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  • Writer's pictureScott Erickson

Step Lights Save Lives

When people think of "life-saving measures," they don't usually think of low-voltage lighting. However, outdoor step lighting can be extremely important to the safety of both you and your house guests, especially during the winter months. A professional lighting designer can help you find the perfect step lighting solution for your home.

One of the most common ways to illuminate steps is to use rectangular louvered step lights. These fixtures are usually around 4- or 8-inches long, and they are cut into the risers of the steps. It's a very low-profile, unobtrusive lighting strategy, however it more often than not will require collaboration with the builder during construction. Occasionally our trained technicians are able to find some work-arounds to get the lights installed in already-built steps, however it works best to do it during construction.

A slight variation on the louvered step lights are micro core-drilled light fixtures. These work great when there's a substantial railing or wall on one or both sides of the steps, which allows us to tuck these tiny fixtures almost completely out of sight. This is one of our favorite step lighting techniques, but similar to the louvered fixtures, they usually need to be installed during construction. You also need to ensure that the light fixtures used are very high-quality with strong light output. It doesn't do much help if the fixtures only give off 1/2-watt of illumination and doesn't spread light across the full length of the steps.

While the previous two techniques are great for new-construction, there's still plenty of ways to illuminate steps that are already built. Path light fixtures alternating along the sides of steps is a great option that also adds some aesthetic appeal to the landscape. You can also pair this with up- and down-lights in nearby trees to create a truly stunning scene. Erickson Outdoor Lighting has some custom path light fixtures that utilize a revolutionary bulb/socket design that eliminates all glare seen from under the hoods of the pathlights while walking uphill, which also improves the overall safety by not blinding your guests if they accidentally look right at the light source.

While these are a few of the most popular techniques for step lighting, the possibilities are truly endless when you have a professional lighting designer by your side. Undercap lights, strip lights, column sconces, and much more can be used effectively in the right situations (and can oftentimes result a very customize, one-of-a-kind look). Every single situation should be analyzed individually, because everyone's home and landscape is unique. There is never one blanket, catch-all answer for landscape lighting, especially when it comes to something as important as step lighting. Make sure to reach out to Erickson Outdoor Lighting today to consult with one of our lighting designers on what your best options are. You will see the difference with Erickson!

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