Tips To Light Up Your Deck Or Patio After Dark

Tips To Light Up Your Deck Or Patio After Dark

It’s summer!! Finally! The calendar says so, so it must be true. This is the perfect time to extend your use of your outdoor space with outdoor lighting. This is a great time of year to have your friends and family over, or just to get out there yourself to enjoy these warm summer evenings on your deck or patio.

What things should you consider when planning your patio or deck outdoor lighting? Here are some of our best tips.

Things To Consider When Planning Patio Lighting

Plan First
You always want to measure twice, cut once as the saying goes. It’s no fun to come up with this grand design and then have to backtrack on things because it’s not what you needed or won’t work in that space. First, how do you most often use the area? Is it mostly for entertaining or for your own enjoyment? Do you enjoy eating meals on the patio, reading at night, or just having relaxed conversations? Once you know how you use the space, decisions on how to illuminate it will be much easier.

You’ll know how bright the lights need to be, if they need to be on all the time, or if you can double up some lights to serve more than one purpose.

Always Keep Safety A Priority

Do you have walkways or stairs that require additional lighting at night? Any steeper slopes that you or your guests need to be able to navigate at night? Any posts or pillars, doors or other obstacles that should be highlighted? Pools or ponds? Don’t compromise on safety.

Do you need task lighting? This will be brighter lighting to do work by, but you may not need it to be on all the time. Consider a light to cook by at night by the bbq, or a light for the shed or back gate.

The market for outdoor lighting continues to grow and many fixtures provide adequate safety lighting without sacrificing aesthetics.

Creating An Outdoor Lighting Plan For The Patio

What do you most love about your patio or deck area? Are there textures, architectural bits, ornaments, or landscaping details that you want to show off or enjoy after dark? Why let those details remain hidden after dark? Think back to when you first bought your home. What made you fall in love with it? Was it the textured façade? The pillars? The gazebo? The many levels to the deck?

Don’t stop with the bigger lights or fixtures. The smaller details can really make your deck or patio feel like part of your home. Stair lighting, deck edge lighting, or even ornamental lights are small things that can set your lighting apart and have a big impact on the ambiance of your outdoor spaces.

Some aspects of your patio are simply functional and some features are purely aesthetic. Balancing both is important!

What Outdoor Lighting Trends Are Popular?

Rope Lights Combine Flexibility And Aesthetics
Rope lights are versatile and with proper installation are weather-proof so you can leave them up all year long. We love these for under small overhangs like steps or the edge of a deck, bench or railing. The trend is to hide the light fixture so a deck offers many grooves and nooks to install rope lighting. LED lights are available in a variety of colours so if you’re having a themed party you can add some sparkle to the patio with these.

A close cousin of rope lights are string lights. These are fun and easy to install, they’re portable, and often fairly affordable for even a one-time use for that special party. You can also get solar-powered string lights so you can place them and forget about them for the whole season (make sure you get waterproof, rated for outdoors, string lights).

String lights offer a lot of versatility and have the added bonus of generally being easy to install. String lights are available in LED in a variety of colours. Stringing lights over a sitting area or patio table creates an ethereal outdoor ceiling.

Fairy lights are fun when wrapped around plants, posts or in a tree. Incandescent bulbs offer the sought-after soft white light. Be sure the lights are rated for outdoor use, or plan to take them down after each use.

We think these are a fun way to brighten your deck without making a years-long commitment.

Mimic Moonlight From Nearby Trees
A popular landscape lighting design feature is to add spotlights high up in a tree so the light filters down through the leaves. This muted light can add a romantic feel to the landscape with light filtering down onto your deck or patio through the waving leaves. This type of light casts a wide path, but doesn’t have to be harsh or glaring. You’re trying to mimic moonlight, not the ambiance of a night-time game at Rogers Centre.

Knowing what type of atmosphere or aesthetic you want will definitely influence your choices and ultimately create an effect you’ll love for years to come.

Natural residential patio lighting
If you want your outdoor lighting to look more natural, consider adding a mixture of Tiki lamps and natural fixtures. Tiki lamps are really fun because they add the sense of real flickering flames rather than artificial light. Placed strategically around your yard or patio, they produce gorgeous natural shadows.

Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to soft white to create a natural look. Using soft green lighting among foliage creates the appearance of the sun or moon bouncing off the leaves. How fun! Additional lights could be subtle ambers to illuminate other natural features of your yard.

Ethereal Elegance
Want your patio or deck to have an enchanted magical feel possibly with fairies hiding in the shadows or playing among the foliage? Small pinpricks or lights hidden within foliage (gardens, planters, hanging pots, etc.) produce the appearance of a magical gathering within. Use this technique throughout your yard to extend the suspension of disbelief in your enchanted garden paradise.

Lighting Where Feet Tread Creates Subtle Ambiance
A continuing trend in outdoor lighting are fixtures that are low to the ground or recessed flush with a deck or walkway. This light isn’t so strong that guests are blinded, but by hiding the recessed lights among foliage or along the outside edge of stair treads, you create a pop of unexpected light shining all the attention on the texture, colour and shadows, or even something as basic as to highlight the safety aspects of your deck.

Pendants are very versatile. Whether you’re looking for an upcycled bohemian creation or something sleek and polished for an outdoor kitchen, pendent lights are a great option. Hang a pendant light (or two or three) from a tree branch over a table. Upcycle a hanging light for the evening over a sitting area or table for that special event.

Pergolas offer ideal structure to hang a pendant light. Hang a pendant light just for the night, or choose a style with some flair and let it stand as a focal point of the patio area during the day as well.

Stair Lights Can Serve More Than One Function
Small one and two step stairs can be more problematic than larger staircases, because people can miss that the stairs are there. Be kind and add some lighting to those one and two step changes on your decking or down to a pathway.

LED rope lights are effective used this way if an outlet is nearby. Landscape lighting can also be effective if the lights are placed in the adjacent flower bed so that light and not shadows are cast on the stairs.

Nite Time Décor Oakville specializes in helping our clients design a truly unique lighting plan for their home or business. Contact our lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.