Ingersoll444 was in inquiring about deck ideas, so I thought I'd add this.
Here's some pics of a deck that I built in 1991 that I just scanned.
I had french doors professionally installed in place of a window for access out of my dining room. I had the contractor install a ledger board down the side of the house so I could attach a deck.
I did all of the work myself, except for a couple of friends that helped on digging and pouring the piers, and also to set some joists.
I used a book to get basic deck construction techniques, and designed the deck myself. I spent hours thinking and drawing, but it paid off.
The raised flower bed was over a little storage area underneath. The flower bed was lined with plastic that was perforated directly over some PVC pipe that was ripped in half. It actually worked!. Don't know how well it held up, as I moved about 4 years after I built the deck.
The benches and the raised flower bed/storage area took the longest, as I kept changing my mind and did a lot of changes on the fly. The whole thing took a week of vacation, and working every evening possible after work for about a month! But I'm a pretty slow carpenter.