Landscape Lighting: The Perfect Way to Light Up Your Steps

Written by: Customer Service



Time to read 7 min

It's safe to say that no two backyards are the same. Some boast large gardens and grassy areas, while others are lucky enough to have an in-ground pool. But however an owner has chosen to lay theirs out, there is one thing that pretty much every outdoor space has in common: steps. Whether from the house to the ground or as part of an extensive patio and outdoor living area, steps are one of those things that can't be gone without.

But what if you want to make yours different?


Steps can do so much more than serve a functional purpose - with the right lighting setup, they can be made into just as amazing of a feature as anything else in your backyard. This article will explain how as well as provide some tips on how to get started.

What Is Landscape Lighting?



First thing's first: what exactly are landscape lights? In short, landscape lighting is a category of lights specifically designed for installation and use in an outdoor space. There are many subtypes within the group, along with even more potential places to install them. The biggest characterization of landscape lights is that they are designed to be low voltage (12 volts or less) and are able to withstand the outdoor elements, such as rain and snow.


Why You Need to Use Landscape Lights On Your Steps

We should start off by saying that landscape lights - and lights in general - are not a mandatory thing you have to install on your steps. But considering the arguments for doing so, it's hard to think of a reason why anyone wouldn't want to make these fixtures a part of their yard.

Take a look at this breakdown of benefits to be reaped by investing in step lights:


Added Visibility

It's easy enough to trip on steps during the daytime if you don't pay attention to what you're doing. Tackling them at night? Good luck. Unlit steps are an accident waiting to happen; all it takes is a misstep and you're tumbling down the stairs - possibly with things in your arms or guests by your side.

Adding landscape lights to your steps eliminates this hazard and embarrassment. Not only does it provide a soft, ambient lighting that makes the steps easier to see and traverse (especially at night when there's no natural light), but it also adds a nice aesthetic to the area.

Reduced Liability


Here's a benefit of step lights that people often overlook; aside from being able to see yourself, it's crucial for guests on your property to also have proper sight of where they're walking. Their trip and fall can be your liability in some cases, and that's a situation no one wants to be in. Why risk legal woes and lawyer costs when you can just install a few lights and enjoy the many peripheral benefits that come with doing so?


Aesthetic Appeal

There's nothing quite like a good step light when it comes to beautifying a property's landscape. Step lights add an elegant touch to your steps and their surroundings, instantaneously transforming them from utilitarian, dull objects into stunning works of art.


Increased Security

Step lights don't just make life easier for you and your guests; they also make it more difficult for intruders to break into your property. If an intruder knows that you have lighting set up, chances are they'll be less likely to try and make their way over your steps, as the lighting will alert you or neighbors of any movement. Plus, it's a deterrent for any potential pests like rats or snakes.


Low Maintenance

Step lights are also incredibly low maintenance. All you need to worry about is replacing the bulbs every few years and making sure that they're kept clean. That's about it! And with how long some quality LED bulbs last, you won't even need to worry about replacing them very often.



Types of Landscape Lights That Can Be Used for Steps

Landscape lights come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Technically speaking, you can use any of them to light up stairs. There are traditional options that go into steps directly, as well as other more versatile fixtures commonly used in other areas of the yard. Read below for an overview of the most popular types of landscape lights used in step installations.


Step Lights

First, we have a landscape light that's literally designed to fulfill the purpose of illuminating staircases - step lights. Compact and minimalistic, these fixtures are typically installed within the

step itself, providing a subtle but effective lighting solution. Step lights are typically shallow and unobtrusive when off, so they won't take away from the steps' overall design. The only thing you'll need to keep in mind is that some varieties require drilled openings in the stairs for their installation.



If you're looking for a flexible option, we recommend the Top-Notch™ Classic Brass Step & Deck Light. This slab-style step light is screwed onto the front surfaces of your steps, giving you an even and brilliant light output throughout your staircase. It's also made out of durable brass, so it'll last for years to come!

Strip Lights

Strip lights are an excellent option to consider if you really want to highlight the size or layout of your steps. They can be installed in tons of places, from where the top and bottom risers meet, to along the length of each individual step. When done well, this design concept can create a sort of elevating effect that’s as eye-catching as it is unique.


If you do go with strip lights though, be sure to put thought into where they're installed. Yes, they can go anywhere on a step, but that doesn't mean they should. Placing a light too close to the edge of a step can be dangerous and lead to extra wear and tear on the light itself.


In-Ground Well Lights



Per the name, in-ground well lights installed in-ground, or beneath surface level. Some people choose to install them along walkways or driveways, but they can also be used for staircases. This creates a subtle but beautiful beam effect when lit, adding an extra layer of beauty to your outdoor space.

In-ground well lights require more work than step lights during installation; they must be sunk into the ground and wired to a power source. However, this lighting solution is worth the extra effort if you want to achieve a unique effect for your outdoor staircase.

Path Lights



Next, we have path lights. These landscape lights are designed to provide a subtle and ambient illumination along your pathways or walkways. They lend an attractive glow to the surrounding environment while also improving visibility for pedestrians at night. Pathway lighting is available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors to fit the overall look of your outdoor space. While traditionally staked in the ground, you can also opt to mount the path light onto a wall or post for a more modern feel.


How to Find the Right Landscape Lights for Your Steps


Considering the plethora of benefits and potential product options we went through above, it's very likely at this point that you're sold on the idea of installing step landscape lights and are ready to start shopping. But not so fast! Like any purchase, it's important to know what to look for and how to distinguish the quality of products on the market before getting started.Here are some steps - no pun intended - to help you out:


Decide What Type of Landscape Light You'd Like to Use

There are several types of fixtures within the scope of Landscape Lighting, each of which have their own ideal use case. While stairs may not be the most popular application for them all, you aren't bound by any rules when making a purchase. It may be fun to explore options outside of traditional step lights like path lights or even spotlights. You can even mix different varieties with one another.

Consider Wattage and Brightness


The wattage of a landscape light is not to be overlooked; it's what dictates how bright the fixture will shine. Most step lights don’t require too much power, but if you're looking for something a little brighter, be sure to look for fixtures that are rated at higher wattages.


Choose the Right Bulb Type

LED bulbs are becoming increasingly popular in landscape lighting because they consume less energy and require fewer replacement parts. However, halogen bulbs are still a go-to option for many homeowners since they emit a warmer light that can create more of an ambiance in the area. Be sure to consider your desired effect before making any decisions here.


Get a Feel for Your Budget


Knowing how much you're willing to spend on your landscape lighting can help narrow down the options available to you. In most cases, traditional step lights tend to be more budget-friendly due to their moderate wattage and small stature.



Whether you opt for LED step lights, solar-powered products, or any other type of landscape fixture, the right lighting choice can quite literally take your stairs to the next level. We recommend doing your homework before going in on a purchase and shopping from a manufacturer that you know will give you your money's worth - like Top Notch Landscape Lighting. Our wide selection of fixtures, bulbs, and other products will help you create the perfect lighting display in your outdoor space. Start shopping today!



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