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Deck Lighting Tips

Updated: Feb 14

Outdoor Deck Lighting

What’s not so easy about deck lighting is the fact that a LED light source does not give you the even/directional light distribution your natural eyes and light-sensitive photosensitive retinas use. You need more light in the areas around the deck.

It has been shown that the intensity of a lighted deck, and particularly its color temperature (the color of light) has a greater effect on birds than anything else. The more yellow in the light, the happier the birds.

Warm Deck Lighting

That’s not a huge revelation. We all know white isn’t a good color for birds. But here’s what’s interesting. The more orange the light, the more birds react happily. That makes sense to us. Orange is a fairly popular color for outdoor lighting. But the light on a boat deck is also very bright. So the orange is not coming from a traditional white source. It’s actually coming from the LEDs which are giving the deck its brightness. You can see from the pictures where the deck is very uneven. So the different colors are coming from different areas of the boat deck and that means the light is uneven as well.

What does this mean for us?

If you are using LEDs the light coming from them is brighter, and if you are using that light to illuminate your deck, you are putting a bunch of birds at risk.

It is a simple adjustment to have more light in the areas where you want it. To do this you need some additional lights. We talked about that a great deal with lighting our decks and it does help some. But a deck is not a complete light source. It also needs the light to be reflected and focused onto the birds. If you don’t use a reflector or a light, you are not going to be able to use the light as much. To do that you need an LED Light String.

Outdoor LED Light String

Deck lighting is not as expensive as you can imagine, and it is a lot easier to install than it sounds. Let’s look at the installation from where to start and how to make it work.

A deck LED string is a set of strings of lights in a long string. The strings themselves are not long so we would not need that and the strings are held together with a chain which is easier to handle than a metal cable.

Some boat lights come with a built-in LED string, but we don’t have one so we added one.

The installation of this deck LED string is not complex. In fact, it’s pretty easy. We have a string already made for us by an online company and all it needs is the chain that holds the strings together. Of course if you want some assistance, this local landscape company can assist you with your deck lightning needs.

Once we have installed this string we need to attach it to the chain. We used what is called a deck plate. It’s just an L-shaped piece of metal with a hole in the middle which the chains go through.

If your chain holes are slightly off, you can use a washer to hold the chain up off the deck and hold it in the hole. They have notches on the bottom so the plate will rest on the deck and hold the chain in the hole.

But if you have already installed the chain you can use a cotter pin right where you would need the chain to fit through. It’s just a pin with a small head on it.

At this point, you have installed half of the deck LED string. What you will notice is that we can switch it from one side of the deck to its other.

Before we did this one of our LED lights didn’t last very long, we took it off and replaced it, but it came with the chain. The chain isn’t long enough to fit over on top of the string.

So we put the string over on top. You can see that the deck plate has a series of holes that are spaced so that we can take the other side off to fit again. Now you can switch between the two sides of the string.

One thing to keep an eye on is that the chain won’t hold up to weight very well, so you may have to add some weight to hold it up to the deck to get your chain in line.

Hit the comments and let us know how your deck lighting projects turn out.