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When you think about outdoor lighting, it’s fun to plan for dramatic illumination on your favorite tree, patio or water feature, but forget to light outdoor steps and stairs and your plan falls flat and so could you.

The right lighting adds beauty and depth to your outdoor living space, but it also adds safety. That’s really apparent when it comes to steps and stairs.

How to best light them? From above? The side? Built into the steps themselves?

Let’s take a look at the best way to light outdoor steps.

Lighting Deck Steps

The deck is a great place to entertain once the sun goes down — as long as it’s safely lit.

Tread lights fit right into the vertical part of your deck steps, called the riser, and focus light downward onto the step immediately below it.

These recessed stair lights offer enough light for safety, but the light is subtle enough that it isn’t distracting.

Because the fixture itself is set into the step, it’s barely noticeable in the light of day. Even at night, you notice the steps and the soft light, not the fixture.

Consider LED accent lighting on the side of your deck posts, mounted about 18 inches above the deck. This will cast a soft glow downward, offering another source to safely illuminate steps and stairs.

You can also install energy-efficient LED lights at low elevations along walls that run adjacent to stairs.

Consider LED Strip Lights

LED strip lights are one of the most popular LED lighting products on the market now, with huge potential for lighting your deck steps.

Just like the name describes, these are flexible strips with tiny LED lights embedded in them. They come on a roll and usually have an adhesive backing.

They tuck discreetly beneath your deck railings or stair treads, so you see the light, but not the source.

Lighting Porch Steps

A combination of professional uplighting and downlighting is the perfect combination to keep front entrance stairs safe.

What’s the difference? It’s all about direction.

In uplighting, landscape lights are mounted below or at ground level, shining the light upward.

To downlight, you might place a fixture high up, in the branches of a tree or beneath the eaves on your house, so the light shines down.

You don’t have to choose one or the other. A front entrance can use uplighting to highlight pillars on the porch, and use downlights to illuminate the steps so nobody trips.

In addition to fixtures mounted near the front door, entryway lighting often includes uplights nestled in the surrounding landscaping and fixtures along the walkway to safely light the porch and steps.

If your stairs include walls adjacent to the steps, sidelights can be mounted in those walls and will cast an even glow across the width of the steps.

Lighting Steps In The Landscape

The prettiest garden paths aren’t always straight and level — sometimes they meander and include steps from one area to another. Don’t forget to light them, or that lovely evening stroll could end up with a trip to the emergency room. Romance ruined.

Moonlighting is a great way to light steps in a pathway. A light fixture is placed up in a tree and angled downwards. The effect? Moonlight shining down through the branches. It feels natural, and creates pretty shadow patterns on the ground from the leaves and branches.

Path lighting can be used in combination with moonlighting. Fixtures can be installed along the sides of the path to cast light on the steps, or nestle in the surrounding garden beds.

Leave Your Outdoor Step and Stair Lighting To Neave

The experts at Neave Lighting combine their expertise with the highest quality lighting fixtures to safely and beautifully light all your property’s steps and stairs.

We’ll use the best energy-efficient LED outdoor lighting available in the industry to highlight your front or side entrance, deck steps or garden paths.

Your landscape is unique, so we’ll customize your outdoor step and stair lighting to add a warm ambiance to your home while keeping your family and guests safe.

Our landscape lighting design, installation and maintenance services are available for any residential or commercial property owner.

If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.

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landscape planning guide neave group cover

FREE Landscape Planning Guide

Download our FREE Landscape Planning Guide and start planning the landscape of your dreams!

Download Now