Building (or rebuilding) a lakeside deck often comes with unique challenges, from navigating tricky watershed zoning regulations and changing water levels to working on a steeply sloped site. A recent project on Washington’s Offutt Lake, a small body of water about 15 miles south of Olympia, had all of these, along with a huge stump, which couldn’t be easily removed, lurking beneath the existing deck.

The homeowners wanted to expand and modernize the outdoor living space surrounding their 1970s vintage home. They also wanted to open up their views of the nearby lake, which were partially blocked by the solid porch railing enclosing the deck on all levels.

With about 20 feet of elevation difference between the driveway entry level at the back of the house and the water level in front, my goal for the project was to provide a functional outdoor living space that wrapped around three sides of the house. To avoid overly long runs of stairs, I tried to minimize changes in elevation from level to level.

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