Steps - the beginning.
If I had realized how much work goes into putting in stairs I might not have agreed to having Family Member do it. He and the various family member assistants are doing a great job, but it's a big task and I'd be feeling pretty guilty if he hadn't volunteered to do this of his own free will.
Why is it such a big job? Well, stairs down from the deck have to go somewhere and my yard is small; having them come straight out meant they'd end up somewhere outside the back fence unless they were built really, really steep. Clearly some creative thinking was required here. Thus it was decided that I should have a landing so that the stairs could, so to speak, turn back upon themselves. I lose a little yard, but it was just space that needed mowing anyway, so I'm good with that.
Then there have to be support posts to hold the stairs and landing in place. Since you can't just stick a post up there (there are apparently rules about this kind of thing), holes had to be dug into which the posts went, along with cement to hold them in place. This, I learned, is what they call a "footer." And let me tell you, when it comes to equality between the sexes, men win, hands down, in the "ability to dig deep holes" category.
Those jagged boards you see are called "stringers." They are the forms upon which the actual treads are layed. How do you know how many treads are involved? Math *shudder* The length you need is called the "rise." The average height for "risers" - that is, individual steps - is 7". You can go to a 7 1/4" or higher; but if you need more than a few steps, it's gonna get hard on the legs making the climb. So you divide the length by 7 and you get the number of stairs.
I ended up with 11 steps down to the landing, and another 6 to the ground. So how high up is my deck? You do the math.