My husband, myself and our neighbour put this beauty together. We ripped out the old, dangerous one, and after reinforcing the spongy joists (a somewhat unexpected find), replaced the 30 year old crap deck with a properly built one with the proper materials. (the former one was really built out of whatever materials were around - the deck boards were probably fence boards, there had to be 4-5 different types of nails used, etc.) Plus, it was stained dark brown - my FIL's favourite thing to do. We are going to be hard pressed to keep him from staining this one, and we really don't want him to! The catch phrase of the week was "nothing a little walnut stain won't fix..."
We changed one thing - we changed the regular railing to this bench seat one. This deck is really a gathering place, and by doing this , we added seating for a ton more people. My in-laws don't know we did this - I can't wait for them to see it!
Now if only we could get rid of the plastic chairs... (I know they're handy - rain doesn't hurt them - they're just not my favourite...)
ETA - the in laws saw it, and LOVED it! They were just thrilled. Of course, we all then had to vacate the cottage so my SIL and her soon to be ex-husband and all his relatives from Germany could take over the place for a week. Yes, it's a strange situation, but we're just happy he's a soon to be ex. She will be so much better off without this person in her life. Why he thought he could still have her family cottage for a week with his relatives is beyond me, and no one thought to tell him otherwise, once the divorce was announced. Oh well - one week, then he's gone.