BOSTON — As new homeowners, my wife and I have begun the never-ending task of home improvement. On this quest for a better dwelling I have sought out the knowledge of those who have gone before. I have bought books and watched television programs. If you broke into my house right now and turn on my TV, it will probably be tuned to the Home and Garden channel. (That's not an invitation, just take my word.)
The Internet has now become one of my most trusted guides. Not only because the Web provides free information, but because in many cases it can provide specific information on the project of interest. When considering putting in a concrete sidewalk, I purchased a how-to book for about $10. The very same type of project was found on the Lowes' Web site along with other types of sidewalks.
When we built our home, we considered a 4-foot stone retaining wall. With a cost of about $3,000 (from the professionals), we then considered how many friends we could find to help build one. All the information I needed was at a Web site provided by Popular Mechanics magazine. There were excellent illustrations of every step. This site allowed me to gauge the complexity of the project. When it was finished, my two brothers and a friend carved our initials under the last stone.
After looking at what it took to put in our garage-door openers, however, we opted to have them professionally installed.
Here is an amateur handyman's guide to favorite sites:
* Popular Mechanics
* Better Homes and Gardens