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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