September 2015

Lighting Ideas for Patios and Decks in San Diego

Options for how to best light your patio or deck for safety and comfort.

Now that summer is coming to an end in San Diego, you can prolong the use of your patio and deck into the evening and night with lighting.  Fortunately, you have several options when it comes to lighting your patio or deck.  Here are some lighting ideas for patios and decks in San Diego.

What is the difference between a patio and deck?

While patios and decks are both outdoor structures, there are differences as pointed out in a previous blog postPatio is a Spanish word for courtyard of a house or building.  A courtyard is an open space surrounded by walls or buildings.  A patio differs from a courtyard in that it does not have to be surrounded by walls.  Like a courtyard, a patio is an open space that can be situated directly on the ground.

beautiful patio

Decks are mainly made of wood, a composite wood material or vinyl.  In many cases, they are elevated above ground entailing the use of steps or a stairwell.  Properly cared for, decks offer a warmth and beauty that is difficult to reproduce.  Like patios, decks can be freestanding or attached to a house.  They are often built to take advantage of a view and can be different levels.   When using steps or a stairwell, railings are highly recommended.

Beautiful deck

Composite decks have become a popular alternative to wood because composite decking is resistant to insects and will usually not warp or splinter like traditional wood.

Ceiling fan with lighting

During the summer months, your patio or deck may get very hot, especially if you are inland.  If you have a covering over your patio or deck, a ceiling fan with lights can do double duty to both light your patio or deck area and cool it down when it gets hot.

Patio with a ceiling fan

When selecting a fan, it is important to decide between those rated for damp or wet locations.  A fan rated for damp locations, means it rarely comes into contact with water aside from slight mist.  Ceiling fans rated for wet locations are designed to be well protected from water.  It should also be noted that choosing a ceiling fan not rated for outdoor use may result in a fan with bent blades that resemble a flower.

Additional considerations to make when selecting your ceiling fan include ceiling height, fan size, and color and style that complements the theme of your patio or deck.

Outdoor wall sconces

A sconce is a type of light fixture that is attached to a wall in such a way that it uses only the wall for support.  Light is usually directed upwards but not always.  A sconce does have a base on the ground.

Deck with sconces

Sconces add a touch of beauty and elegance to a space by adding individual outdoor sconces on a deck post.  Depending on the size of your posts and the light being emitted, you have the choice of sconces having 1 to 3 lights.

Wall sconces can easily be mounted against posts to light the floor or dark areas of your deck.  It is important to make sure that both your lighting and fixture are rated for outdoor use.

You really want to use sconce lighting but don’t have posts around your patio or deck, no problem.  Sconces can be easily mounted to the wall siding your patio or deck.  This could be next to a back door opening to your patio or deck.  If you have a barbeque or eating area on your patio and deck, sconces lighting would also work great on a wall closest to your eating area or barbeque.

Motion activated lighting

Perhaps you only want lighting when there is a person in the area, you want to conserve electricity or need a lighted pathway through a dark part of your deck or patio.   Battery operated motion step lights are very simple to use and shut off automatically to prevent usage during the daytime.  When lighting stairs, it is important to direct the light to the stairwell and not elsewhere such as upwards towards traffic or to the surrounding area.

Pathway lighting

Adequate lighting for your patio or deck can also be a real safety issue.   Since many decks are above ground, steps or stairwells are an important part of the structure.  As a result, it is recommended to include lighting in your design if your patio or deck will be in a dark and heavily trafficked area.  When lighting stairs, it is important to direct the light to the stairwell and not elsewhere such as upwards towards traffic or to the surrounding area.

Pathway lighting

Pathway lighting is a great investment for either a patio or deck as they allow you, your family and visitors to navigate steps or a stairwell safely in the dark.  Your pathway lighting can be evenly spaced along the siding of your patio or deck, including stairs or placed as needed around your deck or patio space.

Patio string lights

People have long said that there is something romantic about string lights over a patio or deck at night.  Permanent string lights are available that are designed to withstand the elements over an extended period of time.  They can be extended over your patio or deck, draped from your roof or wrapped around posts and surrounding trees.

Patio with string lights

Both strong and subtle patio string lights are available.  Strong patio lights are perfect when you want to provide lighting to the entire area whereas subtle lights are perfect when you want weak lighting under a patio umbrella for example to create a romantic dining environment.

Closing thoughts

While ceiling fans, sconces, pathway lighting, or string lights will work well with either a patio or deck, some may work better with one more than the other.  The team at Republic Construction Inc. is happy to help you explore lighting options for your patio or deck.  If you have questions, need information or would like to explore lighting options for your patio or deck, contact us or call (760) 419-5552.

About Republic Construction Inc.

Republic Construction Inc. is a general contractor in San Diego.  We specialize in patios and decks and proudly service the communities of Point Loma, Pacific BeachMission BeachLa JollaDel MarFairbanks RanchEncinitasSolana BeachCarlsbadOceanside, and the rest of San Diego County.

Republic Construction Inc. services include:

Deck Design
Deck Refinishing
Deck Repair
Deck Waterproofing
Flagstone Installation
Home remodeling
Patio Covers
Patio Design
Pedestrian Walkways
New Construction

 

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Spanish Patio and Courtyard Ideas for San Diego

San Diego is famous around the World for its weather.  San Diego is also famous in some circles for it’s influence on Spanish architecture.

The Birthplace of Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture

Spanish architecture as an architectural stylistic movement in the United States can be traced back to the Panama-California exposition of 1915 in San Diego.  The Panama-California Exposition was held in Balboa Park between January 1, 1915 and January 17, 1917.  It was meant to tout San Diego as the first US port of call for ships travelling north after passing westward through the canal .

Architectural elements of Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture

Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture became an architectural style movement from 1915 to 1931 that started in California and Florida.  Architectural elements that characterize Spanish Colonial Revival architecture include:

  • Curves and arches
  • White stucco exterior and walls
  • Painted tile
  • Terracotta roof tiles
  • Tower like chimneys
  • Balconies
  • Ornamental iron work
  • Courtyards and patios
  • Arcades

Spanish Courtyards and Patios

Since we, Republic Construction Inc. of San Diego specialize in patios and decks, I am going to focus on Spanish style patios.

While there is no shortage of beautiful examples of Spanish architecture in San Diego, I have recently had clients ask me for patio ideas that would work for home in San Diego.  In doing research, I found several examples of Spanish patios that really stood in their beauty and how well they would work in several communities throughout San Diego including homes and communities in La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas, and other San Diego Cities

Spanish-style Patios

Spanish-style patios are characterized by the use of tile, brick or flagstone flooring.  Walls can are often made of stucco or brick and can have integrated seating, a fireplace or planters.

Among some of the higher-end properties with Spanish-style patios or decks, homeowners will incorporate an outdoor kitchen or cabinets that also have a Spanish theme.

Many of the covered Spanish-style patios that we see either have wood covering as illustrated in the example below.

Spanish Patio example

Many luxury Spanish style homes will often have covered patios under arched ceilings that are characteristic of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.  These structures will often have the terracotta roof tiles that are also characteristic of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.  The patio below has an integrated outdoor kitchen which is perfect for entertaining.

Covered Spanish patio

Many of the Spanish style patios that we see rely on extensive use of plants for decorative purposes.  Plantings within terracotta pots are quite popular as are integrated planters as illustrated below.

Spanish style patio

Spanish-style Courtyards

A courtyard is an area without a roof that is completely or mostly enclosed by the walls of a building.  Courtyards and patios are characteristic elements of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.

Many Spanish-style courtyards and patios that we come across share many similar features including tiled or brick flooring, stucco walls, and the extensive use of plantings for decoration.

Often times because open Spanish-style patios are set within beautiful landscapes such as coastal settings, the reliance upon plants and vegetation for decorative purposes will not be as apparent as with Spanish-style courtyards.  Since beautiful scenery is lacking with courtyards because of use of walls, much effort will be made to beautify the open area with plants and vegetation.  As a result, it is common to see lush landscaping in Spanish-style courtyards within both integrated planters and terracotta pots.

Mediterranean patio

The Spanish-style courtyard below uses large tiles as flooring and pink stucco walls with an integrated fountain.  It also has plantings in terracotta pots and vines growing on the wall.

Spanish influenced patio

Spanish-style courtyards and patios do not need to be fancy to function as a beautiful and practical setting.  The patio setting below works very well with simple brick flooring, white stucco walls and integrated planters that can also providing seating.  The use of a simple table and wood bench works to make the area functional.

Small Spanish Patio

The Spanish-style courtyard in the setting below does is very simple in that one wall incorporates a large brick wall between two white stucco walls.  It also features large brick tiles as flooring and relies on extensive use of plants and vegetation for decorative purposes.  Consistent with Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, a wood door is used to provide access between the Courtyard and the outside World.

The usability of the area below can be greatly increased with Spanish-style furniture such as a wood table, seating and benches.

Typical Spanish Courtyard

Patios and courtyards that are not Spanish-style

Beautiful patios and courtyards are not limited to only Spanish-style architecture.  Persian-inspired courtyards and Mediterranean patios share many of the same architectural elements with Spanish-style architecture.  This includes the use of bricks and tiles, arches, stucco walls in the case of Mediterranean architecture.

The two architectural styles below both feature the use of plants and vegetation in terracotta pots as a decorative highlight.

Mediterranean courtyard

A big difference between Mediterranean patios and Spanish-style architecture seems to be the use of pastels and lighter colors in the case of Mediterranean architecture.  In the example below with Mediterranean patio, it has all of the same timeless elements that you would find with a Spanish-style patio.

Mediterranean patio

Conclusion

Spanish-style patios and courtyards can provide a timeless and beautiful living space in many homes within the many communities within San Diego County.  With the use of Spanish-style furniture and plants in either integrated planters or terracotta pots, a courtyard or patio can be converted into a practical and beautiful setting within your home.

We are experts in patios and decks throughout San Diego.  Republic Construction Inc. is available to help you design a Spanish-style courtyard or patio in your home or business.

Contact us today or call (760) 419-5552 to discuss your project today.

About Republic Construction Inc.

Republic Construction Inc. is a general contractor in San Diego.  We specialize in patios and decks and proudly service the communities of Point Loma, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, La Jolla, Del Mar, Fairbanks Ranch, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Oceanside, and the rest of San Diego County.

Republic Construction Inc. services include:

Deck Design
Deck Refinishing
Deck Repair
Deck Waterproofing
Flagstone Installation
Home remodeling
Patio Covers
Patio Design
Pedestrian Walkways
New Construction

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