Christopher Schwarz, woodworking, home improvement, gardening, garden bench, garden swing, picnic tableI am eagerly awaiting 6:45 p.m. today, March 20. Yes, because it’s a Friday, but for a more important reason: at that moment, spring officially arrives in the northern hemisphere. Right now my backyard is a soggy, muddy mess, with everything that was hidden under the snow finally revealed. There are sticks and branches, part of a tarp that blew off a stack of yard chairs, chewed up dog toys, and uh, weeks of …”leavings” from our dogs. (So glad the cold preserved that.)

All in all, it’s looking pretty bleak out there. However, the temperatures aren’t deadly, the grass looks like it will be OK, and I’m already thinking about growing vegetables, napping in my hammock and grilling. That’s why I was happy to get the assignment of editing our latest digital magazine, Outdoor Furniture, with eight great projects and advice from our archives – all for only $3.99.

In “All-weather Morris Chair,” David Thiel shows how you can add this Craftsman classic to your outdoor collection. Made with pine and finished with paint, you can make one of these adjustable Morris chairs in just a day. David also builds a “Garden Swing,” an easy-to-build project with something extra: its center section pops up to form a built-in table.

Christopher Schwarz combines form and function with an Arts & Crafts-style garden bench, with plenty of room inside for your hoses and garden tools; builds a birdhouse based on a Marples jack plane large enough to look right on a fence or over a door; and combines five 2x4s and a few screws to create a “Japanese Garden Bench” perfect to look over your array of new outdoor projects.

In cold climes, it can be a long wait to begin planting. A “Seedling Shelter” – complete with a temperature-activated window opener – can help give your seedlings a jump on the season.

“A Picnic of a Build” shows you a classic picnic table that can be made in a day – but looks so nice you might consider it for indoor duties.

Another great project is a “Folding Plant Stand” made with less than one sheet of plywood that sets up and breaks down in seconds.

You’ve built it, so how do you preserve your new outdoor project from the elements? Finishing expert Bob Flexner tells you what you need to know in “Choosing an Exterior Coating.”

Your yard (and neighbors) will thank you. And just think – summer will be here soon, at 12:38 p.m. June 21!

–Michael Wallace

Buy the magazine here

Outdoor Furniture, Christopher Schwarz, woodworking, home improvement, gardening, garden bench, garden swing, picnic table

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