Decorating Your Pergola for the Holidays

The Best Material for Deck Building in Central TexasYou might not think of making much use of your pergola this winter. While a pergola provides the perfect combination of shade and fresh air in spring and summer, winter tends to be a season for staying indoors. The idea of sitting under pergola in December, even in Texas, just doesn’t sound as good as curling up on the couch. But just because temperatures are starting to drop in College Station doesn’t mean your pergola should go to waste. In fact, it can be the perfect canvas for one of the most fun parts of the season: holiday decoration. Even if you stay inside this holiday season, decking the pergola with boughs of holly can give you something cheerful to view from the window. Here are some of the ways you can decorate your pergola this year:

Lights and Tinsel

The shape and structure of your pergola makes it the perfect place to string lights or tinsel. You can run Christmas lights along the beams or just let them fall in a graceful sheet hanging from the roof. Wrap some garland along the cedar legs or pin the tinsel to a deep red bow in the front center of the pergola. You can even combine the two, wrapping the lights around the tinsel that wraps around the pergola. It’s a simple decoration as most of us have a surplus of lights and tinsel tucked away in storage somewhere, but it can transform your pergola from a summer oasis to a slice of Christmas cheer. Hang a wreath here and there just to add to the feeling. Even on colder nights, your pergola might look so inviting that you won’t be able to help slipping out there for a bit with a wool cap and a cup of hot chocolate.

Holiday Focal Pieces

If your family room is tight on space, you can always move the Christmas tree out to the pergola. A well decorated Christmas tree on its own can transform the look of your pergola. Imagine how much better your Christmas tree will look in a pergola that’s already decked out for the big day. This is a great way to switch up a tradition that might have gotten a little stale for your family. If you’re religious, the pergola is also a great place to put a nativity scene or some hand-crafted Hanukkah decorations. For more general holiday decor, you could place poinsettias at the corners of the pergola or a large, light-filled yard display snowman. There are multiple holidays that can be celebrated in December, and your pergola is the perfect place to decorate for all of them.

Keep Warm

If your pergola is so beautifully decorated that you find yourself wanting to spend time there, despite the weather, keep things cozy with a fire pit. You can gather around with your family and roast marshmallows (or, of course, chestnuts), sing your favorite carols and talk about your favorite parts of the season. A fire pit will not only keep your pergola comfortable in winter, but it will add to that wonderful warm sweater feeling that so often comes with the holidays.

This season, we at Windham Construction hope you have a wonderful holiday season. If you want your own pergola to decorate for the holidays, or simply to enjoy at any time of year, contact us today. Our family has been serving Brazos Valley’s construction needs for over 20 years, whether those needs are deck or pergola construction or interior remodeling. We’d love to explain what we can do for your home this season or any time of year.

Father’s Day Gift Idea

Father’s Day is coming soon and that got me thinking about unique Father’s Day gifts. With all that dads tend to do around the house, even if they aren’t so handy, it’s nice to give them a break from time to time. Why not give your dad the gift of checking off some of the work on his “honey do” list?

You can volunteer to do some of the work for him, or you could hire a professional. Here are some services that will take some of the load off of your dad.


While your dad is probably fully capable of buying paint and using a paintbrush, painting is time consuming. Also, what if the color he buys isn’t exactly what he pictured for the room?  If you hire professional painters, they can bring samples so you see what the actual color will be.

Hiring professionals to do the painting for you is especially helpful if there are high walls or if there’s wallpaper that needs to be removed first.

Deck Building

Building a deck looks easy enough. The problem is that it’s a lot of work for one person and getting it right may be more complicated than it seems. If your dad has been wanting to build a deck, you could surprise him with a crew of professionals willing to do the work for him. Your dad can sit back and relax while they do all the work. When they’re done, you’ll have a delightful place for family barbeques.

We’re located in College Station, Texas. Out here, our summers can be a bit harsh. If you hire a professional builder, he can tell you your options for building a deck that can endure the worst weather Texas can throw at it.


An arbor is another job your dad may be considering, but just hasn’t gotten around to doing yet. While an arbor may look even easier to build than a deck, it requires precision to get it right. Also, it requires some climbing on ladders and a lot of lifting. Save your dad’s back by hiring professionals to do the work for him.

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodels

If your dad is handy, he may be able to remodel a kitchen on his own. However, there’s a lot of heavy lifting involved. Also, a lot of different skill sets are needed. How much easier and faster would it be for a professional crew to handle?  Your dad’s new kitchen will be ready a lot sooner if you send in some help.

Bathroom remodels may seem easier than kitchens, but there’s still a lot of time consuming work. If you hire professionals to do the work for your dad, he’ll have a functioning and beautiful new bathroom in no time.

Sure, your dad may be able to do the work himself, but doesn’t he deserve a little time off?  Hiring a service to take some of the work load could be the perfect Father’s Day gift for your dad.

Common Mistakes When Building a Gazebo

Common Mistakes When Building a GazeboHere in Brazos Valley, the weather is great for most of the year so having an outdoor space like a gazebo makes sense. However, when starting any new construction project, it’s important to make sure you’ve got a good set of plans.  Every aspect down to the correct hardware needs to be considered.  Here are some common mistakes you can make when building your own gazebo.

Buying the wrong materials

If you have good plans make sure you follow them exactly, even when it comes to the type and thickness of the wood you’re using. Don’t substitute one kind of wood for another unless you’re certain it will turn out the same. Not all wood is the same strength so if the plans call for a particular type of board, think twice before making a substitution.

Another thing to consider is getting the correct hardware. While two different screws might look basically the same, remember that plans call for certain types of hardware because they’re better for the job. Using screws and nails that are too short and fasteners that are too weak could reduce the integrity of the gazebo you’re building.

Failing to get a permit

Depending on where you live, adding a structure to your yard could require a permit. Even if you get a permit from the city you may need to think about getting permission to build from your HOA. When getting a permit, make sure you have good plans and are prepared for a possible inspection. When getting approval from your HOA, read your HOA rules first to make sure the building complies. Then, submit the plans for the gazebo to the appropriate committee, usually the architectural committee.

Taking on more than you can handle

When you try to DIY a project you may not have considered all of the work involved and the tools required to get it done right. Hiring an experienced builder will ensure that your project will be completed correctly and with the right tools. It’s better to have a builder from the start than hiring a builder to fix your mistakes. However, it’s never too late to call a professional for some help with any DIY project.

Crooked boards

While boards that aren’t laid properly may still be structurally sound, they detract from the appearance of your gazebo. An experienced builder won’t make that mistake. When you hire a builder to do the work, you can be sure that whatever pattern you’ve chosen for the floorboards will be executed properly.

If you hire an experienced professional, these problems can be avoided. Your builder will use the right materials, get permits, and install the floor boards in a correct and attractive fashion. While you may be able to build a gazebo yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional if you run into some problems. You don’t just want a completed gazebo, you want a gazebo that is built correctly the first time. That way you can get enjoyment from it for years to come.

Create an Oasis With Outdoor Pools, Patios and Pergolas

Oasis With Outdoor Pools, Patios and PergolasThe living space outside your home is just as beneficial to you and your family’s comfort as the indoor areas are. Outdoor entertaining and relaxation are very important in our hot. Installing unique outdoor pools, patios, pergolas and other external features can help turn a normal expanse of lawn into a true oasis of tranquility and fun.

For many homeowners, enjoying the backyard in the hot summer months begins with a sparkling blue swimming pool. Considering the exterior style of your home, you can select from many different pool shapes and sizes to suit the overall look of your property. If your house is a very traditional brick façade with columns, a rectangular pool etched in a wide brick and cement patio might match your taste. If you have a home that features natural stone and wood beams, a more free-form pool surrounded by rocks and plantings may be more your style.

Outdoor Entertaining

No matter what shape and size of pool you have installed, what really adds to the enjoyment of the area is all the hardscaping and structures you have built around it. After all, a pool is not just for swimming in. You may also want to entertain poolside or relax on patio lounge chairs and invite friends over for a pool party – complete with an outdoor kitchen.

The area directly surrounding the pool should be covered with a solid flooring such as cement, stone or brick. Some also use wood decking to form the platform for chairs, tables and walkways. The solid surface gives you not only a place to gather and relax but also increases pool safety.

Once you have made the decision about what material will surround the swimming pool, it is time to consider your comfort and enjoyment of the area more closely. Although most people purchase tables and umbrellas to provide some shade, a physical structure built into the landscape scheme will cause less problems in the long run. After all, it won’t blow over when you’re trying to eat and it will last much longer by resisting damage and wear.

If you have a large property and room in the budget, you may want to consider having a pool house built to give you and your guests a convenient place to change and to rest out of the sun. Some prefer a quaint gazebo complete with benches around the outer edge. A straight roof over an outdoor cooking area can provide even more benefits. If your family enjoys uninterrupted entertaining and barbecues, this will allow the grill to continue cooking and also protect guests should the weather deteriorate.

Another structure that can provide some shade and relief from the direct sun is a pergola. These do not have solid roofs but, instead, feature a sturdy structure with vertical wooden boards across the top to provide partial sunshade. These can be left as is, may be covered with a cloth or curtains or have a vine grown up them to provide more shade and beauty in the long run.

Isn’t it time to build your perfect backyard oasis? Outdoor entertainment, fun and relaxation are only a few steps away. Please call us today to discuss these and other options for your outdoor space.

Style Ideas for a Multi-Level Deck in Your Backyard

Ideas for a Multi-Level Deck in Your Backyard

If you want to improve the look and function of your backyard, I’m convinced that nothing beats a deck. These have been popular for decades as places to relax after a day’s work and entertain friends on the weekends. A single-level deck provides a sturdy floor to do that, but a multi-level deck increases use even more. Before finalizing plans with your deck builder in College Station, TX, I would like for you to consider everything a multi-level deck has to offer.

Multi-Level Deck Perfect for Sloping Back Yards

If you have a backyard that changes elevation at all, a multi-tier deck is practically essential. If you have a flat deck installed, there will be open, wasted space underneath. While I’m aware this could be covered with boards or lattice, it would still not be as attractive as another section of usable deck.

Start with a level of decking next to the house for easy access through a sliding glass door or another exit. Wide stairs can invite people to step down to the lower level and, then, on to the grass of the backyard to explore the gardens.

Separate the Private Deck from the Party Deck

This style idea is most used when there are both upstairs and downstairs decks on the back of the house. Many people enjoy having an outdoor spot right next to the master bedroom for early morning relaxation and late-night star watching. You may not want your friends and family to head up there during a barbecue, however.

Gated stairs can separate the upper tier from the lower tier in an attractive way that also improves safety if small children are present. This does not affect the style of the cohesive deck system.

Incorporate Pools, Hot Tubs, Pergolas and Gazebos

Backyard pools and hot tubs are often installed near the house and have their own deck, paving or stone surrounds. If you have a deck built at the back of your house, I would recommend extending it to go around the water feature as well. It not only gives a more unified look to the backyard but also makes using the pool or hot tub easier and more accessible.

These same rules apply to any gazebo or pergola you have in your yard. Whether your deck is one level or multi-tier, these additions make it so much nicer. In the hot Texas summers, having a spot of shade and more seating is always welcome for family and friends.

A gazebo could be built either below the level of the regular deck or above it. Pergolas frequently extend directly from the home’s roof line so they would be on the top tier of a multi-level deck setup. Sunrooms and screened porches are other options for us to consider.

Whether you love to entertain tons of family and friends with Texas-style barbecues all summer long or simply want more space to enjoy quiet moments outside, multi-level decks are great options. With the right style, they can give you plenty of room for any activity and improve the overall style of your home’s exterior.