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      Step Up Your Project with Step Lights

      Surface Mount Step Lights & Hardscape Lights: Why Both Might Be Right for Your Project

      A home can sparkle and shimmer indoors, but if you step outside at night to a dark landscape, your customers are missing the opportunity to not only maximize their outdoor space, but to make it shine. There are a few ways to go about lighting the outdoors. One is Hardscape Lighting, which produces a beautiful, ambient glow effect, but it takes planning and some work. Another one is our new 12V Integrated LED Surface Mount Step Lights, which offer a stylish alternative that makes installation simple for retrofit or new construction and offers even light dispersion. It captures elegant design aesthetics, with both a contemporary and louvered style. Find out which one is right for your project.

      Understanding Your Placement

      Depending on the areas you are illuminating and where you have space, one light source may work better than the other for your plan. 

      Surface Mount Step Lights work best on steps and stairs. Step lights are intended for functionality and safety for customers moving around on their steps during the evening hours. They are also great for outdoor walkways, decks, patios with uneven steps or any place you can install on a flat surface.

      Hardscape Lights are perfect anywhere you have a cap or lip. For example, a retaining wall under the cap, a handrail, the edge of a deck, or stairs with a 1” or longer lip. Hardscape Lights are ideal for tight spaces such as stone or rock walls, fireplaces, and benches. Use hardscape lighting to enhance the rich, natural tones of a patio or outdoor kitchen. 

      One placement, different options: 

      A wooden deck with wide stairs that have a riser and lip offers you two great options. You could use two of the 3" hardscape fixtures, 4 ft apart placed in two rows going up. Or you could use one or two rows of surface mount lights.

      Define Your Look

      Does your project require direct light? A softer glow? Or possibly both? We'll help you determine the best source of light for the area. 

      Surface Mount Step Lights are meant to be seen. The beauty of the fixture is on display. They have an aesthetic appeal that makes them beautiful and augments the decor and style of the landscape. They also cast a directional glow of 6-24” of light depending on placement, which gives off direct lighting and an even glow.  

      Hardscape Lights, on the other hand, have a smaller profile and are intended to be incorporated into the structure, where they are less visible. They cast a much broader glow depending on their size. They are designed to pivot which allows you to focus light inward or outward in a linear direction to a wall grazing or wall washing effect to highlight the architectural details of a retaining wall. On a handrail or edging of a deck, it offers more flexibility to achieve your desired effect. 


      Neither of these lights give off a bright glare, so the fixtures are sure to shine right whichever you choose. 

      Identify Your Installation 

      While both are easy to install, each light can only be placed in certain areas of an outdoor space. 

      Surface Mount Step Lights have a sticker template that helps guide where and how to install. Our new Surface Mount Step Lights enable you to easily install the product without having to plan for the junction box as many competitive versions require. You will need to drill a single hole for the wire and two pilot holes using the template to mount the fixture. It is important to note, however, that Surface Mount Lights can only be placed on hard, flat surfaces. So a rocky retaining wall or uneven brick steps won’t be right for this kind of light source. 

      Hardscape Lights have a customizable mounting bracket, which has breakaway corner tabs that allow for easier installations in retrofit applications. The bracket is designed as an installation template, with a centering notch and screw pilot holes for guidance when mounting off the bracket. You just need a 1” lip for the light to be placed under. The adjustable fixture can pivot 180 degrees when mounted directly to the surface and 270 degrees when installed with the mounting bracket. These fixtures can be used as a traditional downlight or as an uplight, on or off the mounting bracket.

      A Word of Advice

      If you’re wondering which light is right for your client’s project, here’s a quick summary. We recommend you use Surface Mount Step Lights on flat surfaces where the customer wants to see the fixture. In instances where the light should be integrated into the architecture, Hardscape Lights are better suited for that application. Whichever you choose, we have landscape lighting options that are easy to install in multiple applications, and will help you install correctly every time. 

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