Hardest thing we did: Nothing was terribly hard but sometimes it's the spatial things that cause head scratching--like digging 12 holes for concrete footings that actually line up. A few stick out a bit, but the Hostas help hide bad aim.
What we learned: When harvesting and preparing wood, stack and stick it out of the sun and off the ground. Paint the ends to minimize checking, and regularly turn the hardwoods, so they don't warp. Cut lots more than you think you'll need; there’s plenty of waste from milling. The upside: We have enough slab firewood for many years!
Leave it to a pro: We left it to the pros to saw out the lumber, and used our local planner mill to finish the boards. Maybe Santa will leave a bench planer under the tree this year.
Personal touch: The screen doors started off as money saving, but ended up being a focal point with the cutouts. We love our dogs and our land, and spend many nights outside star gazing. So the trees, the star, and the pup howling at the moon, cut with a band saw, reflect us and our life.