Enhancing Landscape Designs with Distinctive and Unique Elements – Part 3

bird walking on pathway at night

Alternative Deck Lighting Solutions for "In-Between" Spaces

A common problem that often arises with lighting deck spaces is the desire to illuminate a feature like a planter or a statue in an area where there aren’t a lot of adequate mounting surfaces nearby to do so. Sometimes the spacing between the main 4×4 deck posts is too expansive, leaving dark pockets that ideally need fill-in light. The 2×2 intermediate spindles simply do not allow the space for a traditional 3” deck light.

Image of downlight attached to narrow deck post

Thankfully, the industry has produced some compact fixture solutions for these in-between spaces. They are available in a variety of durable finishes and offer lighting options for narrow deck posts or just spaces where customers may need light but also require a smaller visual footprint of said fixture. For instance, the Kichler Louvered 6.5 Incandescent DeckLight has a width of just 1.5”, meaning its compact and contemporary design makes it an ideal solution for lighting deck rails, stairways, tight corners, and more.

FX Luminaire’s QL Fixture is also 1.5” wide and fits perfectly on 2×2 spindles. The extended snout throws a soft 53 lumens of light outward without exposing the light source.

Lighting Tricky Pathways

We all know that what may be safely walkable in the daylight can turn into a treacherous tripping hazard come nightfall, especially when winter snow and ice are added to the equation. But what if you are responsible for lighting an area like this where a hedgerow flanks the path or when the client despises the look of traditional pathlights?  

It sounds like a wild request, but it’s not that uncommon. Lighting contributes to the ambiance of a space, so being able to do so without visible fixtures only contributes to the tranquility, beauty, and magic of an outdoor setting. Products like WAC’s Linear Path Light are the solution to this problem. 

Its slim design and versatile mounting options allow it to be tucked under bushes, cleverly disguised in groundcover, or even mounted carefully in trees.

Not only does it offer soft lighting for the ground, floor, or concrete, but it also has a 180-degree rotating head that allows for precise direction of light. The groundwash is also unique–it has dimming capabilities and comes with a visor shroud to prevent glare. These pathlights can also create downlighting, moonlighting, or above-lighting to cast shadows on pathways in desired places. No magic wands necessary.

Easy Solutions for Task Lighting

An outdoor grill being illuminated by a BQ LED Task Light mounted on a counter

Often outdoor spaces have needs for multiple types of lighting. For instance, an outdoor bar/kitchen area may require higher levels of light for prepping food and drinks or when cleaning up after a party, but otherwise, needs lower lumen levels for mood and entertainment. Designing a lighting system that allows for individual fixture control or dimming is essential for these areas and is usually recommended.

The grill space is a perfect example. There are some very striking grills on the market but do they need to be highlighted at night when they aren’t in use? I love the FX BQ Barbecue Light for this reason. It can be mounted on the grill or countertop and switched off after the grilling is complete. The Cobrahead can be aimed where needed and keeps bugs from dropping on the food, unlike overhead task lights.

Downlighting and Dimmers 

Downlighting decks and outdoor seating areas is one of my favorite techniques. The idea is to recreate a dappled pattern of shadow and light that mimics moonlight. A full moon is only about 1/10th of a footcandle on these surfaces, so we don’t need a lot of light to achieve the look. 

But there may be situations where we need to elevate the light levels for cleanup or security reasons. Installing a Brilliance 12V Rotary Dimmer is a cost-effective way of allowing precise control of the light levels of these specific fixtures without compromising the rest of the scene. 

The dimmer fits into a standard single gang outlet box and can be located on a 4×4 deck post or near the entrance to the deck area.

Of course, if your client has the budget for a Luxor Control System, we can set multiple lighting scenes to address these needs while adding drops of color in the process.

Boxless LED Surface Mount Fixtures 

Installing lights into concrete fixtures can be a complicated and frustrating process. Landscapers and lighting designer/installers usually aren’t included in the masonry on a project, which makes the already difficult task of embedding lights in stair treads or concrete walls even harder (no pun intended). It’s a timely process to precisely core holes for lighting fixtures and wires into concrete. 

Even if you get the opportunity to collaborate with the masons, the installation might result in crooked feature boxes, submerged connections, or even the wrong size if you don’t have access to the fixture boxes at the time the concrete is poured. 

So what’s the solution that will prevent expensive and timely installation or repairs? Eliminate the box.  

Boxless LED Fixtures–such as those from Kichler–are a new line of fixtures that have the necessary lighting components built into their face. Now, lights can be quickly and cost-effectively mounted on the surface of the concrete instead of inside it.

What’s even better? These new LED lights burn bright enough to melt snow and ice, which contributes to the safety and visibility of walkways, walls, and steps no matter what the season.   

Reinders also offers surface mount fixtures from WAC and Alliance to expand your design offering:

Reach Out to Us for More Lighting Solutions 

At Reinders, we’re always looking for new products and techniques that will elevate the already wonderful work our customers do. I hope these options give you some helpful, new solutions that will not only make your jobs easier but take your lighting projects to the next level.  

Feel free to contact me or your local Reinders rep to explore these problem-solving products and applications for deck lighting, wall lighting, outdoor audio, and more!

Picture of Joel Reinders

Joel Reinders

Product Manager | Landscape Lighting and Water Features

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