Outdoor Deck Lighting: 10 Things You Need to Know

Outdoor deck lighting is a great way to enjoy your deck at night. Not only does it provide a measure of safety and security, but it can also add a touch of class and elegance to your outdoor living space. Here are 10 things you need to know about outdoor deck lighting:

1) Size

Know the dimensions of your deck and how much space you need to light before purchasing lighting. The lights should be bright enough for safety and security, but not so bright as to interfere with nighttime activity such as socializing or reading a book.

2) Number of Lights

When calculating the number of lights needed for your deck, measure using both linear feet and square footage (length x width). Multiply each value together and then add them together to find the total number of lights needed for your project.

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Outdoor Deck Lighting

3) Wiring and Placement

The placement of deck lighting should be based on safety, security, and aesthetic considerations. Position lights so they are visible from a distance to provide a sense of safety and enable others to see you clearly. Make sure the cord is hidden in the painter’s tape or behind molding if possible so it doesn’t interfere with your deck design.

4) Outlets for Extension Cords

If you use extension cords with your deck lighting, installing at least one outlet near each light will help control the cord length and prevent tripping hazards due to excessive cord length.

5) Mounting Options 

There are several options for mounting outdoor deck lights: mounting directly into joist spaces, stapling into the wood, bolting into metal or concrete, or using self-leveling mounts.

6) Wiring Options

There are two wiring options for deck lighting: with a transformer box (which is more common) and direct wiring. Direct wiring with an appropriate waterproof connector is preferable because there are no wires exposed to the elements; however, ensure you meet local electrical code requirements when doing this installation method.

7) Underwater Deck Lighting

Underwater deck lighting provides safety and security along with beauty and adds excitement to your deck decor at nighttime (although it’s not always an economical option). If you choose underwater lights, make sure that they are appropriately rated for the depth of water in which they will be submerged.

The United States Coast Guard requires at least one fixture to be located within 10 feet of any steps or ladder leading into the water.

8) Solar Deck Lighting

Solar deck lights are a type of outdoor lighting that harnesses solar power to create electricity, so no wiring is necessary. They are economical compared to other types of deck lighting and easy to install, but they don’t provide much light for safety or security purposes.

9) Maintenance-Free Decks

There are several options for low maintenance decks, including composite decking materials made from recycled plastics and wood/plastic composites, pressure-treated wood, wood alternatives such as bamboo, aluminum decking, steel decking, stone brick pavers, and glass.

10) “Wow” Factor

A well-designed outdoor living space will have a wow factor – it’s an extra special feature that takes your deck to the next level, creating a spectacular focal point for your deck decor. Outdoor deck lighting is a simple way to increase your “wow” factor and create a more functional work of art.

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