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Best workflow for using a layout and various contexts?

evan_southernevan_southern Member Posts: 4
Hi there. Still learning Onshape and am a little confused by the different top-down design options, after reading a bunch of the help pages/videos and watching a few webinars. I have been a SolidWorks user around 2010-2015 but now am only getting back into CAD and starting with personal projects as a warm-up. 

I thought this project would encompass all my questions: I am designing a fence (the deliverable) to compliment a deck, which will consist of several support posts, horizontal cross rails (rather than vertical pickets) and a gate. The fence itself is dependent on the shape of the deck, but could be placed in different areas on and around it depending on aesthetic appeal. Imagine a small patio/deck with several different tiers and a non-symmetrical shape. 
So I thought I had a couple options in terms of workflow:

- Use a master sketch of the deck layout, import that into an assembly and design the fence as a new part in context: neglects the 3D nature of the deck, but I could modify it in context later, once the deck itself is in the dummy assembly. Also doesn't seem to work because you can't use a sketch in an assembly as a context? 
-Use the master layout sketch and derive it into a part studio for the fence and build from there: same first problem as before. Also uses derived feature which could be replaced by in context design... said one webinar I watched.
- Design the existing deck AND fence in a multi-part part studio, then into an assembly, and another assembly just for the fence (to ensure correct BOM): I thought this was not ideal because then I am designing the deck as much as the fence, and the deck isn't necessarily a fixed constant (which I can edit) relative to the fence if inferences and dependencies are created.
- Roughly design the existing deck and fence in separate part studios, import into an assembly, place the fence where desired and then edit the fence in context of the deck layout if, say, fence design interferes with deck: I like this because if I change the deck layout for some reason, the fence won't update unless I refresh the context, but this is cumbersome because I am blindly designing the fence without reference to anything at the beginning.

I guess my question is mostly what is the best way to use a master sketch or layout to accomplish a task like this? 

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