We built a little deck on the west side of the house to transition from the house to the lawn because the elevation of the lawn is too high to be brought directly up to the house. The deck is 6' deep by 19' wide and is made of 1" thick smooth planed cedar planks that have been stained/sealed with a deck product from Daly's. We're really happy with our new deck! It might eventually get a hot tub.
We dug out an area on the west side of the house and built a small retaining wall.
Then we installed a beam right next to the wall and a ledger on the house.
Next, we installed the joists as well as two layers of 2x4's on top of that. We did this so that we could mount the ledger lower on the house where the fascia was because we didn't want to have to remove siding (which we would have had to do if we mounted the ledger higher. The additional 2x4 layers brought the deck up to its finish height and allowed for a floating effect.
Here's the deck after it has been stained/sealed, but before the final fascia wrap.
Here's the deck stain after a couple of days.
Here's the deck with the final fascia wrap. The step is freestanding and can be moved if necessary (i.e. for lawn mowing).
We also added some door stops/catches. These will save the siding from getting hit by the door handles on the French doors.