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Advantages of An Outdoor Pergola


A pergola is a simple structure that consists of four masonry columns with a roofing grid or lattice of beams and rafters, which may be left open or covered. A pergola is one of the easiest and most eye-catching garden features you can add to your backyard. The sides of a pergola are without walls and the structure can be elevated and built on the first floor of the home.

Pergolas are striking in appearance and their minimalist design is aesthetically pleasing. These structures are usually quite spacious and the space underneath the pergola can lend itself to a variety of uses. If you add a curtain to it, the pergola transforms into a more private area. Or you can install a hot tub or some sectional furniture in it to create a place to relax in.

Although similar to arbors in that they are both outdoor features that are associated with gardens, the pergola is still very distinct from an arbor. Arbors are simple structures that lack the architectural details of a pergola. They are typically smaller than a pergola and often include curved arches on top of them. And unlike the pergola, they are not attached to the house.

A pergola is also not a gazebo or a carport. Pergolas have open roofs which may also be covered. But gazebos are always sheltered. Gazebos usually have raised floors and may be rounded in shape. But pergolas are always rectangular. Of course, pergolas are also different from carports, since the latter is solely designed to serve as a makeshift garage.

What are the benefits of adding this simple but elegant garden feature to your yard?

1. It extends your living space

A pergola allows you to take your living space outdoors by giving you an outside space where you can do many of your indoor activities while being sheltered from the sun. A pergola that is correctly oriented to the sun’s movements can cast enough light shade to let you enjoy the outdoors during a warm afternoon. You may also add a retractable shade to the structure.

2. Maximize your backyard and define the space
Pergolas are highly versatile; with a few extra bits of furniture, you can make the area into a place for doing a lot of different things. Although you can also do the same with a patio or deck, the pergola has the distinct advantage of being a free-standing structure. You can build it out in the yard, or attach it to the building.

3. Create a lovely space for entertaining

The unique form and structures of a pergola mean that it offers good support for hanging things like speakers, strings of light, fabrics, ceiling fans, and chandeliers. This allows you to easily turn the area into a venue for chilling out and entertaining friends and family. The outdoor ambiance that a pergola introduces to gatherings makes them even more enjoyable.

4. Free-standing design element
The fact that a pergola can be free-standing gives you a lot of flexibility in where to build the structure. Unlike a deck or patio, you are not bound to build it next to your house and you can choose a location in the yard that offers the most advantage. Additionally, being free-standing means that a pergola creates more visual interest as visitors’ eyes are automatically drawn to the structure.

5. Lets you create an outdoor private area
Rather than a structure that is permanently enclosed or an additional privacy fence in your property, pergolas let you have both an open and a private outdoor area. By adding drapes, screens, or latticework to the sides of the pergola, you can shield it from the prying eyes of passersby and neighbors. You may also use it to block parts of your yard from view.

6. Pergolas add charm and space to your garden

You can extend the planting space in your garden by using the structures of the pergola as supports for potted plants. You may also plant vines and climbing plants around the pergola, making the structure into a trellis. This creates a natural wall or ceiling for the pergola; adding more shade and privacy.

7.    Increases the home’s value

Outdoor features naturally make a home more attractive and improve its value, says Bighorn Rentals. Adding a pergola to the backyard is one of the best ways to do this because the structure is minimalist and does not alter the yard radically. Yet, at the same time, its design is so distinct that it is invariably one of the first features to win prospective buyers’ hearts.

8. They are affordable

Despite of all the value that they bring to a property and the lives of its owners, pergolas are highly affordable. Although the cost of installing one will depend on the size of the structure and the materials used, they are usually cheaper than other features you can add to your home’s yard.

There you have it, 8 advantages of having an outdoor pergola.

Composite quality


When asked for a price difference for low grade, medium grade, and high grade quality composite materials you would expect to get 3 different quotes. Sadly there really isn’t much difference in them. The materials they are made with are different, although most all the products are offering the same warranty period for them. If they want to sell and stay in business they have to offer about the same warranty. The difference in price comparison comes from popular choices. Different manufactures offer different color shades based on their prior sales, or anticipated ideas of what is gonna sell. As some fade out and don’t sell well they phase those colors out and discontinue them. So often the manufacture I use to supply composite decking is based on a color choice by the customer. I like to have multiple brands to try and get you the color or close to the color you are wanting.




Job is considered by many to be the earliest-written book in the Bible. Yet here in Chapter 19, Job has a “special” revelation from the Lord that is the MOST CLEAR teaching in the Old Testament on a bodily & personal resurrection for those who trust in God.

Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets – none of them communicated as clearly as Job does here about their understanding of life after death. In the midst of Job’s failure God reveals to Job that he would one day see God with his own eyes! His personality and spirit will continue beyond death and one day in his resurrected flesh, Job WILL see God.

This incredible revelation went against the current spiritual and scientific thinking in the Middle East. I am encouraged by Job’s experience — we have SPECIAL permission to ask God WHEN we are going through massive failures: “…God give me a special and high-quality revelation through this failure…”

In business we all have failures; I have had many failures among the 25+ mid-size businesses that PRI has started or acquired in China and Central Asia in the last 25+ years. The primary reasons for failures include poor business & personnel judgment by our leadership (including me), some significant changes in external market & technology conditions, some just plain evil done by others, etc.

From these failures I’ve gone to the Lord and asked Him, not just one time but many times, to specifically and explicitly teach and reveal to me what I can learn from these failures.

Looking back over the past couple decades (overall very profitable both financially and spiritually with fruit among unreached cities and peoples), I have learned more from the failures than from the successes.

During the failures and immediately afterwards, I’ve learned more of God and His eternal truths, because God seems to have a special heart for those who are suffering through failures and desires to reveal Himself during these humbling and difficult times. God comforted and blessed Job (and me) with special insights & revelations of Himself and His character and His will.

Dwight Nordstrom is the Chairman of PRI Management Consulting in Beijing, China.

Paying a contractor


What should you pay a contractor?

It really amazed me to see what some people think they should pay a contractor. The times have changed. The price at which a contractor performs work has also change.

Some beleive that a contractor should charge a 20% upcharge for his work. This means that if you have $1000 in materials than the contractor should charge $200 for labor. On certain things this might be true. Although if you are building a deck for that price, a contractor has overhead.

In a normal job the contractor must go out and look at the job. Bid the job. Possibly go back and pick up a check for materials. Go pick up materials, and deliver to the job site. Perform specified work. And finally submit bill for finished work.

Often times I can have 5-10 hours invested into bidding a job. By the time I drive to location to look at job, drive home, sit at computer and figure materials and cost, and this is just for a bid. Then the time I take to go get materials and deliver, get my crew prepped for job at hand and the fuel I use.

Any contractor that bids a job on 20% upcharge is setting himself for failure. This contractor isn’t making profits, or often times even covering cost. This is a contractor that isn’t able to ensure he will be in business long enough to finish the job let alone warranty it.

Most free Lance contractors will charge at least a 50% labor. Even at this price you are not covering much to keep the business alive. A good contractor who is reputable and will be in business to warranty your product is most likely gonna double the material cost to get labor cost. So a deck with $1000 material is gonna cost somewhere around $2000 total.

Now keep in mind if I have $1500 worth of railing that will take 2 hours to install, I would be a fool to charge you $750 in labor for that. On that job I would need an hourly rate with an estimate of time. At $75 a man hour, with 2 man crew, and 2 hour install, it would cost $300 to put up that railing.

All contractors want to give you the cheapest bid we can so that we get work. Knowing your expenses and wanting to stay in business to warranty your product means not underbidding just to get work. If a contractor sounds unreasonable cheap, he probably won’t stay in business long. Remember you get what you pay for. If you are constantly searching for the cheapest bid, you are gonna get the contractors who will be out of business soon, and their work will show it. Most of these are in a hurry to get done, and get to the next one because they really aren’t making money. This gives crappy quality work, and drives the price down for anyone else who wants to give you quality work, and stay in business to warranty your product, and future business with you.

Hope this helps with choosing someone to do your work.

God bless and be safe

Contractor (what is it)


As our country evolves we are seeing a shift. This shift is employees are being hired less, and contractors are being hired more. So what is a contractor? A contractor is a person who has a contract with a company to do the work and get paid a fee for the work that is done. A contractor must provide their own liability insurance, vehicle insurance, work comp insurance, and sometimes the contract requires few other options. A contractor pays their own health insurance, and receives no vacation or sick leave. If a contractor does not go to work for the day he/she does not get paid. A contractor pays their own social security tax, Medicare tax, and is not able to draw unemployment. A contractor will also be charged a self employment tax by the IRS for so called being self employed. Now all this sounds like a lot, so why would anyone want to be a contractor instead of an employee. Well the employee who gets paid $15 an hour to do the same job I am doing as a contractor gets all those benefits and 40 hours a week to make a $35000 year salary if lucky. As a contractor you will get paid what is called piece pay. This means each time you do the work you get so much for the job. If you are slow you will not make good money. If you are fast and can repeat the job multiple times you make good money. The same $15 an hour job I make $125000 for the year. Yes I pay out all that stuff, but I also get to do tax write offs for milage driven, office supplies, ect, ect.. When it’s all said and done that same $15 an hour job is worth about $65-75000 for the year as a contractor. Now this is on the smaller end for someone with no education. You take someone who has college degree position and contract it out, and it might be worth 3 times the amount of a labor position. Hope this provides a little insight. Check back later for more on being a contractor.

If your interested here is a position that would fall under contract labor and pays nicely, and can be done from your home


Building a shed


Have you ever wanted to build your own shed, but think it’s to difficult? Do you think it would take a professional carpenter to build a shed? Most people tend to feel this frustrating. So they turn to a company like Tuff She’d to build them one professionally. There isn’t anything wrong with that if you have the money to do so. Although even built by pros has mistakes and flaws in it. The pros just know how to correct the flaws as they come across them. What if you could get exact plans, and directions with 3d pictures so you could build like a pro. What if it was so good that when your done your friends and family would bet money that you hired a master carpenter. I can give you exactly what you need. Look no further than here, and get exactly the plans, details, pictures, and help you need. Check it out.



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