How to Add a Little Mood Lighting to Your Deck
Use energy-efficient LEDs to cast a warm glow on the deck, stairs, and trees, and you can extend the party (safely) into the night
Decks are usually built with summer days in mind, but the entertaining doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down. Installing outdoor-rated LEDs can illuminate your space in a way that promotes both safe footing and appealing ambience—versus the harsh shadows you get from a spotlight on the house.
“Low-voltage lighting is very DIY-friendly,” says Scott Caron, master electrician for Ask This Old House. “The thin wiring is easy to hide on or under the deck.” In addition to putting up festive string lights, he installed three kinds of LEDs on this deck in San Antonio, allowing the homeowners to enjoy their Lone Star evenings. For your own project, start by deciding where to place the transformer, which steps the power down to 12 volts: It needs to plug in to a standard 110-volt outlet, and all your wiring routes back to this point.
Day 1: Install the lights (Steps 2–9).
Day 2: Wire the lights to the transformer (Steps 10–14).
Post light, $92; LED ledge and rail light, $107; up/down light, $128; all in copper, from Focus Industries