As you can see in the first photo (click through for a larger version), the back steps and patio were looking a little neglected and uneven - the steps had sunk 5cm or more from their original position, and tree roots had made a mess of the paved area. The other problem with the steps is that there's some sort of regulation which says there should be a 1 metre level area beyond external doors like that, meaning that simply attempting to raise the steps back up again wasn't an option. We asked a builder for a quote to level out the patio, and build a mini-deck over the steps - and quickly gave up on that idea when it came in somewhere over $10,000 (our theory is that he just didn't want to do the job, so gave a ridiculous quote to discourage us. Or maybe I just have no idea how much builders cost :-) ).
So, it was DIY time, and on the patio side, ran for weeks and weeks of digging and cursing at tree roots, but it was eventually done.
The steps took a while too, but they're finally (almost) done - only a balustrade of some sort left to complete it. Whew ! Next project is either building more bookcases, or painting more of the house ... probably the bookcases.
Before we started :
Here's the deck in place, steps still in progress :
Today, after oiling the deck :