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Types of Deck Lighting

Outdoor living area with lots of ambient lighting



Have you ever dined on a patio or relaxed around a pool while admiring the upscale elegance? Or have you visited a resort and felt completely at ease with the ambiance in the outdoor space? Then you have likely experienced high-quality, strategically placed deck lighting!


While you may not always notice a lack of deck lighting in your own space right now, you will certainly appreciate it once it is there! That is why deck lighting is used so frequently in upscale establishments and homes. It is a subtle yet impactful way to add dimension and visual appeal to any space.


Below, we highlight some popular types of outdoor lighting for decks and patios to assist homeowners seeking to build a new deck or elevate an existing one. Continue reading to learn more!



LED Deck Lighting

As you shop for or speak to a deck builder about outdoor lights for your deck, you will likely notice that many deck lights utilize LEDs (light-emitting diode).


In fact, many of the deck light types that we explain below will use them. For that reason, it is important to explain what LED deck lights are and why they are so popular for outdoor lighting applications.


LED lights are one of the most energy-efficient, long-lasting, versatile, and durable light options. They are superior to incandescent and compact fluorescent lights based on energy cost and longevity.



Benefits of LED Outdoor Lighting


The benefits of LED lights include the following:

  • Design flexibility
  • Energy efficiency
  • Brightness
  • Longevity
  • Durability outdoors and in all climates
  • Low environmental impact
  • Dimming capabilities
  • Zero heat emissions


As you can see, utilizing LED lights in a variety of applications – including deck lighting -is a no-brainer!


They are often used in the following types of deck and patio lights:

  • Recessed lights for decks
  • Deck stair lights
  • Post lights
  • Post cap lights
  • Railing lights and under-railing lights
  • Wall lights, sconces, and side mount lights
  • Overhead lighting
  • And many illuminated accessories


Recessed Deck and Stair Lighting

Recessed lights mount flush into your deck boards, so they are very low-profile lights that integrate seamlessly into the floor of your deck or deck stairs.


In addition, they are low-wattage, energy efficient, and manufactured to withstand harsh elements, making them very suitable for outdoor applications.


Recessed lights are most often used to light the way and reduce the risk of trips and falls while you and your guests walk. However, you can also use them strategically to highlight specific features of your décor. For example, perhaps you have a firepit, water feature, statue, or planter that you would like to illuminate and showcase softly. Many people also use recessed deck lights to highlight the size or shape of their space.



Post Lights and Post Cap Lights for Decks

Post lights and post cap lights are other popular options for deck lighting because they are versatile and impactful.



Solar post cap lights on deck


They are available in a variety of styles and can be either wired in or fully solar-powered. Choose a type that focuses light in one area or opt for a fixture that broadly casts light in all directions.  


A key benefit of post lights and deck post lights is that the light features are up off the ground and out of the way. They also help you make use of otherwise underutilized space on your deck. In addition, some post light and post cap light fixtures are incredibly easy to install by yourself.


This light style is perfect for adding ambiance to a dining or lounge area, showcasing the size of your deck, indicating barriers and stairs, or giving your entire outdoor living space a gentle glow.



Deck Rail Lights and Under Railing Lighting

As you can likely guess, deck rail lights and under-deck railing lighting includes light fixtures installed on or under your railings.


This light style can include singular, modular, or string/rope lights. Really, almost any light can be a rail or under rail light, if you want it to be – just install it on your railings!


Deck railing lights and under-railing deck lights are similar to post and post cap lights in that they help illuminate and showcase the space while assisting with wayfinding. They are also low-wattage and available in wired or solar-powered solutions.



Wall Lights and Sconces

Do you have a blank wall on your house that you would like to spruce up? Or do you have a retaining wall in your garden area that could accommodate a light fixture?


Then you may be interested in utilizing wall lights, sconces, or side mount lights.


Wall lights and sconces are similar to lights you would utilize indoors. However, they are designed to withstand exposure to outdoor elements better. Therefore, before making a purchase, clarify whether your wall light or sconce is damp-rated or wet-rated. Failing to install a suitable fixture outdoors can result in electrocution or fires.  


Damp-rated means your outdoor lights can withstand some moisture. They are most suitable for covered and sheltered areas only. On the other hand, wet-rated outdoor lights are designed to be waterproof and can handle more direct exposure to wet conditions.



Overhead Lighting

Overhead lighting includes features that hang from a ceiling, roof, or beam. They are the perfect way to make a statement and add personality to your outdoor kitchen, dining, entertainment, or lounge areas.



Overhead deck light with string lights in background


Overhead light fixtures are available in various styles ranging from rustic to ornate. Some styles also include ceiling fans, which are perfect for more enclosed spaces that need more airflow.


Before purchasing overhead outdoor lights for decks, ask a professional for advice. It is critical that your outdoor lights are suitable for all Canadian seasons. You may also need to call upon an electrician for a proper installation.



Illuminating Accessories

Illuminating accessories are an inexpensive, easy, and accessible way to make your outdoor living space your own.


Accessory lights often do not require any installation and are portable. You can purchase them easily at your local home improvement, general merchandise, or garden supplies store.


There are many types of illuminated accessories, including:

  • Lanterns
  • Candles and votives 
  • Torch lights
  • Planter and garden lights
  • Under table lights
  • Pendant lights
  • String lights
  • And more!

Illuminated accessories are budget-friendly and, depending on the style, are available in battery-powered, solar-powered, and wired options. You are sure to find something that suits your personal tastes, complements your desired aesthetic, and matches your existing furniture and décor. Have fun with it because it is so easy to change later if it's not working for you!


Just like all other lighting solutions that will be enjoyed outdoors, ensure you select models that are damp– or wet-rated. This is particularly important for string and pendant lights that you cannot easily cover or bring indoors on rainy or snowy days.




In conclusion, there is no shortage of outdoor lighting solutions if you are planning to build or update your deck in time for patio season.


You are sure to find options that suit your goals and style preferences. You will likely find that many outdoor lights utilize LEDs instead of older lighting technology due to LEDs’ energy efficiency, versatility, and longevity.


Any part of your deck or outdoor living space can be illuminated, though some options require more expertise for installation than others. Opt for deck and stair lighting to elevate your deck and assist with wayfinding. Utilize post or post cap outdoor lighting to make the most of your space and cast light in a targeted area or broader section. Choose rail lights and under-rail lighting if you are limited in space and want to add a soft glow to your deck or patio.


Select wired or solar-powered wall lights, sconces, and side mounts to illuminate desired areas while filling bare walls on your house, around your pool, or in your garden. If you have a ceiling, roof, or beam overhead, find a damp- or wet-rated light fixture suitable for withstanding exposure to the elements. Opt for a ceiling fan fixture if air circulation is a concern.


Have some fun with illuminated décor and accessories by browsing your local stores for candles, votives, lanterns, torches, string lights, and more!

Be sure to work with a professional deck builder or electrician if you are unsure how to install wired outdoor lights in your space.


Do you still have questions?


Then, our Deck Lighting Guide may help you answer them! The guide for outdoor lighting provides more information about the benefits of deck lights and offers tips on what to consider when choosing the best deck lighting for you.



Upgrade Your Deck with Premier

Are you interested in adding deck lighting to your property? Then Premier Fencing is here to help!


Our highly professional team of deck builders has been helping homeowners upgrade their outdoor living spaces for over 90 years. We are pleased to serve homeowners in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, and surrounding areas.


Reach out to us to get started and speak to a sales representative today. We look forward to scheduling a no-obligation, on-site consultation at your convenience.




Steve Livock at 9:00 AM
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