Deck and patio stair designs vary greatly from house to house and person to person. The mixing of various substrates, sizes, and styles make it quite confusing for homeowners. There are some factors to consider prior to having the stairs designed.
Are you most interested in function or form? How does budget play into your decision making process? Is safety a concern as you may have small children or elderly parents? How many steps are going to be necessary to get from the deck or patio down to grade? Have you considered a multi-tiered approach to break up the number of continuous steps?
Archadeck of Charlotte is a leading design/ build firm that does outdoor living as a specialty and has constructed over 23,000 structures over the past 26 years with many requiring stairways. We are often consulted on various design ideas for steps and have a large photo gallery on-line at http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com where they can be viewed.
Higher up deck and patios require more thought with the design to make sure you have the proper spacial planning and safety thoughts while in the design phase. There are web sites like eshow that have additional ideas on steps and companies like Archadeck that can design and build!