There’s nothing like sitting outside in the garden on a late summer evening. And adding some well-placed solar lights can transform your property after sunset and help you make the most of your outside space. Even a limited amount of lighting can have a huge impact on a patio at night, creating a relaxing atmosphere, and adding to the amount of time you can spend outdoors.
Correctly positioned, lights can highlight outstanding trees and plants, transform terraces into additional rooms at night, illuminate dark edges and protect your garden. And there is a huge range of options, from easy-to-use spike lights that illuminate edges, to functional step lights, to floating spotlights that enchant ponds or water features.
Why Choose Outdoor Solar Lighting?
Why design a garden with solar lights? It’s a no-brainer. Solar energy has changed garden lighting. The fittings are not only cable-free, they also cost nothing to operate and can be moved at any time. Powered by specially developed batteries that store solar energy during the day, they switch on automatically at dusk and provide a soft glow for several hours at night. It is a good idea to place the solar panels in a sunny spot to get the best charge during the day.
- See: Garden lighting ideas – to illuminate your outdoor area after dark
1. Go environmentally friendly with solar outdoor lighting
Who needs electricity or candles when the sun can do all the work? Solar powered outdoor lights have come a long way in the past few years, with the latest high quality designs adding a strong shine. Here in the evening, a simple solar light – next to a cozy dining area – does all the hard work.
2. Use solar lights to illuminate a fence
If you don’t have an outlet for AC power outdoors, you can use solar-powered lights instead. They look pretty and are versatile because you don’t have to rely on a cable to the mains. They don’t shed a lot of real light, however, and only last as long as the sunlight is charged.
As a chain of lights, however, they shine excellently to cover fences, privacy screens or bushes with firefly glamor and some of the larger chains of lights with colorful decorative shades make beautiful prey around terraces or pergolas.
3. Light up a garden path or sidewalk
It is important to illuminate all turns and especially steps. Pole lights are usually cemented in, although the easier to assemble pole lights do the same job but simply slide into the ground.
- See: Safety lighting for the garden – Everything you need to know
4. Put low lights on a garden path
Low-level lights can either be placed near the wayside to wash over the pavement, or set back further to create beams of light. Make sure the lights are angled to avoid glare.
5. Use solar outdoor lighting to show off the planting
Garden lighting works best when designed in layers, leaving some areas dark to make others stand out. Pick a few larger features that you can highlight with a spotlight that can either be sunk into the ground on a skewer or attached to a branch to direct a beam of light downwards. If the solar light is black or olive green, it blends into the background.
6. Create an ambience for outdoor dining
If you are lighting a patio or courtyard attached to the house, it helps to think of it as a room. Put lights on an outside wall. Illuminating low elements such as a raised planter, a low wall or a bench next to the dining area from below is effective and conjures up warm light on a terrace or pavement.
- See: How to plan and install garden lighting – Everything you need to know
7. Light a garden party
Inexpensive fairy lights are the most versatile option. Wrapped around branches, decorating the entrance to a gazebo, or drawn along a garden fence, they’re the summery equivalent of fairy lights and come in all sorts of fun designs, including mini-lanterns and stars. You can find string lights with a solar panel on one end or, alternatively, opt for plug-in lights.
8. Hang fairy lights on a tree
Many of us stick to the “right plant, right place” mantra, so the same goes for lighting. Choosing the right solar lights for the right spots helps create a range of effects – from spots of light highlighting plants on the ground to pole lights that illuminate a garden path. Even a chain of lights that is stretched through a small tree or lanterns that are hung from branches become eye-catchers at dusk. To save energy consumption, I used solar lights. Not only do these keep costs down, they also have the added benefit of emitting warmer light.
9. Take into account the surrounding wildlife
Artificial light can affect wildlife, disturb garden birds, disorientate moths that use natural light to navigate, and affect the breeding cycles of certain animals. The key to minimizing disturbance to wildlife in your yard is twofold. First, stick to solar lights or warm, soft light bulbs, rather than bright, blinding lights or floodlights. Second, you should think carefully about the positioning: aim the light downwards and choose step lights with hoods to reduce glare.
10. Charge your solar lighting
Have you ever wondered why your solar lights have stopped working? Don’t fret! You may need to reposition them later in the day.
The panel of solar-powered lamps should be bright during the day and not be shaded by leaves.
Do solar-powered outdoor lights work in winter?
The short answer is yes. Believe it or not, the sun is still mighty strong in winter – even if we can’t see it with the naked eye. And because the solar outdoor lighting is waterproof, it can be left outside all year round.
Do solar lights really work outdoors?
Solar lights really work. In addition to being inexpensive, they’re also an environmentally friendly way to light up your gardens and walkways. They also require little maintenance and are easy to install – since most modern solar landscape lights are completely wireless.
What are the brightest solar lights for outdoor use?
A significant disadvantage of solar landscape lights is that they are not as bright as electric lights. We recommend that you choose a solar light that has a built-in battery for up to eight hours of lighting and a built-in sensor that automatically turns on at dusk and off at sunrise.