Decks are an extension of your home: they expand your living space into the outdoors while improving your property’s value. They’re a popular renovation project for homeowners because decks allow people to enjoy the outdoors without travelling far.
While indoor house gatherings will never disappear, outdoor and backyard events are trending in many locations, not just in Ontario. Guests feel they have more freedom at a backyard celebration, and hosts feel they have more creative control over the setup.
With homeowners building original and extravagant decks, they also want to show them off at any opportunity. In a high-end home, it’s not uncommon to have a multi-level, wrap-around, or stone deck.
But skilled architecture isn’t enough to highlight your deck’s appearance. For your deck to stand out among your neighbours, you need to illustrate your style through artistic mediums like exotic art displays, a hot tub or spa area, premium outdoor furniture or best of all, outdoor lighting.
Landscape lighting is a simple and effective investment that encourages you to enjoy your property throughout the evening and into the night. Deck lights are a great entryway into an outdoor lighting transformation.
There is a lot to consider when adding light or additional illumination to your outdoor space: placement, fixtures, effects, colours, etc. For deck placements, there are five main focal points you can highlight.
1. Illuminate the Stairs and Steps
Illuminating stairs and steps on a deck give a polished look, and the choices for fixtures aren’t limited.
Many opt for lights under the stairs/steps since it’s sleek and a fixture isn’t noticeable. This type of lighting is usually a thin horizontal bar that projects a fair amount of light. Enough for easy navigation, but not in any way overpowering.
Recessed lights are also a modern and customizable option for stairs/steps. They mount into the risers to integrate seamlessly and provide a spotlight glow (these lights are typically circular).
2. Light Up the Overhead
Recessed lights aren’t only for stairways or steps–if you have an overhead or overhang, you can also install the lights there. It’s a good idea to have an overhead or overhang protecting your deck if you live in Ontario or another location that sees a lot of snow or rain.
By adding lights to the overhead, the deck can be enjoyed from morning to night as a reading nook, a sitting area for drinks/snacks, or a waiting spot for guests.
Recessed lighting is common for this space, but string lights, hanging lights, or in-wall fixtures are all possible.
3. Add In-Floor Deck Lighting
Try being innovative with uplights: illuminate the hardscape, rims, or nearby garden beds with in-floor deck lights. Seclude an outdoor space and create an intimate setting by installing uplights along the outline of a deck.
In-floor lighting designs are complimentary to all types of decks and properties. Create dimension for minimalist decks, and highlight artistic accents for eccentric properties.
We highly recommend pairing in-floor lighting with stair lights for a cohesive design. Incorporating one without the other can leave an emptiness in the design and dark spots for illumination.
4. Have Fun with Rail Lights
Deck railing is where you can experiment with fixtures. A bright under-rail glow can emphasize a modern scheme, especially if your deck is stone or has other hardscape features.
Simplicity compliments maximalism. Use post cap lights on a deck if there is enough personality through furniture or the layout. Post cap lights add a hint of brightness and help with navigation but won’t overwhelm other illumination sources.
5. Under-Table or Cabinet Deck Lighting
Illuminating the cooking area will add air to a busy space. Lighting will grab the attention of your guests rather than their eyes wandering off onto a messy grill or cluttered kitchen accessories.
Above all else, nobody should be fumbling around in a dark kitchen or eating area. Have your late-night charcuterie board and drinks without any scares.
When considering lighting designs for your outdoor cooking area ask yourself: what features should be the focus and what surfaces should be masked.
Outdoor Lighting Tips for a Deck Project
Creating an outdoor lighting scheme isn’t as easy as hanging Christmas lights. Work with a professional landscape lighting company if you want a cohesive design and straightforward project.
No matter, when planning an outdoor lighting project, keep these points in mind:
LED Lights do not give the same even/directional light distribution as natural lighting.
Natural sunlight isn’t comparable: the light distributes evenly, it’s effortlessly bright, and it’s well, warm. Unfortunately, LED lights can’t mimic the sun’s glow; instead of giving a seamlessly even illumination, the lights will have a spotlight effect.
Working with professional designers and installers reduces your chances of having unwanted dark spots in the illumination.
The colour temperature of lights will affect wildlife.
The intensity of a lighted deck and the colour temperature (the colour of light) affects wildlife, particularly birds.
Birds are drawn to warm colour temperatures, with orange being their favourite colour. When they’re around the warm-coloured outdoor lights, birds express happiness.
Consideration for wildlife always has to be given when adding additional light sources. If you don’t want birds near your home, don’t install bright white lights, as those can be dangerous to many animals. Instead, opt for a cooler colour tone.
Deck lighting is not as expensive as you can imagine.
Many deck light fixtures are budget-friendly and can be installed in stages. Start with a strong foundation and slowly add additional light sources or decorative lighting.
LED string lights are extremely popular, and they’re affordable. Hanging string lights over a deck or patio area creates an intimate ambiance. If string lights are used temporarily or are the only light source, many homeowners will hang lights themselves. It’s not as common if homeowners want a complete outdoor lighting system.
In the case that your deck is off of the water, a striplight is a better choice. Again, some homeowners try to install these outdoor lights themselves, but our local landscape lighting company can assist you.
Both are straightforward lighting projects that can work into your budget.
Transform Your Deck with Outdoor Lighting Specialists
The overall appearance of your property and your home’s value counts on a deck. Having an upscale home with low-grade property features can leave it looking disjointed.
The team at Lightscapes isn't just outdoor lighting experts; we’re design specialists and creative professionals. Our goal is to install premium lighting systems tailored to our client's style.
Browse our past landscape lighting projects to see how innovative your deck lights can be.