I think there is, Mark! My "staging" routime goes like this:
1) Create a subdomain on DreamHost to hold the development site. This can be a "free" dreamhosters.com subdomain (anythingnotyettaken.dreamhosters.com) or a subdomain of the site being deployed (dev1.yournewdomain.tld), or a subdomain or one of your existing domains (newsitedev.yourexistingdomain.tld), etc.
2) Create a database, and a host, to hold the data fro the Joomla! site being developed. You can also use an preciously existing db, as Joomla! allows you to define a prefix for it's tables to avoid conflicts with other tables in a pre-existing database), but since you can have an unlimited number of databases at no additional cost on DreamHost, unless you have a reason to want to put "many sites in one database" for ease of backup or some other reason, I see no reason not to keep it simple and just create a new one.
3) Install Joomla! in that subdomain. Either manually or via the "one-click" installer - either way is fine. I prefer to install Joomla! via the shell using wget and tar because it is really quick and easy. Installing the Joomla! code that will (later) become the "live" site directly opn the server avoid the common problem reliably uploading the ginormous number of files that comprise Joomla! via FTP without error, and assures all your permissions are accurately set for Joomla! operation on DreamHost! (you might want to check out a related thread for more information on that issue).
4) Optionally, protect the "dev" Joomla! installation from public viewing before you are ready via apache authentication and .htaccess
5) Build the site on the server!
Now, when the site is ready to launch, it's a five-minute process (or less!) to rename the dev subdomain directory to the name of the "live" site's web directory, edit a couple of variables in the configuration file, and go "live". No incompatible environment issues, no FTP issues, and you can see the site actually operating as the visitors to the live site will see it before you even launch.
I think that process is just a better way to go at it, but, like with most things, YMMV. Hopefully, if you prefer to develop Joomla! sites on your own machine, some of this response has still been helpful. Good luck with your project(s)!