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How to Shop Like an 'Exterior Designer for Deck Lighting and Other Deck Accessories'

(ARA) - Products to beautify the inside of your home come in styles as varied as your imagination. It's no surprise then that today, there is also an endless array of options for putting the finishing touch on your lawn, garden, patio, deck or dock.

The surge in popularity of outdoor living space has brought many new options in decking and decorative railings, deck lighting and other design accents. A new category of "exterior designers" are creating distinctive outdoor living areas for their clients, and manufacturers are quick to oblige with options.

Chelsey Gardner, an outdoor design expert and owner of Creative Curb Appeal in Dallas, says she tells her clients to start with a trip to the home improvement store.

"The big retailers are a great place to get basic ideas. Since the selection the stores carry is just the tip of the iceberg, if you want something a little different, just stop by the special order desk to see what other options are out there," she says.

Retail experts say that home improvement stores are great at identifying products that will appeal to the masses. Many of the suppliers whose products line the shelves at the biggest retailers also have dozens of other lines and products to choose from. Usually you can order them right at the store or have them shipped direct from the manufacturer by shopping online.

Very nice metal decorative post cap lightFor example, take outdoor lighting and post cap manufacturer Maine Ornamental. You will find several different post caps and outdoor lights made by the company on the shelves at the big retailers. But Rick Preble, the company's president, says they actually make more than 300 different post caps and dozens of solar lights.

"You can see our biggest selling products at retail stores everywhere, but if you visit the special order desk or our Web site at www.postcaps.com, you'll find hundreds of products to choose from," Preble says.

This year, Maine Ornamental introduced a large line of solar lighted post caps. Although the most popular style -- a classic, copper-topped post cap with a solar- powered light -- is a Lowe's exclusive, there are dozens more you won't find on any retail shelves.

Great looking glass deck rail and tiffany post cap lightTiffany-style glass post caps are available in two different sizes with a variety of different woods and composite materials available. Three different design options, with or without lights, mean there are literally dozens of custom options you can create for your own deck or fence.

"Outdoor lighting has become a big market. It beautifies your home and landscape and enhances special features at night," Preble says." It lights the pathways and creates security and peace of mind. It can also set a mood. We wanted to get creative with lighting, so we've designed styles that offer lots of options, from the simple to the elaborate."

All of the post caps in the Maine Ornamental lighting collection were designed for easy installation on fences, decks, posts or docks with no need for wiring or electricity. The Convertible Post Cap Lights offer the option of using candles or a solar cell to power long-lasting LED lights.

"With women taking an active role in selecting the products that will go on the outside of their homes, the designs and options for even the smallest of details are getting more elaborate, and custom choices are always welcome," Gardner says.

Among her favorite new products, also from Maine Ornamental, are the Tiffany-style Glass Rail Accents, which fit vertically into a deck rail to create a stained-glass baluster that coordinates with the Tiffany-style post caps and lights.

The best thing about digging a little deeper with popular manufacturers is that you may just find something unique that will make your backyard distinctive and give it that finishing touch.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

For more creative ways to light your deck, please read these articles:

Create a magical lighting effect with solar post cap lights

Different styles of deck railing lights

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