The homeowner is still adamant about adding another type of surface material to the backyard, and because he lives on a lake he's looking for something with a little bit of a nautical theme-hence the deck with wood post and "rope for railing".
With the addition of the deck surface we have the porch surface, the stone steps, and the slate for the paved area out on the small lawn. Thats 4 types of surface and thats at least 1 too many in such a large space. But this is a situation where the homeowner seems to be dug in solid.
It appears that I have been able to persuade them to one set of steps, this allows for better flow of traffic through the backyard and actually saves them money in time and materials. The extra set of steps would have been very expensive in terms of how that cost would relate to the overall budget.
When we agree on how the footprint of the deck will look I will post that here. Its going to come down to how the edge is rounded off or not rounded off. A matter of aesthetics vs. space