If possible, one or more entrances without any steps offer convenience and unlimited access for family, guests and aging adults, i.e. if medical equipment use becomes necessary. A wraparound deck, level with the first floor, allows free movement to each entrance and around the house. Covered entrances prevent water and snow buildup on porches, provide protection for all family members entering and exiting the home in all weather and help prevent water leakage at the doorways.
Ok for experienced do-it-yourselfer but appropriate for a contractor as well.
Decks are standard elements at many homes. Using low maintenance decking materials (composites) will eliminate splintering as well as the need for painting or staining.