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Design & Planning

Illuminate Your Deck and Patio

July 21 2016
Decking Lighting Design & Planning

As an art of subtle touches, deck lighting sometimes gets overlooked, and that’s a shame.

Lighting is the finishing touch that brings a patio together once the materials, railings, fasteners and furniture are in place, and transforms it with a welcoming ambiance. Naturally lighting is first and foremost about ensuring visibility, but deck lighting is also a design tool with the power to dramatically shape and define your entire outdoor living space through simple and discreet stylistic choices. With this in mind, here are a few ideas for using light creatively to make the most of your deck.

Take Advantage of Existing Structures

Lighting dark areas individually with no regard for the overall design can result in too many light fixtures, and can give your deck a cluttered feel. Instead, consider integrating lighting into existing structures to make them more discrete, and maintain an open feeling on your deck.

For example, hanging lanterns from the latticework of a pergola can create a magical glow, and without crowding the available space.

TimberTech also offers a wealth integrated lighting options; Lighted Island Caps, Post Cap Lighting, and Under-Rail Lights blend seamlessly into the overall aesthetic of your deck while giving off a soft, ambient glow.

Exploit Color

Atmosphere is tricky; if done right, it provides a distinct sense of place without revealing the methods by which it’s made.

Here, the quality and color of lighting play a critical role in establish ing the temperature and tone of the space.

Those looking for a more modern aesthetic might favor the crisp, clean white or light blue LED light. Traditionalists might favor a softer orange or tungsten glow, bringing an earthy warmth to the rich brown tones of the furniture and decking.

It’s generally best to embrace and accent the style already built into your deck.

Less is more. A deft hand will choose soft, subtle hues rather than saturated colors, setting the scene for guests without overwhelming them with overly intense tones.

Avoid Over-Lighting

A good view of the stars will always be better than a view of the house’s siding. A little restraint and a little shadow brings intimacy and a sense of intrigue to a space.

Use shadow to bring focus to certain areas of the deck by highlighting a central light source. Areas with a fire pit may want the fire itself to be the key light source, implicitly encouraging guests to gather round. Then, lightly fill in the remainder of the deck with TimberTech Accent Lights, which will give necessary illumination without drawing attention to themselves.

Sculpt Space

Light naturally draws the eye. Accordingly, the artful placement of accent lights allows deck-owners to selectively focus their guests’ attention, and add dimension to the immediate patio area and beyond.

Spreading discreet lights throughout the garden, such as hanging lamps or LED tree spotlights, widens the scope of the yard without competing with the main seating area. That sense of expansiveness can be subliminally comforting to your guests and heighten their relaxation.

Dividing your deck lighting between multiple circuits can also allow you to further customize the space for different occasions. For example, place the main seating area on one circuit, and the area immediately surrounding the deck on a second. This arrangement allows you to only light the main area for cozy get-togethers, or flick a switch to broaden the visible space to accommodate large cocktail parties.

Safety First

Despite all the exciting design concepts, creating a safe backyard is always the top priority. Identify potentially hazardous dark areas and add lights specifically engineered for safety: In-Deck Lights and Riser Lights are perfect for illuminating stairs and steps so everyone to move about the deck with confidence.