Summer is on its way, and that means it’s time to prepare outdoor living spaces for the warmer months ahead. For many homeowners, this means updating patios and decks with new furniture and accessories, or –perhaps – a grill or outdoor kitchen. Another great way to elevate outdoor spaces is to install attractive lighting features that enhance the ambiance of exterior living environments while improving security and safety.
The most impactful lighting extends beyond function, also acting as an attractive decorative element that expresses personal style. While lighting has the power to transform any space, it is especially important in outdoor living areas.
Placing lights strategically to draw attention to more aesthetically pleasing spaces and divert the eye from less desirable spots gives homeowners more control over their environment while providing a pathway along stairs and making it easy to see railing boundaries.
There are many ways in which to incorporate lighting in outdoor living environments. Following are four tips for creating an outdoor space that shines.
In the spotlight. Adding post lighting to deck railings provides an additional, directional light source while enhancing the ambience of outdoor spaces. DesignRail® aluminum railings are available with optional LED Post Accent Lights, which feature decorative aluminum sconces that attach easily to the post face. Warm white LED bulbs produce an illuminating downward-facing light that highlights areas on the deck along with nearby landscape elements. A polycarbonate lens diffuses light more evenly and provides protection from the elements.
Lighting the way. While incorporating lighting in outdoor areas improves the look of decks and patios, it also helps to ensure safety. These high-traffic areas often lead to stairs and walkways, and should be well-lit to avoid slips and falls and make outdoor entertaining more worry-free. Incorporating rail lighting is an excellent way to illuminate an outdoor space while keeping safety in mind. LED Rail Lighting for DesignRail® can be added underneath the top rail to brighten a deck or patio or installed below the bottom rail to add much needed light to dark pathways.
TIP: When adding lighting elements to outdoor spaces, it’s recommended to use wet-rated products in areas that receive a significant amount of moisture or require protection from the rain and snow, such as under a porch overhang. Wet-rated lights are ideally-suited for areas exposed to the elements like deck railings. Additionally, these lights are made to withstand harsh or marine conditions encountered in coastal areas and are less likely to corrode from saltwater.
Setting the scene. Homeowners can take exterior lighting a step further by installing a compatible dimmer that can be adjusted to fit the mood. Brighter settings can be when entertaining and then dialed down for everyday enjoyment. Another feature that may be useful is a timer that cues lights to turn on automatically at dusk and then off again late in the evening. This takes the guesswork out of operating outdoor lights, whether home or away.
An all-around solution. Although there are several options for lighting outdoor spaces, the most energy-efficient choice is LED lighting, which has become increasingly popular due to its long lifespan. The ambient white light produced by LEDs will illuminate even the darkest areas, making this lighting type an excellent option for most situations. Feeney’s rail lighting options feature a high CRI (color rendering index) for a truer color presentation and utilize 24V LED lights rated for up to 50,000 hours for long-lasting performance.
Adding lighting to an outdoor living area can make it a more enjoyable place to unwind and relax. Well-chosen lighting solutions can highlight favorite parts of a landscape or be used to illuminate a dark pathway. They keep people safe by increasing visibility on stairs and walkways, and provide added peace of mind – all while delivering ambience and beauty.