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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Lighting Your Outdoor Patio, Deck, Fire Pit & Hardscapes


Landscape lighting isn't just about illuminating trees and other elements of your homes architecture. Light can be used to create intrigue and a sense of balance in an otherwise dark setting. Bringing light to the places in your yard where you retreat to enjoy time with family or personal contemplation can create a little private getaway. These havens, the places we go to get away from everything to just breathe for a minute, are our patios, decks, fire pits and outdoor fire places.

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What we want is ambiance and atmosphere not the flood light by our back door. Even though our hardscapes are where we want light the most, they are also often thought to be the most difficult places to come up with satisfying lighting solutions. It's easy to just shine a light on something (plenty of electricians say they can put a light wherever you want it), but it's more difficult to strategically place a light and create a satisfying effect.

One solution for lighting a patio is using what we call moonlighting. This is where fixtures are placed high in trees or architecturally to softly wash everything down below. This technique is used to subtly create shadows and replicate something similar to moonlight. In patio areas with small walls and short pillars, under cap lighting can  also be used to cast light onto these walls and simultaneously light the patio itself. Under cap lights, and many other hardscape lighting fixtures do not have to be integrated as the patio or stone wall is being built. Though this does make the installation easier, they can still be integrated into existing walls and pillars that have already been built without having any of the wire exposed.

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The same goes for installing fixtures into decks. Rail lights are fixtures that are set into the side of the rail guard to illuminate the deck and railing. In stair cases these types of fixtures are fantastic for safety. Rail lights can light up the stairs and show you where it is you are stepping. Moonlighting can also be incorporated into decks to light the center while the rail lights create an atmospheric backdrop. The ambiance they add is just as important as the functionality they provide.

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When it comes to outdoor fire places and fire pits, it's easy to think of them as self-producing light sources. And while they do put off a certain amount of light all by themselves, this does not necessarily mean that they eliminate the need for light fixtures altogether. Bistro lights can be incorporated around the seating area, for example, to create a beautiful effect while also providing a functional light source. 

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Though hardscape lighting does add ambiance and enhance the beauty of the overall scene, it's important to keep in mind that it also adds safety and security. Illuminating stairs, walkways, and seating areas increases the overall safety of your home after dark. Don't be left in the dark, give us a call at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply click here  www.utahlights.com and fill out a request form. We are located in Midvale and service areas throughout Utah including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis and Utah Counties.  

Free Landscape Lighting Design Guide