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Choosing the Correct Low Voltage Lighting Fixtures For Your Deck and Garden

Over the last few years using low voltage lighting to light your deck and garden has really taken off. As we spend more time on our decks and patios we want to make extend that time into the evening.

It’s also nice to look at our yard and garden at night and see it cascaded in a nice light. You can also use low voltage lighting to light your walkway, paths and steps. This will ensure your friends can see your steps and paths when coming or going at night.

Because of all of this interest there is now a large variety of low voltage lighting fixtures available to purchase and styles and designs are being released. So where do you start and what is the right fixture your yard or deck.

When installing a low voltage lighting system you need to understand where you want to install your lighting and what you want your lighting system to do. Once you know that, you can pick out the proper fixture for your application.

Lighting Your Deck

Lighting your deck and pool with recessed deck lighting.For the deck you want to have a soft light that doesn’t blind people while they are sitting down. Here’s a few good fixtures for this application:

  • Post cap light – is mounted on the deck post, make sure you get the right size of cap light for your post. Post are usually 3.5” by 3.5” or 4” by 4”. Make sure you measure the post before ordering the fixture.
  • In deck lighting disks – these are flush mounted on your deck board. The ones from Rockler can be stepped on and driven over. These lighting disks or pucks are mounted on a wooden deck and the low voltage cable runs under the deck. If your deck is made of composite lumber check with the lighting manufacturer before ordering to make sure you can install them. This is because you need to drill a hole into the material.
  • Deck light on the post or baluster – are usually mounted low on your post or baluster. They provide a nice soft light and they are also great for lighting the deck stairs if you have a post to mount the fixture on.

Lighting Your Garden

Outdoor landscape lighting depends on the layout of your backyard garden and the affect you want. You probably want to use a combination of accent lighting, flood lighting, spot lighting, uplighting, down lighting and grazing. The fixtures for lighting affects are very similar and they are usually mounted in the ground and you can point the light to the plant or feature you want to light.

Lighting Your Paths and Walkways

Patio lighting is similar to deck lighting, you want light the garden path or walkway but also have it accent the features of your garden or deck. These fixtures are usually low to the ground or pathway and and mounted on a stake or post. This lighting is also good for security purposes.

Lighting Your Stairs

Lighting your deck and stairs with accent lighting.There is a wide selection of fixtures for stair lighting, here’s partial list of what is available:

  • In deck lighting disk – these are the same disks or pucks that you can use on your deck, but they are mounted on your wooden steps.

  • Post lighting – is mounted a foot or two from the bottom of your stair post and shines on your stairs.

  • Under the step lighting – you can purchase small light fixtures that can be mounted under the step. These will light up the actual step and provide a soft accent lighting. Very functional but not too bright.

Final Tips

Depending on the manufacturer you might be able to mix the different style of fixtures and use one transformer. Just make sure that the transformer can handle the wattage of all of your fixtures. You also want to take into account the low voltage cable lighting loss. Also make sure gauge of the cable can handle the wattage of all of your bulbs.

If you are interested in using solar lighting, please read this article on solar lighting frequently asked questions.

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