Your outdoor decking is likely to be a spot in your garden where you’ll want to spend a lot of time! After all, modern decking solutions can be stylish, rustic, or even eye-catching. Therefore, it stands to reason you’re going to need to keep the area illuminated when the sun goes down.
Decking zones are great for entertaining. When you feel like heading out into the garden in summer evenings with guests, it makes sense to light the way. Nights may be shorter in the summer, but before you know it, your party will be awash in darkness!
At Arrow Electrical, we work hard to provide a wide range of outdoor lighting. However, we understand that lighting decks are trendy for modern buyers, whether recessed or otherwise.
Therefore, keep reading, and we’ll share some ideas on how to illuminate your decking for the better. No matter the size or style of your deck, there are great ways to keep it lit up!
Light Your Steps and Stairs
As always, it’s worth remembering that lights are helpful from a safety and security perspective. Without them, you may not always know the best ways to head to and from the garden in the dark! The trick is, therefore, to consider balancing style with safety. When it comes to decking, safety is a chief concern.
This especially emerges when you consider steps and stairs. Some high decking platforms will need stairs to access. Others, meanwhile, may be pitted or recessed. In either case, anyone heading to and fro will need to watch their feet. The last thing anyone will need is to trip or use a torch.
Thankfully, there are more ways for you to light stairs and steps. You could either choose recessed lighting to install in your steps or light from underneath. In either case, these options ensure that the steps in use are always subject to a clear glow. What’s more, a delightful array of recessed floor lighting in deck steps can add a lot of character.
Lighting underneath your decking is viable where possible, but it’s often balanced around your deck style or type. Therefore, you may wish to consider spike lights, too. Options such as our stylish yet easily hidden Jura Spike Spot can wash your steps in a safe glow. If recessed lighting or floor spots aren’t feasible, this spotlight can angle up to where your steps lead.
Regardless, one of the first things to always consider is safety around your decking. If your deck has a few steps leading up, it’s worth considering a rail. Then, be sure to set up lighting along the route. These lights should activate after the sun goes down, making it safe and easy to trail back.
Again, the difference is that you have to take a torch. Or, worse, someone trips and has an accident. Even on a flat approach without steps, it makes sense to try and light the way for optimal safety.
Go Sparing with In-Floor Lights
As mentioned, in-floor lighting, or recessed deck lighting, tends to be very popular. They can blend flush into your deck steps or flooring, meaning that there’s no extra footprint. What’s more, they free up a lot of potential space to move around. You’ll also find that the best floor lighting for decks can illuminate quite broad areas, too.
Consider flexible LED-MIDI outdoor decking lights, for example. These spot lights can be used to blend into decking floors as well as walls. They are low energy and are easy to install – whether you have a new decking installation or are working on an older model. In any case, it’s easy enough to get up and running with these incredible pieces.
However, a word of caution – go sparing. It’s tempting to cover the whole of a decking floor or staircase with lights. Just as you would go sparing on bulbs or lighting inside the home, be careful on the outside deck.
While you are out in the open, as-is, there is still the chance of glare or even of overpowering illumination. What you ideally should aim to do is, again, light spots for safety first. Then, consider touches and elements in your decking and outdoor zones that you wish to highlight.
Lining up in-floor lights bulb after bulb will get tiresome. Consider placing a spot in either corner of your decking zone, for example. This should give you ample light coverage and draw out the edges and shaping of your deck. In occasional scenarios, you may be able to carefully balance them with overhead lights.
Our advice will be to set up a few trial lights first and see how they look. Choose bulbs akin to the power you’ll buy for in-floor lighting if you are yet to set up a deck. Rather than plunging straight into light planning ad hoc, try before you buy. This way, you won’t end up with a glaring light display that doesn’t work for you.
Choose Low Energy Bulbs
Thankfully, LEDs are lower energy now than ever before. When we consider even those bulbs designated as energy-saving in the past, electricity demand was still high. Modern LEDs are fantastic for emulating natural light, and just enough – without burning a hole in the bank account. What’s more, the best LED bulbs will fit a variety of outdoor lighting solutions.
At Arrow Electrical, we’ve made a point to bring together scores of outdoor lighting standards that work with LEDs. However, it is still worthwhile to try and look carefully at the wattage and standard of LED you invest in. For example, we’d highly recommend you consider LED GU10 bulbs when using fittings such as SP1303s.
Our reason to suggest this works twofold. For one, you are immediately benefitting from using less energy – that means less money spent on lighting the deck. Secondly, you never overpower your decking or outdoor area with too much light. Utilising traditional or outdated bulbs, even outside, puts you at risk of glare or intensive brightness.
LEDs primed for outdoor use are perfect at delivering just enough glow in balance. They will copy the gentle, natural light of the sun once it has gone down. What’s more, you can safely build an entertaining area around soft lighting. You can give you and your guests enough space to see each other and enjoy summer evenings.
On top of this, investing in low energy bulbs is a matter of conscience. If you are set to use your outdoor decking a lot this year, consider the energy you expend. It all adds to a high level of carbon. As you may already know, carbon expenditure continues to harm the planet and our atmosphere.
As such, energy-saving and low energy LEDs are great choices if you want to continue doing your part for the environment. We all have a role to fill. If that means simply changing over a few bulbs, it is certainly worth doing.
Choose Gentle Overhead Lighting
Of course, it is easy to forget that it is also simple to light decking and garden zones from above, too! While recessed and floor lighting in your decking may be appealing, what if you have a pergola? If you benefit from a pergola or a wooden canopy, it may be just as appealing to hang lighting to glow downwards.
Again, you will need to be careful to avoid overpowering a space with too much light. Much as you’d set up hanging lighting indoors, be careful not to install too many lights in a similar fashion. Depending on the size of your outdoor zoning, be sure to use a sizeable hanging pendant in an open style. This can spread light to all corners and vertices.
Or, you could choose to set up small lights in high pergola corners. This could be used similarly to using the corners on your decking floor. Then, you could also hang lanterns or lighting in a line across your pergola interior. The choice, ultimately, is yours!
If you don’t find the idea of hanging or ceiling lights to be appealing, consider wall lights. You could set up installations such as our outdoor ground spike or wall light to adorn one or two surfaces. However, never install them on more than two – as again, you will likely find the glare intense.
It’s also why balancing hanging lights with decking floor lights should be taken cautiously, too. A beam up and down will likely clash, meaning that you should try and choose one or the other where possible. With floor deck lights, you could also set up a central table light or lamp in your pergola or interior decking.
It’s highly prudent to start your planning in advance. Test a few low-energy bulbs if you already have a canopy or pergola. See how they look in different positions and at different angles. With hanging lights, at least, there should be some flexibility.
There’s flexibility, too, in spike lighting – we highly recommend it!
Wash With Light from Afar
If all else fails, you do not always have to set up lights directly on your decking to illuminate it. After all, it’s entirely possible to set up flexible spike lighting that can beam from afar. Again, in line with our advice above, try to sway towards low energy bulbs wherever possible.
However, try to look for lighting options with maximum flexibility and angling choices. Some of the best spike lights and posts in our catalogue will carry light far and wide. In addition, also consider floodlights. Mountable from up high, a good floodlight solution will cover enough ground on its own.
We highly recommend the flexible, mountable LED 10W outdoor floodlight in our catalogue for this purpose. This model is designed and built to offer fantastic landscape lighting support. That means it can come in handy for creating focal points and illuminating specific zones.
With floodlights and well-positioned spike lighting, you can keep your decking free from bulbs. Not everyone likes the idea of covering the whole of a deck with lights, in which case, beam from afar. It’s also worth noting that your attitude to long-distance lighting may depend on your garden size.
In some cases, floodlights and long-washing lights may cause significant glare. That’s because you may have a space that’s small or tightly packed. This is less likely to be a concern with a large, open pergola.
Therefore, look carefully at more than just flush decking lights or those built for purpose. We provide lighting for gardens in various shapes and forms. There’s no correct or improper way to illuminate your decking. If you want to avoid creating too much intensive lighting, then a hands-off approach may be the best way to go.
Just be careful when blending too many different lighting types and styles together – that is key!
Garden and outdoor decking is extremely popular – and why wouldn’t it be? Stylish, natural wooden planking and decking can help tie a garden together. It’s a great spot to host parties and gatherings and set up sun loungers and tables. It’s also ideal to set up an array of different lighting across the board.
As always, don’t simply choose the first deck lights that appeal to you. Consider our advice above – and make sure to try before you buy. Set up light spots on or around your decking to check the effect.
Arrow Electrical is a leading purveyor in fantastic outdoor lighting solutions. Take a look through our wider catalogue for ideas, and let our team know if you need help. Making your decking look great in the dark needn’t be a hassle! Add a unique twist or theme to your decking in just a handful of lighting options.