Got some time this weekend? How about building a gazebo in the backyard?
You could start by designing your own with a great little tool at http://www.diyonline.com.
This 4-month-old site developed by two home improvement software executives is a do-it-yourselfer's confidence builder. It includes design tools for 20 home projects, including the gazebo, a coffee table, a deck, a workbench and a sprinkler system.
Once you create a design (and sign in to the site--it's free), you submit the design and get back specifications, a three-dimensional view, a materials shopping list, estimated cost and a how-to checklist.
The site also includes some key calculators that can help you estimate how much tile you need for a suspended ceiling, how much concrete you will need for a patio and how much wallpaper to buy for papering a room.
The site clearly shows the hand of software experts. You can bookmark those tips and design tools you want to go back to, as well as contact the Tucson-based site operators to report a problem with the site or get a question answered. The site also contains a number of offbeat but interesting articles, such as the history of wallpaper and the real financial payback of landscaping improvements.