Landscape lighting for your deck is essential for safety and enjoyment of the space that you have created on your site. Decks are designed to be a place for cookouts, parties and entertainment but without good lighting it can be dangerous and/or an uninviting place to be at night. Many times decks have elevation changes that involve stairs, seating, planter boxes and railing among other features so choosing lighting for these areas are crucial. Solar lighting is a great idea because it is simple to install (see our posting on solar lighting), very inexpensive to operate and from a design stand point they offer enough light to illuminate the features on the deck without over lighting it. Plus, solar lights eliminate the use of comber some wiring.
Deck lighting can come in various forms and shapes. There is recessed lighting that fits flush into the deck itself and can actually be stepped without damage to the light. Another option for deck lighting can be to have lamps on the deck. They can be quite decorative and come in many beautiful shapes in sizes. Solar deck lamps can be incorporated into the design of the deck from the beginning to add architectural elements while providing light. Also, solar light post caps are available and also serve to provide some added detail to the deck design while illuminating the posts. (Keep in mind that solar lights do not produce as much light as traditional lighting but with proper planning you can achieve great results.) There are also recessed step lights that fit flush into the riser decking and help to illuminate the steps and provide increased safety for the user as well as wall fixtures like sconces that add architectural flavor to your deck.
LED Lighting Offers Creativity, Energy Conservation
LED lighting (Lighting Emitted Diodes) is a new trend in lighting technology (introduced in the 1990s)and is being used in many creative ways in the landscape. LED lighting has a lot of advantages over halogen and incandescent lamps in that they are more durable ( they are not affected by vibration, which is great for applications like cars and motorcycles) thus always giving off a steady stream of light. Also, they can last up to 200,000 hours before replacement is required and they use much less power than traditional lighting, although some will need to be replaced after 50,000 hours. On average, LEDs will use about 80% less energy saving customers money throughout the year and conserving lots of energy. There are quite a few models out there that operate on solar power which can save even more money for the consumer in the long run. When the light does begin to burn out, it will slowly lose power and light as opposed to incandescent lights which just “burn out”.
One of the great benefits of LED landscape lighting is that they come in a range of colors and you can really get creative with them. Think about how you could use blue LEDs to highlight a portion of your garden that has Blue Salvia or a cascading fountain . Or how a red LED could be used to do the same with mass plantings of Red Petunias or Geraniums. The possibilities are endless! Here are some great examples of LED lighting.
There are a few disadvantages that you should consider when thinking about LED lighting. If you live in the northern states, snow accumulation on the lights can be a problem since they do not produce much heat at all. They run at about 60 degrees celcius, which is great in most circumstances, but freezing and bursting can be an issue for thos in cold climates. Also, LEDs don’t produce quite as much light as halogens and incandescent so keep that in mind. You may want to use a mixture of both in your landscape.