Summer. Finally. It's here "¦ almost.

Summer doesn't officially rear its sunny head in the United States and the rest of the northern hemisphere until Summer Solstice, the day of the year when the Sun is farthest north.That will happen bright and early June 21.

And though thousands will gather at England's giant rock-circled Stonehenge to welcome the sunrise and praise Mother Nature, most of us will be spending the first day of the firefly season — and most days after — closer to home, tethered by a still-wobbly economy.

But cheer up. There's much to recommend "the backyard" this season as evidenced in this issue.

Even if a luxe pavilion, pool house or summer pergola like those featured from local architects and designers on page 22 isn't in your crystal ball, we have other offerings to increase your backyard happiness quotient.

Water gardens are increasing in popularity and Todd Allison will tell you how to go about planning one on page 27.

Nothing could be simpler than gardening in containers and Tom Smith of Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum is on page 16 to get your green thumb twitching.

And if your outdoor furniture needs a little TLC we have the before-after solution on page10 or tips on buying new pieces on page 12.

We also have the story of one man's story on building a LEED certified home and a look at one of the most prevalent architectural home styles around town, the Tudor Revival.

So set your alarm for 7:28 a.m. on June 21, grab a cup of Joe and toss out the welcome mat for Summer.

Make yourself at home,

Joy W. Kraft