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Create ambiance with great patio and deck lighting

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Outdoor lighting adds mood, safety and security.

Outdoor lighting adds mood, safety and security.

We’ve all been to an outdoor party on someone’s patio or deck where the lighting was doing wonders for the ambience. Most of us have the standard ‘back porch’ light bulbs, which provides limited light that creates shadows and invites insects to take roost.

Few of us realize that creating the right mood through patio and deck lighting is surprisingly easy. Not only does outdoor light create mood and beauty, it also provides safety and security. Here are few tips to help you turn your deck or patio into a nighttime oasis.

Recessed Lighting

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One of the most popular methods for lighting outdoor spaces is recessed lighting. Mounting small lights flush to decks and patios is a great way to provide light, while at the same time saving space. These lights can be walked on without damaging the fixture and are not damaged by weather.

Recessed lighting is ideal for illuminating the perimeter of decks, docks and patios and not only provides enough light for safety and security, but adds ambience and a beautiful glow to any outdoor living space. Although installing recessed lighting can be somewhat expensive, the result is well worth it.

Post Cap Lights

Another popular type of patio and deck lighting is post cap lights. These lights, which have larger fixtures than those associated with recessed lighting, attach to deck or patio railings or posts. The light projects 360 degrees around the fixture, ideal for marking the entrance to a deck or a flight of stairs. Post lights provide ample illumination for safety and security and look beautiful.

Low Voltage Lighting

When leaving outdoor lighting on, low voltage is an important consideration. Low voltage lighting is energy efficient, safe and easy to install, with or without an electrician. They can be installed or repositioned with the power on, so it is easy to make adjustments once the system is in place.

Low voltage lighting can be used in post cap lights and recessed lighting. In addition, low voltage lighting can be placed in objects like lanterns, statues or sculptures and then placed in the outdoor space.

Solar Lighting

With no wiring necessary, solar lighting is energy efficient and easy to install. Make sure to place solar lighting in a sunny area to ensure easy recharging. Solar lighting can be used in tabletop lanterns, post cap lighting or pole lamps.

With today’s environmental concerns, this type of patio and deck lighting is becoming more popular as the only energy required is the free energy of the sun.


Torches and Lanterns

The simplest way to light an outdoor area is to place torches or lanterns in and around the space.

  • Simple bamboo torches –  inexpensive and easy to install.

  • Aluminum, steel or brass torches – for those who prefer a more expensive version, these torches can be purchased in sets and are as easy to use as their bamboo counterparts. Simply drive the mounting pole into the ground or a pail of sand, or attach the torches permanently to a railing, cast iron stand or cement block. In addition to being easy to install, torches are easy to use as well. Most come with clean burning oil such as liquid paraffin and some oils contain citronella, which will help keep the bugs away in the warm summer months.

  • Gas and propane-burning torches – natural gas burning torches must be hooked up to your home’s natural gas line by a professional, while propane-burning torches are designed to use either conventional propane tanks or camping style canisters. Both propane and gas torches burn cleaner than oil, so there will be no residue or smoke, however, oil torches burn silently while gas torches hiss.

  • Lanterns  – a beautiful way to add ambience and light to any outdoor living space. These can be powered by electricity, or burn one of oil, kerosene, or candle. Oil and kerosene fuels are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain. Weather-resistant lanterns can be attached to deck railings or placed on stakes and driven into the ground. They can also be mounted on the wall, like sconces.

  • Outdoor lamps – along the lines of torches and lanterns are outdoor lamps. Similar to indoor lamps in appearance, these lights are weather resistant, sturdy and grounded, so you can use them safely outdoors.

  • Other simple ideas – Chinese lanterns and a string of LED lights that you can wind around railings or umbrella poles.
There are many ways to use patio and deck lighting to illuminate your outdoor living space and add ambience and beauty to your home.


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