Proper lighting will make your deck more safe and functional. Accent lighting also provides endless opportunities to customize and accessorize your deck design. There are lighting options for both new construction and existing decks. In this article we will highlight some of the most popular in a growing list of outdoor deck lighting possibilities.
Consider each activity area of your deck and if you will need lighting for either safety or convenience. Some areas of your deck to consider are: Access and traffic areas, Outdoor cooking and food service, Seating or “gathering” spots, and special features such as hot tubs or built in pools.
In addition you might want to add accent lighting to bring attention to special decorations or landscape plantings you want your guests to enjoy after dark!
Deck Lighting is an important factor in any outdoor deck design.
Start with a rough sketch of your deck and outdoor entertainment area. Imagine you and your guests enjoying your deck in the evening. Highlight (circle) the “activity” areas on your design sketch. This light map will give you a starting point for your deck lighting design choices.
Deck Lighting Options
Once you have established all of the areas on your deck that require lighting you can start to explore the different options that will work best for you. Some options to consider will include:
Flood Lighting – Usually mounted on the house or on a post, flood lighting is used to light up large areas of your deck or yard. Flood lights are available in both traditional and energy saving LED models. Flood lights mounted on the house will typically match your other outdoor light fixtures. Flood lights mounted on a pole can range from simple/functional to highly ornate decorative fixtures.
Recessed Lighting – Recessed light fixtures are traditionally installed in ceilings above cooking or bar areas of your deck. There are also a number of special recessed light kits designed to be flush mounted in your deck floor to provide up lighting for safety as well as dramatic effect.
Post Cap Lighting – Post lights are a very popular option for accent lighting. Inexpensive LED lights can be installed under your post cap to create a warm and welcoming space for your guests. There are also surface mount post lights that can be installed (typically 18” above the deck surface) to provide a subtle glow that is not in the direct line of sight of your seated guests.
Under Rail Lighting – Use under rail lighting to create a subtle glow that can also help to illuminate steps for added safety without excessive or intrusive overhead lighting. Available in various kit sizes, under rail lighting is one of the easiest ways to “upgrade” an existing deck.
Riser Lights – Used for both safety and dramatic effect, Riser lights can take a deck design to that next level of “WOW.” Riser lights are installed on the stair risers and are available with a wide variety of options. They can be flush mounted or recessed with or without louvers. Most of the synthetic decking manufacturers offer riser kits specially designed for their system. For wood decks there are options with a wide variety of finishes to match any style or species of wood.
Budgeting For Deck Lighting
The cost of deck lighting can range from just a few bucks to . . . well, the sky is the limit. There are many low cost LED, battery and solar options for accent lighting. Landscape lighting is also available in 12v/24v and 110v AC systems. If you are designing a new deck or upgrading an existing deck a qualified electrician can assist you in choosing the system that is best for you as well as ensuring that all the components and fixtures you choose will be compatible.
When not working on decks, we love to relax outside on our beautiful decks with friends and family.
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