Ok, wife and I are about to rebuild our front porch, 8' deep x 10' long x 26" off the ground and a new deck on the back of the house, 16' deep x 36' long x 26" off the ground. Both decks are free standing. I had several designs done by local home centers and building supply, all based on specific parameters. All came back with the same design of putting a 4 x 4 post in the ground 3' and pouring concrete in the hole around the post. My question is, should I do this or should I pour a pier about 6" out of the ground and connect the post to the pier?