Your deck is a wonderful outdoor living space addition to your home. It provides an intimate and functional area to entertain and relax. When equipped with the right features, it becomes more than just a place to sit. A deck can be a gathering place where meals can be prepared, cooked, and served, with an outdoor kitchen. In addition, this space can also have other creature comforts and uses, for instance, a fire pit, seating area, television, sound system, and so much more.
In order to make it fully accessible, regardless of the time of day, you’ll need to install deck lighting. This provides more than just illumination for when the sun is down, it can also drastically transform your outdoor living space. Deck lighting can not only illuminate common seating and functional areas, it can also be used to highlight features. With such versatility, you’ll have a lot to take into consideration before you purchase and install deck lighting.
Types of Deck Lighting
At first, you might think your choices are limited, but that’s just not the case — you’ll have plenty of options from which to choose. There are several types of deck lighting and each has its own uniqueness. There are recessed deck lights, and, as the name describes, are recessed into the deck, illuminating upward. These are constructed very sturdily to withstand heavy foot traffic and provide ample light. Accent deck lights are opposite recessed, being install in high places to illuminate downward. These are primarily to highlight a feature, like a fountain, tree, statue, or something else.
Deck lighting is a great project because low voltage lighting doesn’t usually require hiring an electrician. Installing deck lighting is similar to installing landscape lights. You can choose from a variety of light posts, rail lights, and stair riser lights. Most deck lighting systems are powered by a 12 volt transformer that is plugged into an ordinary wall outlet. Solar lights are available that are self powered and don’t even require wiring or transformers. Always read the manufacturer’s installation instructions and contact your local building department before starting the project. —Decks.com
There are also stair and post deck lights, and, each is installed as the name describes. Stair deck lights are ideal for illuminating steps, while post deck lights illuminate various posts around the deck. Solar deck lights are a very popular option because of their main advantages: they require no wiring, are simple to install, provide light for up to 12 hours, and, cost nothing to power. Low voltage deck lights utilize halogen bulbs and use very little power but provide ample illumination. These can be installed practically anywhere and are an alternative to solar deck lights.
Deck Lighting Installation Tips
When you’ve decided to install lighting on and around your deck, you’ll need to start with planning. What you want to avoid is installing the wrong type or types of lighting only to discover it’s not right for your wants and needs. Here are some helpful tips on how to install deck lighting:
- Study your deck as the sun goes down. If you don’t frequently go onto your deck just before and after the sun sets, you’re probably unfamiliar with at least a few aspects of where lighting would and wouldn’t be instrumental. About 15 to 20 minutes before the sun goes down, step out onto your deck and take note of the areas that require the most light and which do not or need just ambient light.
- Create a deck lighting plan. Now, you can create a deck lighting plan, drawing out where the lights will be installed and at what angle they’ll be set. Think about it practically and role play a typical scenario. Where do people usually sit? Which areas need the most illumination? This is important because you don’t want to position lights to blind people or so they cast long shadows in areas that should otherwise be illuminated.
- Choose the right types of deck lighting. It’s important to choose the right kinds of deck lighting because, as mentioned above, each has its own purpose. You’ll probably find you need a combination of two or more types of deck lighting to suit your needs.
- Test each light before and after installation. When you’re installing your lights, you should take the time to test each one before you finalize the installation. This will save you time and effort, if one or more doesn’t work and you have to make replacements.
- Try out the lighting at dark. After the sun sets, walk onto your deck and look around. Take notice of any unwanted shadows, any lights that could potentially blind guests, and look over functional areas to ensure these are well illuminated.
You might have to make adjustments here and there to get it right, but, it will be worthwhile when you’re enjoying your deck as an outdoor entertainment space in the evenings.