HomeOutdoor Living BlogDIY Deck Lighting Ideas to Brighten Up Your Outdoor Space

DIY Deck Lighting Ideas to Brighten Up Your Outdoor Space

January 7, 2022
DIY deck lighting ideas by TimberTech

Picture it: It’s a warm summer evening, and you and the family have just finished dinner. You’re relaxing comfortably on your deck, enjoying crisp lemonade and fresh berries with guests while the kids play soccer in the backyard. The sun is sinking, but you don’t want the party to stop. Thankfully, there are many DIY deck lighting ideas — such as string lights and candles — that can illuminate your space so you and your family can stay outside well into the night. In addition to DIY lighting ideas, there are also a number of permanent lighting solutions that require less upkeep than DIY lighting and will last for many years to come.   

Keep reading to learn about the different deck lighting ideas you can use to brighten your outdoor space and explore our TimberTech deck lights to see which option will best fit your lighting needs.  

Get the bright ideas you need in our Deck Light Inspiration Series. READ THE SERIES

DIY Deck Lighting Ideas 

DIY deck lighting ideas including string lights on the raling

There are many ways to light your outdoor space to make it safer and modernize evening ambience for your family and friends. DIY deck lighting ideas like string lights, solar lights, and candles can accent a deck or patio while still illuminating pathways, stairs, and railings. Your choice will depend on your budget, preferred design, and long-term goals for your outdoor space.  

DIY deck lighting ideas include string lights and lanterns

String Lights 

String lights can be found in many home goods stores and offer a warm glow wherever you put them. This lighting option can also be easily installed on railings, poles, or on fences. 

Go for the classic bistro style or opt for a centerpiece jar or bowl full of fairy lights

DIY deck lighting ideas include candles


Candles are a perfect way to customize the light in your outdoor area.  

You can buy large or small candles and place them in lanterns, jars, or on decorative holders to create a welcoming outdoor scene. 

Just make sure to never leave candles burning unattended. 

Get More Bright Ideas 

Explore deck lighting ideas by type: temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent.  

Keep the Future of Your Deck Bright with Upfront Installation 

Premanent DIY deck lighting ideas are best implemented at time of build

Even if you don’t want deck lighting right now, it’s important to install the deck wires during the construction or resurfacing of your deck so you can keep the option open for future enhancement. While installation will vary based on the type of lighting you choose, there are still some important considerations and safety precautions to keep in mind: 

  • Turn off/unplug all deck wiring during installation. 
  • Do not operate a luminaire fitting with a missing or damaged cover. 
  • Building codes vary by locale, so please consult all applicable codes before beginning a project. 
  • Modifications must be made to railing components during assembly to accommodate wiring and fixtures. For lighting that involves railing, be sure to read all lighting instructions carefully before assembling. 
  • A maximum of 40 watts can be applied to a single circuit, and no more than 90 watts should be applied to the transformer. Please refer to the chart below for the wattage of each fixture. 
  • The 16AWG secondary supply wire can be buried to a maximum of 6 inches for routing under deck or other obstacles. The luminary (unit secondary) wires cannot be buried underground. 
TimberTech Lighting Fixture Wattage
Accent2 watts
In-Deck1 watt
Lighted Island Cap2 watts
Post Cap Light4 watts
Stair Riser2 watts
Under Rail2 watts

For the installation of TimberTech lighting, you will need the following, in addition to a basic tool set: 

  • Spade bits: 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch, 1-inch 
  • Allen wrench: 2.5 millimeter 
  • Drill bits: 3/8-inch, 7/64-inch, 1/4-inch 

For more details about lighting installation, please review our Lighting Installation Guide or watch our installation video

Best Time to Install Deck Lighting 

The best time for deck lighting installation is at the time of build

The best time to install deck lighting is during your initial deck construction or during a full resurfacing. This is because the wiring extends into the deck substructure and installing wiring after the fact will be more difficult. Installing deck wiring involves some complexity, so it’s best to connect with one of our contractors to ensure the job is done properly.  

The best time to install deck lighting is during your deck construction or during resurfacing. Connect with a contractor today to get started.  TALK TO TIMBERTECH 

Accent Light 

DIY deck lighting ideas include accent lights on the railing posts

Works With 

Composite railing posts, Impression Rail Express® 

Benefits to This Lighting 

Subtly highlights posts and transition points to boost safety while evoking a gentle atmosphere. 

Installation Notes 

  • To provide clearance for wiring between the post and post cover, you must create a wire channel. Remember: Do not route a wire channel where a rail is to be mounted. 
  • If you plan to install a post-mounted accent light, you must route a slot down the post to the desired fixture position. 

In-Deck Light 

DIY deck lighting ideas include in-deck lighting

Works With

Capped composite and capped polymer decking and fascia boards.

Benefits to This Lighting

Flush mounting promises unencumbered steps, and the gentle glow cultivates an inviting atmosphere.

Installation Notes

  • Locate and mark the centerline of the deck board where the in-deck light will be mounted. 
  • On the desired point of the center line, use a 1-inch spade it to create a through hole (taking care not to drill into the substructure). 
  • Guide the light’s wire into the through hole. 
  • Push the lighting fixture into the through hole until the flange touches the deck surface. 
  • The wire connections can then be made under the deck’s surface. 

Lighted Island Cap

DIY deck lighting ideas include lighted island caps

Works With 

Premier Railing®, RadianceRail®, Trademark Rail 

Benefits to This Lighting 

Showcases the craftsmanship of your railing while lending a warm glow to all four sides of the cap. 

Installation Notes 

  • The Lighted Island Cap is preassembled. Installation simply requires the wires to be properly connected and the unit placed onto the post. 
  • When running wires through the post, be sure to run wires up the corner voids created by the post cover ribs. 
Close-up of metal railing with post cap light

Deck Lights & Railing: The Perfect Pair 

Permanent deck lighting + a modern railing can complete your outdoor living space. Explore your options to find the custom combo you need.

Post Cap Light

Close-up of black composite railing with post cap light

Works With

Premier Railing®, RadianceRail®, Trademark Rail, RadianceRail Express®, and Impression Rail Express® 

Benefits to This Lighting

Elegantly brings a softly glowing halo of light to the start of stairs and railings. 

Installation Notes

  • Post cap lights must be installed after the rail assembly has been completed. 
  • When routing the main wire around the deck, leave a loop of extra wire at the top of each post to allow for splicing connections. 
  • Use silicone-filed wire nuts with corrosion protection and which are intended for outdoor use to make all connections. They should be copper, copper alloy, or the equivalent. 

Riser Light

Close-up of composite deck stairs with riser lights

Works With

Capped composite and capped polymer risers.

Benefits to This Lighting

Enhances safety while lighting the steps of your deck while keeping the illumination gentle and discreet

Installation Notes

  • Locate and mark vertical and horizontal centerlines for the Riser Light location. Level the back plate and then use the back plate as a template to locate the center of the hole for the wire. 
  • Securing housing to the back plate using the set screw with a 2.5-millimeter Allen wrench. 

Under-Rail Lights

Shot from below of a deck railing with under rail lights and post cap lights

Works With

Premier Railing®, RadianceRail®, and Trademark Rail 

Benefits to This Lighting

Traces a warm, glowing border to your outdoor living space and is conveniently hidden on the underside of your top rail

Installation Notes

  • Choose the location for the Under-Rail Light so it is centered in the balusters. 
  • Drill a 3/8-inch hole to feed the wire through the support rail. 
  • Feed the wire and mount the light to the recessed support rail, making sure the light is tilted in at 15°. 
  • Trim excess wire length and make a wire connection to the main circuit wire using the nuts provided. 

Explore Deck Lighting Ideas with a Contractor 

Whether you’re looking to bring a warm glow to evening gatherings, increase visibility on stairways, or underscore the clean lines of your deck, TimberTech offers a number of deck lighting solutions that will give you the evening ambience you desire. Connect with one of our contractors to create an outdoor space that fulfills your lighting and leisure needs today. 

Bring the Beauty of TimberTech to Your Backyard

Work with a TimberTech pro for a build that transforms your outdoor living space.

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