With the summer months comes outdoor living and outdoor living spaces. The outdoor kitchen and the backyard deck are trending to be focal points of personal and family activity. Self-quarantines, lockdowns, and remote work have created an environment where the home and family life are central. The cool summer evenings call the housebound to step out into the great outdoors. With several holidays and the advent of football that will largely be watched from home, upgrading the deck to more effectively accommodate life after dark makes for great times together with family and friends.
Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Alpharetta, a landscape lighting design company, is sharing some ideas to make the backyard more user friendly during the summer, including reclaiming the darkness with strategic LED lighting solutions.
1. Consider a new deck installation.
A new deck installation or a major overhaul is a cost-effective way to create additional living space without incurring the expense of a full room addition with copious windows that give the effect of being outdoors. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a room addition to a ranch house is around $45,000. The price per square foot ranges from $80 to $200. These figures depend on several variables, including materials and amenities, but estimating around $145 per square foot is a good start.
A new deck installation ranges from a low of $15 per square foot to a high of $35 per square foot for a premium deck made from the best quality materials. A 24X16 deck (384 sq. ft) using premium materials would cost about $13,000 installed. A room addition of that same size (384 sq. ft.) to a ranch house would cost about $55,000.
Another consideration is the timeframe. A full room addition would take months to complete, while a premium deck could be installed and in use inside of two weeks or less. The disruption to homelife would be minimal. The inaugural deck party could be scheduled two weeks from the deck start date, barring delays due to inclement weather.
2. Add basic amenities.
Throw in a canopy or pergola, custom grill, a picnic table, and several air movers, and the deck is almost ready.
3. Light up the night with light and life.
A custom-designed LED lighting solution dramatically increases functionality by reclaiming the night while at the same time creating a stunning ambiance. In fact, bringing in a landscape lighting designer to consult with the deck designer and installer could save both time and money for the lighting installation and even work to enhance an integrated, organic, and symbiotic relationship between the deck and the light source.
By coordinating the deck design and installation with the lighting design, construction features can be incorporated into the deck to facilitate the installation of the lighting system. LED light fixtures have a low profile and lend themselves to a discreet application. Imagine if the railings, steps, benches, posts, tiering, and ornamentation were coordinated with the multi-faceted lighting capabilities of LED technology. Suddenly, an ordinary backyard deck becomes an artform at little or no extra cost to the customer.
4. Enhance deck safety.
Illuminating the deck and surrounding areas not only creates ambiance and enhances functionality, but it also makes the environment safe. A thoughtfully designed lighting plan will illuminate areas that are tricky to navigate, such as steps and tiers. Lighted steps are safer steps. A comfortably lit deck gives people the freedom to move about with confidence and ease, allowing them to focus on the people around them, their conversations, and the activities of the evening.
Ideas and Applications
Explore some of these applications and ideas. Bring the ones of interest to the attention of the deck designer and the lighting specialist. Ask for suggestions. They may have concepts and applications that the average homeowner could have never thought of.
- Rail lighting
- Deck post lighting
- Lanterns and chandeliers
- Stair lights
- String lights – Use Christmas lights to create a festive atmosphere on the deck that transcends the seasonal application.
- Under-table lighting – If there is an outdoor grilling or cooking area, consider putting lighting underneath the workspaces to help everyone see what they are doing.
- LED tape light – This application of LED technology provides a unique way to illuminate deck stairs and railings. Its unique tape-like feature creates a uniform spread effect across a relatively large area. Along with decks and stairs, this versatile option works well for outdoor kitchens and bars.
- Seat wall lights
- Deck pergola lighting
- Recessed deck lighting – Recessed deck lighting works well with a deck with some overhead protection because the lights are protected from the elements and do not need constant cleaning.
- Deck post cap lights
- In-floor lighting – For the perfect deck lighting combination, place lights in deck corners or near steps and seating.
- Spotlights over the deck – These fixtures bring a lighted focus to areas of specific activities and can light up large areas if needed.
- Under-deck lighting – If the deck is technically a balcony, ceiling fans with lights look great. The air circulation and light make the area more comfortable and functional.
A well-designed and well-executed outdoor lighting design can extend the nighttime use of an outdoor living space while creating a warm, safe, and inviting ambiance for evening entertainment and relaxation. As the sun sets, homeowners have the perfect setting to relax under the evening sky or continue entertaining company.
For more information about deck lighting options, visit the Southern Landscape Lighting Systems website at southernlls.com/locations/alpharetta-georgia. Contact a lighting design specialist by phone at (770) 691-1221.