My first plan was for two wooden platforms leading down to a large slate patio. But when we consulted with the experts, we learned that natural slate is beyond my budget and not very practical either. Now we've come up with a revised design using stone-like pavers on two levels and a granite wall. The new design eliminates the wooden platforms (and the maintenance) altogether. This is a boon! The other good thing from Harry's point of view is that he won't have to build the new wooden platforms.
We're going ahead with the design and over the weekend we prepared by removing everything from the deck...
and today the workers arrived to dismantle it. Here's what it looks like tonight after removing the deck and breaking out a couple of little concrete areas. It's very bare and utilitarian looking right now. (Not at all like Provence!)
Those little temporary steps are the way we get in and out for now. My dear dogs are having some trouble adapting to this change. They stand at the back door and look hesitant, then they go carefully outside. Maggie (the princess) doesn't like standing on the gravel at all and stands way out on the grass waiting for the door to open.
Tomorrow they'll bring in the excavator and begin the real work. It should be done in about ten days. I hope it looks as nice as it did in my fantasy!