Deck on A Slope

I am getting ready to start working on the right side of my property in time for summer, and although I am pretty handy, this job will be somewhat of a challenge and I am in need of some advice.
The Problem...
I have a decent sized yard, but the 32 foot in-ground swimming pool takes up most of it. I have a good sized chunk of my yard that is currently not used for anything other than drainage for the pool filter (extention pvc I added for backwashing) and for a gutter extention I added (aluminum tube). I uploaded a bunch of pictures so you could see what I am up against. http://www.drumrx.com/Yard/Yard.htm
What I am looking to do...
I would really like to take advantage of this space and build an extention to my existing deck. The entire property is sloped in the rear. The existing retaining wall that holds up the dirt and decking at the pool rear ends and takes a roughly 45 degree turn.
How to go about this...
Should I simply build a triangular shaped free standing deck with some REALLY DEEP footings and somehow tie it in to the existing deck? If so, do the footings need to go 4 feet (NJ code I think) below the lowest existing retaining wall at the bottom of the slope, or do they need to go 4 feet below my neighbors property level for a total of about 5 1/2 feet?
Or, This may sound silly... Can I continue and extend the retaining wall from where it ends and have it wrap around the entire property line at a 90 degree angle going up toward where the kids play house is? My thinking is that I could also tie in some crossmembers of railroad ties by extending the psuedo planter boxes and connecting them to the new retaining wall for strength. Can you even build a deck by running joists off of a retaining wall??? Do I then need to backfill, add add footings to the backfill?
Either way I go about this, I am also planning on continuing the PVC fence all the way around. With the freestanding deck, how do I go about attaching the fence to it?
Any advice as to the best, safest, and (of course) least expensive way to go about this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Frank
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Hi Frank, Are you friends with your neighbor? Does the city or county setback allow building on property line.... What is the set back requirements. You can build either a footing system to support the deck and act as a retaining wall, or have holes drilled in the ground and concrete poured in piling style. I have done both. There is certain requirements for building on a slope that the footing needs to be deeper than the ground downhill. (I am sure an engineer has that formula, or you can look it up on the internet-I do not have it on hand) I also recommend not using wood for retaining walls since it has a limited life span. I have some pictures of decks built on a very steep slope......we put pressure treated 10" posts on these and then built the deck up on that. Some of the posts were almost 24' tall. (2 story deck) jloomis

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I met him a few times, but I would not call him a "friend". I would not waht to go any further than the existing retaining wall. I am guessing that the property line is somewhere between my retaining wall and his fence. I know he would not object to me bulilding the deck there, cause I mentioned it to him, but I'm certain he would object to anything being on his property for my deck. Why do you ask?
Can you give me a few more details about the footing system you mentoned... IE what do you mean by "deeper than the ground downhill"? Do you mean that the footings on the top of the slope need to be as deep as the entire height of the slope?
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Property Lines are an important factor in construction as well as set backs allowed by county or city. Having a neighborly neighbor makes for ease of construction especially if you have to access right on the property line. There is a rule of thumb for backseat construction. On a hill, the footing has to be the depth of the standard footing plus if you measure out 3 ft. downhill add the difference to that footing. Deeper footing on a hill for erosion factors etc. An engineer would have the correct depths. Draw your plan and consult an engineer for the proper depth. A continuous footing is best since it acts like a bond beam and is in contact and keyed into more of the earth area. Stepped footing are advised on a hill also so that slippage is not a factor. Your simple deck does not need rocket science for construction but a few factors from standard hillside construction should be used. Many use a post and pier system. I would probably go that route with a simple hillside deck. Draw up some deep piers say 2' depth by by 16" and form a 10" x 10" box on the ground above that. Put in some steel and tie into the post bracket that is embedded in the concrete. Build a batter board to align all these piers so that construction is correct on the way up. If you need a retaining wall, build one and use that for deck support but make sure to allow drainage.......i.e. rock behind, or weep holes..... jloomis

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