Adding deck lights to your deck surface and fence projects will truly enhance your outdoor spaces. Deck lights add ambiance, style and safety by providing the right amount of radiance to seating areas, stairways, walkways and other sections of your outdoor space. Deck lighting adds a finishing touch to your outdoor projects. They may encourage more time spent outdoors and can increase your livable space and property value. Below are some things to consider when adding outdoor lighting. No matter which style you choose, deck lights can make a dramatic difference to the appearance and mood of your outdoor areas. Have fun deciding.


Solar Deck Lights are an ideal way to decorate your deck or fence project with a shimmering, ambient glow. Installation is simple: no wiring nor electricity required. These deck lights come equipped with long life LED bulbs and replaceable, rechargeable batteries that can last up to 5 years. During the day the deck lighting will charge, while at night they turn on thanks to the built-in photo-eye technology; perfect for any outdoor lighting needs. Run time depends on season and location. Solar lights also require post caps. They should be placed in full sun for maximum brightness and duration. These outdoor lights should be exposed to least 6 hours of direct sunlight, although newer technology may require less sun exposure. Please note, your location and time of year can affect the solar lighting brightness and run time.

  • Pros: Solar deck lighting will increase the visibility of your outdoor living space, making it safer for you and your guests. This is especially beneficial if you plan on having evening gatherings or spending time outside after dark. Plus ease of Installation. Installing deck lights adds an inviting and cozy atmosphere to your deck or patio. The soft glow from the lights creates a warm and comfortable environment.

  • Cons: When exploring for deck lighting options, you'll find that solar lights are both effective and eco-friendly. However, these may not be as bright as hardwired lights. Additionally, in order to ensure the best illumination possible from a solar light it must have unfiltered access to sunlight; notably less light will be produced on cold days or when there is bad weather such as rain or snow.

Low Voltage Lighting (12 Volt) requires a transformer to lower the voltage from 110 volts down to 12, which is then placed outside of your residence. You have numerous options when it comes to activating and deactivating these outdoor deck lights - whether its through programmable timers already included with the device or photo-eye sensors that switch on at sunset and off after 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours. Low voltage lights can be set up by professional electricians if needed (but check local regulations first). Plus, they are energy efficient. You don't need to worry about high electricity bills as they require very little energy.

  • Pros: The significant advantages of these outdoor deck lights are abundant; they offer brighter and consistent outdoor deck lighting, both during the day and at night. Additionally, some styles even allow you to dim them if desired. Moreover, with easy DIY installation methods available for use, you can easily turn lights on or off manually as needed or add either a timer switch or photo-eye sensor for extra convenience.

  • Cons: Necessitates electricity, and you may need to hire an expert for installation. Furthermore, needs a power source as well as transformer, wiring, pigtail connectors (optional), and additional instruments.

Types of Low Voltage Lighting:

  • Alternating Current (A/C) is the most common low voltage lighting using incandescent or Halogen bulbs. They are easy to install, run on an A/C current and do not require parallel wiring. Each fixture connects to the main wire in any order, then the main wire connects to the terminals on the transformer.

  • Direct Current (D/C) typically use LED bulbs and must be wired in parallel (white wire to white wire, black wire to black wire). There are two advantages to using a D/C system: (1) lower power consumption and (2) more fixtures can be placed on a single transformer. However, wiring must be done correctly or none of the deck lights will work.

  • Line Voltage Post Cap Lights (110 Volt) produce the brightest lights and can be set up on the same switch as other line voltage light allowing the lights to be controlled from inside the home. Timers can also be used to turn the lights on and off automatically. The drawback to 110 volt lighting is it typically must be installed by a licensed electrician and many areas require a permit for installation.


Lighted and non-lighted post caps come in a variety of sizes to fit deck and fence posts made of wood, metal, composite and vinyl/pvc. Make sure to measure your post for a proper fit and use actual measurements, not nominal. For example, 4x4 wood posts have an actual measurement of 3 ½ x 3 ½ inches. While 4x4 vinyl posts measure a true 4” x 4”.  

Fixture Sizes:

  • Ornamental: 2, 2 ½ and 3 inches

  • Wood: 3 ½ and 5 ½ inches

  • Composite: 4, 4 3/8, 4 ½ inches

  • Vinyl/PVC: 4, 5 and 6 inches


As you weigh the color and look of your outdoor deck lighting, think about what will mesh well with the current aesthetic. To attain a pleasant appearance, select post caps that match or subtly contrast with your deck posts' hue. For additional lighting, add post cap lights. On the other hand, if you are looking to shake up how you visualize your backyard space entirely, then explore bright contrasting shades or intricate designs.


When planning your exterior space, have a clear vision and decide what kind of lighting is necessary for the area. Installing outdoor deck lighting will help create an inviting atmosphere with illumination that's perfect for stairs, railings, porches, balconies and patio covers. Generally speaking, outdoor deck lighting produces ambient light spanning up to 5 feet around it - however low profile post top lights generate light downwards onto the post itself as well as any areas below it. With these two options you'll be able to transform your outside deck space into something truly special. Outdoor deck lighting is the perfect way to illuminate stairways, pathways, and outdoor living areas for a beautiful soft glow. Today, homeowners have a wide range of deck lighting options to choose from. Some of the most popular choices include:

  1. Lighted Post Caps are put on the top of the posts and can illuminate a wide area.

  2. Side Mounted Lights can be placed on the sides of posts, or the lights could be set up as rail lights. Any vertical surface will do. They can be used to illuminate steps or brighten a small area in your outdoor space. They can be installed anywhere on the post.

  3. Stair Lights are flush mounted on the vertical riser of stairs. They brighten steps for safety and add a stylish touch to your stairways, making your landscape lighting look top notch.

  4. Mini Recessed Lights are small round dots that can be installed just about anywhere: ceilings, steps, floors, etc. They add just the right amount of radiance for safety and design.

  5. Hanging Lights are similar to string lights, and coordinate with other deck lights and can be installed on patio covers and covered outdoor rooms. These lights in some cases can also be put on your deck railing for a prettier design, and they're plenty of different styles to choose from.