Simply put, access to the lake was difficult.
One side of the house had a grass ramp leading down past the lower terrace to a planting bed along the back of the yard. From there, another steep grass ramp angled across and down to the space by the dock. Plus, the only way to get to the terrace underneath the deck was to go through the house - there were no steps down from the upper deck.
Our task: Design and build a series of steps and landings for safe and easy-enough-for-your-grandma access to the lake from the front of the house and from the space under the deck.
Also, design a new stairway that could connect the upper deck to the terrace underneath (but not a spiral staircase; to be built by a different craftsmen).
Design solutions: From the front of the house along the side: stone slab steps in ranks divided by gravel landings and built in a slightly curving pattern to avoid the feeling that you could fall headlong down them. A planting bed next to the house to keep it from seeming so massive. A bluestone landing outside the existing terrace for access to the new stairway. A gravel terrace at the bottom by the dock to eliminate mowing grass down there. Lots and lots of stone slab steps and a few new cheek walls.