Rather than building a deck that just sits out in the backyard somewhere, I like to provide visual continuity with the house and landscaping - whether that's trees, boulders, elevation changes, or views - so they all tie in together. When I first look at a potential project, I usually provide the owner with several different sketches depicting shapes, styles, and especially ways the deck can blend in with the surroundings. Homeowners are pleased with this, and it's part of the creative process that I thoroughly enjoy. • Bill Bolton is the owner of DeckCreations in Santa Barbara, Calif.