Those who live in the country often dream of having a deck. It’s a place to entertain and be with family and friends on nice summer evenings. It allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy life.

If you are going for a dream deck, don’t build it yourself! Your idea of what looks great may not match your contractor’s interpretation of your vision, no matter how clearly you communicate your ideas. In addition, it would take months to complete, eat up budget dollars and leave both the builder and homeowner frustrated at times—which is never good when trying to get anything done, especially something as important as building a deck!

Here is an example: One client wanted an oversized covered porch enclosed in glass doors that could be opened up for entertaining, have a raised ceiling and be screened. The basic design took five to six months and $140,000 to complete. This was not the vision they had when they started discussing an outdoor living space as part of their home’s renovation even though some elements of what was ultimately built were discussed earlier.

Their contractor suggested doing all the work in phases over two-to-three years with a lower budget. A separate “dream deck” construction contract would need to be negotiated for future phases; otherwise price overruns could occur expensively if new changes came about while building.

We don’t recommend trying to build your dream deck on your own unless you are extremely handy with wood and a lot of time on your handsand you don’t mind delays. Also, remember that there is no way to build a deck for $10,000 (the budget most people say they have). You can spend as little as $6,800 or as much as $30,000 and still not get what you want. Here’s why:

First of all, when you are attempting to build a dream deck on your own, unless you are very experienced in building decks, it will take several months to research the project and select just the right lumber and railing materials—if you even know how to go about doing this correctly. Be sure that the railing contractor has experience with exterior wood because there are many requirements that aren’t included in standard codes.

In addition, you will need to figure out how much lumber you will need and order it. Then the building process begins, which could take several days if you have the right crew. If not, you will be on-site everyday to ensure that things are getting done correctly!

The lumber needs to be delivered from an off-site mill or lumber yard, then stacked properly, covered for protection and left until work can begin. The amount of time needed depends on whether a crew is hired to stack the materials or if you decide to do it yourself. While working with wood is fun at times, remember that taking down stacks of lumber and carefully restacking them when work starts can be very tedious and time consuming.