Garden decking is something that has barely gone out of fashion. From the 1990s onwards, it has been common to see timber and composite decking installations becoming centrepieces across the UK. And why not? Providing they are maintained well, a garden deck can make for the perfect entertaining zone, hot tub surround, or sundeck.
When the sun goes down, however, it pays to have some form of nocturnal illumination. This is especially the case if you are likely to host garden parties and gatherings during the summer! Below, we offer a look at some wonderful, workable decking light ideas to help transform your alfresco areas.
Illuminate Steps Up to Your Decking
Of course, while deck lighting is a fantastic stylistic choice, it can also be a massive boon for safety purposes. For example, while you may be keen to set up deck lighting in your main zone, it may also pay to set up these lights on route to the area too.
This is especially worthwhile if the route is not well-lit in the first instance. For example, you may ask your guests to head to the decking via a long, darkened outdoor path. Or, you might have a raised patio or deck that you need steps to reach. If no other external lighting is available, it pays to install in-floor lights.
For example, in-floor lights such as the LED Deck Light with Canister in Stainless Steel are perfect. These clean, stylish light fittings will snugly install into your steps and/or deck flooring. What’s more, you won’t have to expect them to overpower the look of your decking, either.
This safety measure is all well and good, but of course, it also needs to add to the ambience. There is such a concept as having too many decking lights installed too closely together. Therefore, you may wish to go sparing to help reduce the glow. Lighting is, as you know, a fantastic asset to outdoor areas. However, in flooring on the approach to your main decking, it can get overpowering.
The great part about this ‘usage style’ is that it’s very flexible. In some cases, you can even install lights on the front of each step if you have a series leading up. The choice is yours – but we think a subtle, well-spaced approach can work wonders. There is certainly nothing stopping you from installing further lights on your entertaining deck beyond, too.
Make Your Perimeter Glow
To create a genuinely cosy feel in an enclosed patio or roof garden space, why not choose deck lights? Deck lighting, carefully spaced around the edges of your alfresco nook, can help to create a stunning, warming effect. This will be especially welcome, of course, during colder months. Again, be careful not to put them too close together, as there is a chance the light may be too intense.
An excellent application for this style of deck lighting rig can be an outdoor spa or hot tub. Hot tubs are traditionally enjoyed after-hours. Therefore, it stands to reason that you may wish to light up the surrounding walls, too. The great part of hot tubbing is the year-round appeal. Therefore, if you are particularly clever with the decking light arrangement, you can add to the overall warmth.
There are plenty of deck lights that could help you create this perimeter glow. In fact, we may suggest you opt for smaller nodules, where possible. Our LED deck lights and canisters in 31mm diameter stainless steel may be just what you’re looking for. These lighting pods can insert flush into your deck, meaning that they won’t overpower the ambience.
A glowing perimeter can be fantastic for socialising zones where you are likely to entertain on summer evenings. They can also help to add to an evening dining atmosphere. Deck lighting can be romantic when installed in the right way!
A glowing perimeter may not be for everyone, but it is a fantastic choice if you have a boxed-in patio. For larger or wider-open areas, this look might not be the best fit. However, it is an increasingly popular choice – take a look at a few designs and fit-outs online for inspiration. Give your garden some glow!
Focus on The Corners
As mentioned several times already, spacing is crucial. There may not be many exact rules of thumb for lighting spacing when it comes to decking. However, there are things you can keep in mind to reduce glare. Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do to reduce the intensity immediately is to head to the corners.
The corners of your decking should typically be pretty spaced-apart, regardless of size. What’s more, corner placements will flood your space with just enough light in darker conditions. If you have many vertices in your decking setup, you may wish to travel the “less is more” route. That’s when it pays to draw up a plan before installing anything outright.
Larger LED decking lights such as the in 63mm diameter (inground stainless steel) are perfect for corner setups. They will neither get lost in your physical fencing or perimeter nor completely overpower the aesthetic. Of course, we do provide smaller spotlights and LEDs, too, should you wish to consider a less heavy setup.
Corner LEDs for decking work brilliantly in spa and pool installations. This is because you can effectively point each corner of your tub with light – and not overpower it. The focal point of your hot tub or spa deck should, of course, be the water feature. Corner decking lights will enable you to highlight the area without creating additional focal points.
Again, this is very much an optional choice. We would highly recommend corner-based decking lights if you are unsure how to space them out. Combined with carefully spaced deck lights on the approach (as above), you could create a stylish, subtle atmosphere. The focus will still be on your hut tub or main decking – it’s just a case of creating the highlights.
Sit Over Your Lighting
Yes, believe it or not, placing some of your furniture actually over the deck lights themselves can be very effective. That said, you will certainly need to make sure that you choose the right furniture. What’s more, you certainly don’t want decking lights that are likely to be too intense for this purpose. That, and too little light, and you just won’t see it emitting through.
To achieve a careful balance, you may wish to choose our 316L LED deck lights in stainless steel. Available in 42mm, these lighting pods are fantastic at producing just enough illumination to avoid overpowering. What’s more, they will make themselves seen if you use them in conjunction with the suitable materials.
So – which furniture will work best with this style of deck lighting? From the get-go, you should consider using slightly opaque decking furniture. Anything that’s too transparent will just create an odd glow effect. Something stylish and modern, such as rattan, may work well. Even a touch of wicker could work wonders here.
You should also choose furniture that doesn’t reach entirely to the ground. By this, we mean a unit that has a gap between the underside and the deck itself. A lounger or outdoor sofa that is flush with the floor will hardly show off your lighting.
Consider chaise-lounges or styling chairs that have visible legs and feet. Deck lighting used under furniture will work best with permanent fixtures. Therefore, consider having your lighting installed for that purpose. Occasionally moving a single chair or two over the odd light simply won’t do.
This is a somewhat odd choice for deck lighting on the whole, as not many people consider it. However, it is perfectly viable, and when set up correctly, can create some stunning effects. Just pick the right furniture!
Don’t Spoil the View!
It pays to ‘keep’ that view when you have a decking area that is high up and overlooking areas beyond. Roof gardens and elevated decking or patios are truly magnificent. You may be looking over water features, forestry, your wider garden, or the city and neighbourhood beyond. Regardless, the last thing you will want to do is take away from that stunning focal point.
So, the key here is to use your deck lights sparingly, at low intensity, and at a smaller size. Smaller lighting options such as the LED markers in stainless steel could be ideal. Or, you may wish to use a marker light in the form of our stainless-steel mini pod.
Both options provide intense enough light to make a difference while never truly dominating the atmosphere. Used sparingly enough in corners, you could create a subtle ambience without spoiling the view. Then again, if you feel that the view could use accentuating, you can go right ahead.
If the latter is likely to be the case, you should consider employing the ‘corners’ method as detailed. Even if the best view in the world could benefit from extra illumination, it is easier to overdo it than to undersell it. One of the best things to do is look for ideas online. Pinterest tends to be a fantastic resource!
Of course, our team is also well-versed in decking installations in a variety of different ways. The sunken in-floor lights explored here are just the beginning. If your decking doesn’t give much of a view beyond the ground floor, then you needn’t worry.
Just make sure to apply a little logic, and don’t go for the brightest bulbs in the online catalogue.
Under The Bridge
Finally, we’re coming full circle to an extent with this idea. At the head of this guide, we suggested using deck lights for safety and guidance. That may well apply to steps, stairs, and ramps. But what about bridges?
It is not unheard of for homes across the UK to have bridges stretching over small streams or water features. If these are filled with rockery alone, then you may wish to light your way. Did you know that you could install lighting underneath your boardwalk decking to create a fantastic new effect? Just because you can’t see the lighting pods outright doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from their presence.
A lighted boardwalk or bridge can make for a fantastic walkway. It’ll help to introduce your guests to a spectacular outdoor seating or entertaining area. Alternatively, it may be a further romantic installation you wish to consider for cool summer nights.
On top of all of this, let us come back to safety. Lighting such as our stainless steel deck lights in 42mm, is highly dependable. When installed as part of a bridge, walkway, or boardwalk, you provide guests with plenty of guidance underfoot.
42mm is an ideal size of lighting that is big enough to support without overwhelming the atmosphere. You should also consider spacing this style of lighting so that you do not create unnecessary intensity. The idea is to create a stylish, guiding boardwalk – not to dazzle people before they reach the seating area!
You may well see this style of deck lighting used in hotels and resorts. There are absolutely no reasons why you can’t put these touches to great use at home! We have a variety of different fittings that will work well either way up, too. Why not look at things from the other way up?
Deck lighting, as you can see, can be highly versatile and flexible. Are there any ideas in this list that appeal to you? Why not take a browse at our broader catalogue? Arrow Electrical is here to help you bring your outdoor illumination to a fantastic new standard.