Those lucky enough to have an outdoor deck know that it plays an important role in the overall design of a home. Decks can provides a wonderful outdoor living space that serve as a lovely place to relax at the end of a long day, as the perfect spot for a backyard barbecue, or the ideal gathering place for a picnic with friends.
You’ve chosen great outdoor furniture, you’ve artfully arranged colorful pots of plants, and you’ve even added a relaxing chaise lounge in the corner. Now imagine your outdoor deck as the perfect nighttime spot. With a lot of imagination and a little help from a set of outdoor deck lights, you can transform your deck into a beautiful and practical outdoor space.
Deck lighting is available in many different types and styles, including downlights, spotlights and floodlights.
· Downlighting is essentially lighting which comes from above. Downlights provide a natural lighting effect on your deck, and eliminates being blinded by bulbs as you relax on your deck. They provide a beautiful, ambient outdoor space while at the same time providing additional security and safety.
Use your downlights to create pools of light across your deck. Ideal spots for downlights include underneath deck railings. Be sure to avoid putting downlights over any shiny surfaces, as they can cause a harsh glare.
· Spotlights are designed to bathe a large area of the deck in light. They can be used to highlight level changes, such as at the front or back door or the steps. They may also be used to highlight an interesting deck feature.
· Floodlights, like spotlights, are also designed to bathe a large area of the deck in light. Use floodlights sparingly when designing your deck lighting system as to not over-light the deck.
· Use your floodlights and spotlights as downlights as to not create a harsh glare.
· Remember to light traffic areas and steps as to make them safer to walk on at night.
· Compare the differences of using either low voltage lighting or solar lighting and choose the one that best fits your deck lighting needs.
· Consider mounting lights to deck posts, the wall of the house, and the railings around the deck.
· Consider the use of recessed lights, which can be mounted into the surface of the deck or the deck railings.
· Use indirect lighting to create a gentle wash of light over the deck.
· Take a look at your deck at night and, using a flashlight, make note of the dark areas which should be illuminated.
· Use indirect deck lights to pinpoint light onto every other stair.
· Pre-drill your deck posts and connect the wiring to the underside of the deck to avoid unsightly wires.
· Choose deck lighting fixtures that best match the architecture and style of your home.
· Make a diagram of your deck and mark the areas at which you will install lights. This makes the process of shopping for deck lighting a much easier one.
· Experiment with different lighting positions and types of fixtures before permanently installing them.
· Shop your local hardware store, home improvement center or online retailer for outdoor deck lights and accessories.
If in doubt, call in a professional. A landscape contractor can help you layout a lighting plan for your deck, while a certified electrician can install GFCI receptacles to accommodate your low voltage deck lighting.