Adding beautiful, functional lighting to your patio cover can extend the enjoyment of that space well into the evening hours. In this article with tips from Solid Construction & Design, we will explore tricks for wiring and incorporating creative lighting features onto your patio cover. 

From adhering to safety codes to wiring best practices through to accessorizing with various lighting fixtures, we cover key considerations and ideas to elevate your outdoor living space. Let’s dive in!

Wiring Basics

Adhere to Codes and Use Quality Materials

Rigorously follow local building codes that provide guidelines on proper wiring size, procedures, and layouts for lighting circuits. Use the right wire gauge to prevent overheating and potential fire hazards down the road. Overloaded small gauge wiring can melt wire coatings when too much current flows. So make sure to only use wire rated for outdoor and weather exposure incorporating durable insulating plastic or rubber coatings. 

Outdoor wiring holds up to water, UV rays, soil chemicals, and extreme temperature swings without degrading over time. Common electric codes require using certified outdoor lighting for permanent installations. Ensure your system performs optimally for years to come while keeping your family safe by investing in quality outdoor products.

Incorporate Safety Features

For protection against electric shocks, connect lighting circuits to a GFCI outlet. Consider running wires through protective conduit if you want to shield against weather elements and animal damage. Finally, choose outdoor-rated junction boxes for fixtures.

Plan Layout Before Installing

Carefully planning out light fixture positions ahead of time ensures that wiring runs are as direct and short as possible between lights and power connections. This not only saves wire but also makes troubleshooting easier in the future. Create a wiring diagram to refer to through the installation process.

Group Fixtures by Type

Wire the same voltage lights together on shared circuits with appropriately sized wire runs. For adjustable control of certain light groups, use a separate dimmer switch. For example, keep festoon string lighting on a different circuit than low voltage pathway liners.

Fixture Selection

Opt for Durable Fixtures

When selecting lighting fixtures, ensure they are rated for outdoor use. Damp, wet, or IP65 ratings indicate suitability to withstand weather elements. Do this to prevent failure early down the road. For easy mounting, choose lightweight materials like aluminum.

Enhance Ambiance

To craft an appealing ambiance, carefully choose fixture styles, finishes, as well as lighting types. For example, you can use warm white string lights overhead for a cozy gathering area below. To highlight plants, consider purpose-built fixtures like path lighting or spotlights. 

Incorporate Smart Technology

Smart fixtures allow advanced control through smartphones or voice commands. RGB lighting enables adjusting color temperature to create the desired mood. Programmable timers automatically operate lights at dusk and dawn for convenience.

Safety Precautions

Power Off at Main Breaker

For complete safety, flip the main breaker off to disconnect power to all home electrical circuits before starting any wiring task. Make sure to double-check check wires are de-energized by using a non-contact voltage tester tool indicating if any unexpected current is still flowing that could pose a serious shock risk. 

Be cautious even when the main breaker is switched off, as some circuits could unconventionally still have power. Taking a few minutes to power off and using a tester to ensure wires are dead could save your life by avoiding accidental electric shock. 

Exercise Caution at Heights

Take extra precautions when working on ladders to install overhead lights or mount tall fixtures. Have someone steady the ladder while you work. Additionally, wear non-slip footwear and use tethers to avoid dropping equipment.

Follow Manufacturer Guidelines

Carefully following the installation and maintenance instructions included with your lighting fixtures and electrical components ensures proper mounting, wiring, operating, and servicing for safety and longevity.

Consider Hiring Contractors for Patio Refresh

When wanting to completely refresh the look of your patio, strongly consider hiring contractors to safely handle any cover replacements or wiring system overhauls. Only they have the expertise to recreate your space properly.

Make Weatherproof Connections

Make sure to use wire connectors and junction boxes rated for outdoor exposure when splicing wires. Weatherproof sealant prevents moisture seepage into fixtures through electrical wires.

Creative Lighting Ideas

Set a Custom Scene

This is a matter of personal choice so get as creative as you want with lighting colors, brightness levels, and placements to customize your patio experience. Install dimmers and smart fixtures for advanced controls via smartphone or other home automation systems.

Try Unique Mounting Locations

Consider unexpected mounting areas like under railings, steps edges, or woven into landscaping features that can make lights blend into the background for subtle glows.

Layer Lighting Effects

For added depth, combine multiple lighting effects in one space. String lights overhead, path lining on the ground, corner spotlights, and illuminated handrails can make up for a beautiful space outside.

Highlight Key Design Elements

Call attention to architectural details like support beams, decorative tiles, water features, or surrounding garden focal points by using targeted fixture beams or LED strip lighting kits.

Play With Light Height Variation

Mix overhead string lights with taller ground-mounted spotlights and shorter deck lighting to add tangible depth and layers.

Hide the Light Source

To create a magical look, conceal strip lighting sources behind crown molding, under railings, or behind lattice and beams so only the glow is visible.


As you can see, you can customize a patio lighting scheme to suit your precise needs and taste with thoughtful planning and strategic lighting selections. 

By following wiring best practices and getting creative with fixture and design choices, you can craft a signature outdoor aesthetic using light. Whether you just need to add a bit more illumination for late-night barbeques or want to set a certain mood, the possibilities are truly endless. 

We hope the guidance provided here by Solid Construction & Design inspires you as you install new lighting and make electrical improvements to enhance your patio cover. Happy decorating your extended outdoor living areas well after the sun goes down.