The front steps of our house are a pit of darkness. I swear, any ambient street light gets sucked into the risers like a black hole. This is something Susan’s wanted to address permanently for a while, and something we band-aid each Halloween and Christmas season when we install temporary lighting to temporarily provide some decor and  much-needed illumination.

After five holiday seasons of mounting twinklies to the handrail, it finally dawned on me that there might be a way to do that on a year-round basis, and so on the day after New Year’s Day (when all holiday lighting schemes and decorations should be mandated to come down) I put our lights and stuff away , and started thinking about a more permanent solution.

The first one I came up with was an LED-rich rope light, but it was way too garish. I’d been hoping to mount it behind the railing to minimize the excessive brightness, but I had to settle for attaching it along the bottom. It looked hokey and cheap.  Then when Susan and I returned that to Home Depot last week we explored other options and came up a plan that included four hooded deck-style lights that we could mount to the handrail facing and connect to an appropriate landscape lighting wire (rather than just an outdoor extension cord).

This worked out great because I was able to drill holes through the wood and tuck the wiring out of sight along the back of the railing. Susan surprised me with how jazzed she was at the long-overdue project, and how nicely it came together. And while we awaited nightfall I figured the light cast by the four single-digit watt bulbs to be far more decorative than actually functional.  We were both very pleasantly surprised at how well the end result exceeded our expectations: