With the right decking lighting ideas you really can add another dimension to your garden design scheme — not only will the way you illuminate your deck make it useable day and night, but it can also inject character and highlight any features you particularly love.
Once you have turned your decking ideas into a reality you will no doubt be keen to make the most of them even when the sun sets and this is where your exterior lighting comes in. There are lots of different ways to light up decking, from overhead fittings to those designed specifically for installing into a deck. Combining several different types of lighting is also a great idea that means you will be able to create a number of various moods and effects depending on how you want to use the space and at different times of day.
Here, we have rounded up some of the most beautiful ways to light a deck so no matter what style of decking you have opted for there is bound to be something to catch your eye.
Which decking lighting ideas are right for you?
Before making any decisions on the type of lights you are going to use to illuminate your decking, you need to carefully consider how you are planning on using the space and take into account any features on or around the deck that you want to highlight.
Just as choosing the right materials and painting decking can totally transform the look of the new space, so too can your lighting choices. For example, small recessed deck lights set around the edges of the structure really help to define a deck as a prominent garden feature, while using uplighters can draw attention to plants. Overhead fittings or spotlights can both direct the eye to key features as well as providing good general background lighting.
Here, we look at all kinds of ideas, from those that will require wiring in, and therefore need a little forward planning, to fittings that can be added easily at a later date.
1. Define the deck with inset lights
Fitting your deck with small inset decking lights is a great way to define the space, drawing all eyes to the spot. This is also a really practical idea as it decreases the risk of falling off the edge of a raised deck as light begins to fade. Failing to light a deck well has to be of the most common decking mistakes.
Here, Saxby Drako Daylight White Polished Stainless Steel lights, available in kit from from Wickes, have been set into the edge of the decking to add a glow to the space, highlight the contemporary design of the wood and make out the edges of the raised structure.
2. Fit overhead lighting into a roof overhang
If your deck is forming a seating spot or terrace that leads directly out from your interior spaces it is a great idea to create an overhang. Not only will this shade the deck from full sunlight and help prevent overheating inside, but it will also provide the perfect spot in which to fit some recessed downlights.
Here, the deck is lit not only from above, but also benefits from wall lights, attached to the exterior of the house.
The best outdoor wall lights should be capable of not only giving off a good amount of general light but should also help highlight any architectural features.
3. Hang strings of festoon lighting for a laidback look
Turn your deck into a magical retreat that everyone will gravitate to as the sun sets with a selection of sparkling lights. Fairy lights and strings of festoon lights look beautiful strung around and above decking. Use a pergola, trees or fences as hanging spots and consider solar-powered or battery operated products if you don't have access to mains power.
You might also like to consider incorporating lighting into your decking balustrade ideas — weaving lights through railings can look very effective.
4. Add recessed spots to deck steps
You've got to grips with how to build a raised deck and may well be standing back admiring the finished article — but have you thought about how to light it?
If your deck is on multiple levels or is accessed via steps, fitting recessed deck lights into the treads and risers of the steps is a really effective way to highlight changes in level as well as working well from a practical perspective.
These lights, from Screwfix, are available in kit form and give out a cool white light that is perfect for highlighting surrounding plants and structures.
5. Invest in some funky light-up seating
Turn your deck into the talking point of your garden by furnishing it with some really eye-catching features and items — and if they happen to light up then even better.
From raised fire pits to illuminated furniture, there are plenty of pieces out there to choose from, but we love these Multicoloured Outdoor LED Cube Tables/Stools from Lime Lace that are operated by remote control and not only give off a great bright light but can also be used as seating or as a side table.
6. Highlight features and textures with low level lights
Low level lighting works particularly well on decks where it can really highlight the boundaries of the space, setting it apart from the rest of the landscaping scheme. In addition, any pots, plants or flowerbeds that surround your decking, as well as your carefully-chosen decking colour ideas, can be brought to life by this kind of lighting.
Here, Faro Saura Outdoor Bollard Lights, from Naken, have been placed to give a glow to the green foliage that spills over onto the deck.
7. Nestle stake lights into flowerbeds
If your deck is surrounded by grass or has flowerbeds butting up to it then these can make the perfect spot for stake lights.
This is a really simply yet effective way to light up a deck, taking the idea of garden flares to another level. Stake lights are available in all kinds of designs and in heights to suit your particular space and this is the perfect option for anyone after small decking ideas too as the lights won't steal any space from the deck itself.
These LED Metal Pathway Lights from Wayfair are solar powered meaning no electricity connection will be required and they can simply be secured into the ground.
8. Add a pop of colour with decking lights
Coloured or colour changing deck lights are a great way to add a fun finish to the space — perfect for parties or for changing the atmosphere depending on the situation. Blue tends to create a chilled, calming ambience while pinks and reds are great for livening up a gathering.
These recessed LED deck lights, from Screwfix, are colour-changing and are remote controlled. Plus, if you are wondering how to clean decking, you might like to know that they can be jet washed so no need to worry about damaging them to get your deck sparkling.
9. Define your deck with post lights
Post or 'bollard' lights look fantastic when used around the edges or in the corners of decking. They add a little height to the structure, shed a good amount of light over the surface of the deck and create a sense of boundary that helps to define the spot as a separate space.
Here, the Faro Barcelona Beret Outdoor Bollard Light from Naken, with a smart dark grey aluminium finish, adds the perfect modern touch to this deck.
10. Conjure up a magical space with a wall of light
What could feel more magical that being cocooned in a swathe of tiny sparkling lights as the sun disappears? This is a brilliant idea, perfect if your deck is surrounded by a hedge, fence or wall.
If you are wondering how to cover a boring fence then this is the ideal solution. Veiling the fence that sits behind this deck with fairy lights in a mix of warm and cool lights creates a lovely glittering effect. Here Lumify Warm White & White USB Solar Fairy Lights from Solar Centre have been used.
11. Suspend strings of bulbs from your pergola
If you have used a pergola as one of your patio cover ideas make sure you get the very most of it by suspending lights from the frame, along with climbing plants and and perhaps some form of shading, such as a sail.
Pergolas are the perfect place from which to hang all kinds of exterior lighting, from lanterns and outdoor chandeliers to strings of fairy or festoon lights. Setting your decking lights on a timer is a great way to ensure that the space comes to life just when you want it to and avoids you having to traipse down the garden to switch them off again when bed calls.
This Outdoor Festoon Lighting, from Sparkle Lighting is designed to be plugged in and comes with a 5m or 10m long cable.
12. Artfully position lanterns on your deck
There are few things more enchanting in the garden than the flicker of candlelight but it can be hard to know how to get the glow in the garden. Firstly there is the matter of safety, particularly if you are placing candles near wooden structures. Secondly, there is the fact that candles are likely to be quickly extinguished by the slightest gust of wind.
If you fancy introducing candles to your decked space, choose a selection of storm lanterns to place your chosen products in and use them at different heights, around the perimeter but away from access points, and on tables. Some candle lanterns can also be hung from pergolas.
These nautical themed circular lanterns are from Annabel James and come with a robust rope handle should you wish to hang them.
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Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.