Outdoor step lighting is a great way to light your stair cases so that guests can easily find their way up to your front door or onto your deck in the dark. You have several choices for where you might want to install your step lights, and a few choices about what kind of light fixtures you want. The overall purpose is to make sure your steps are lighted properly to avoid falls and slips.
There are some stop lights that are meant to be installed in the ground at the bottom of the staircase and pointing up so that the entire set of stairs is illuminated, but these are not very common. The vase majority of step lighting choices are recessed lights. This means that the light is installed recessed into the step or riser so that all the electronics are hidden from view and just the plastic or glass that covers the bulb is visible. The light fixture will be flush with the surface it is recessed into.
Within the category of recessed lighting, there are a few choices. First, you can have fixtures with a smooth and clear covering so that the entire light is visible. Another choice is a grate like covering over the light bulb so that the stream of light is more filtered and directed in one direction. Carrying that concept a step further is the domed recessed light. Domed lights might have a clear covering over the bulb and they might not. The light is forced to shine in one direction by a dome that covers one half of the bulb.
Because you want the outdoor step lights to be as bright as possible, you need to run wiring for each individual light to the transformer so they do not have to share the available voltage. Most recessed outdoor step lights have a small hole in the casing to allow the wires to leave the light fixture and make their way to the transformer. If you have access to the underside of your steps, it will be easy to run the wiring under the stairs where it can remain out of sight. If you do not have that luxury, then you might have to hide wires under railings or behind rungs in the staircase railing.
If you want to avoid having to run wires at all, then you might consider solar lighting as an option. Solar lights capture energy from sunlight with solar collecting panels and then store that energy in a battery that in turn powers an LED. LED lights are not as bright as regular bulbs, but that is alright when you are only trying to offer a little light for your stairs.
Once you have chosen the type of step lighting you want, you need to think about where you will install it. You can install recessed lights in either the step or the riser. The rise is the more popular choice for several reasons. First, you can direct the light onto each individual step with either grate or domed light fixtures. In addition, having the step light on the riser protects the fixture from both people stepping on it and the elements so they will last longer.