Most deck contractors are very capable of building a sturdy and attractive deck; however some are definitely more skilled at designing a deck than others. Deck design can be quite complicated (link to design articles). Each individual approaches design from a different background and using their own methods and techniques. A good design begins with a trip to the site and an interview with you to establish your needs and wants. Try to keep an open mind to their ideas and give them your full attention. Decks should never be designed over the phone or without a site visit. Once the contractor presents you with a deck design it is your job to ask yourself a few simple questions. Does the design make sense to you? Will it meet your needs and expectations? How does it compare to your other designs? Having a couple of competing designs to compare with one another should help make your decision easier. You will want to be completely comfortable with the design before moving forward. Bring up any concerns now. Making changes at a later date can mean added costs, delay to the project’s scheduling and can otherwise complicate matters.