Inside a sunken or elevated space, you have an altogether different vantage point. Perhaps the design focuses your attention inward, fostering intimate conversation. Or, if the orientation is outwardly focused, you'll observe the borrowed landscape or enjoy a bird's-eye view of the garden.Any time the grade is changed, even with a single riser, the dynamic is also changed. Here are some clever ways designers have changed the grade. I give them an A-plus.Step it down. At the lowest point of this narrow, steep backyard, there was plenty of room for a patio. But this is no ordinary patio. It's a dreamy destination for anyone who walks outside the back door.The elements are perfect. First, the designer has done a superb job of breaking up the slab into bands and squares, further defined by crushed stone. The treatment ensures good drainage and suggests a patterned carpet.As you descend a few concrete steps to enter the sunken outdoor living room, you're drawn to the generously scaled U-shape bench. Made of a sustainable hardwood, it embraces three edges of the patio and has a gas fire bowl at its center.Twenty could sit here easily. Just add a few cushions and you've got a party.