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Top Five Design Tips for Low Voltage Deck Lighting

Designing a low voltage deck lighting system is a simple home improvement project, but it gives you the perfect opportunity to be really creative. With such a wide variety of low voltage deck lights and accessories to choose from, you’re really limited only by your imagination.

You don’t have to be an expert electrician or an architect to design a good deck lighting scheme, but there are a few practical tips you should follow.

1. Think safety first

A low voltage lighting scheme should not only look great, it should provide safety and security around the deck at night. Use spotlights to highlight stairways, steps, doorways and the deck perimeter. Use recessed deck lights to define deck and stair boundaries and highlight potential hazards.

2. Avoid glare

A light shining in your eyes can be uncomfortable when you are sitting on a nice deck. Don’t place a strong light source where it will bounce directly off a hard surface, such as the surface of the deck or a wall. Use indirect lighting that creates a gentle, even wash of light over all parts of the deck.

3. Test lighting

Test lighting on stairs and decks using a flashlight or battery powered lantern, whichever best imitates the the kind of light source you are thinking of installing. A flashlight is directional and will allow you to see the shadows created by a direct beam of light. A lantern illuminates 360 degrees, much like a post cap light. Mark the best locations with sticky notes and try different configurations. Record the best configuration on your paper plan.

4. Stairs

If you are using post mounted lights, add a light to every other post so that the lights alternate on either side of the stair. These downward directed light sources create pools of light. If you are using in-deck lights, install a light in every stair. This type of light source creates a pinpoint light effect that does not illuminate.

5. Installation

Always test light fixtures before installation. To avoid unsightly cables on post mounted lights, predrill the posts and connect the wiring on the underside of the deck. Consider mounting the lights 16" to 24" above the deck.

For more tips on lighting your deck and patio, please read these articles:

Using low voltage lighting to light your stairs

Outdoor patio lights look great on any deck or patio

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