What are Solar Lights?
Solar lights are devices that use photo-voltaic cells to convert light particles from the sun into energy and thus power light bulbs. The lights in solar garden lights are LED lights. LED’s are a form of light emitting diode that uses less energy than incandescent bulbs.
Solar Lights for Gardens
Gardens are the perfect place for solar LED lights. They are outside, they get plenty of sun and the lights are only needed to be powered at night. Solar LED garden lights will soak up the sun’s light particles during the day which in turn gives them power to light up at night. Solar lights can be a beautiful addition to your garden and can allow you to enjoy your garden at night, without using wires or extension cords or affecting your power bill. Solar light set ups for landscaping are also cheaper than traditional higher voltage lighting arrangements. Traditional wired landscape lighting requires an electrical contractor and installation costs to set up the wiring. Solar lights are a great alternative for those on a budget.
Where to Place Solar Garden Lights
There are many things to take into consideration when designing your outdoor garden light set up. If you need to light up a dark area that doesn’t receive much sunlight, the solar lights will not work in that area. If you need do light up an area like this, you can purchase lights with a separate solar panel, place it in an area with adequate sunlight, such as your roof, and then run wiring from the solar panel to the solar lights.
Paths with good sunlight are great areas to place short stake lights. You can place several lights along each side of the path to illuminate the walkway. Be sure to place the lights at an even distance between each light.
Lights can be placed under a tree to create a soft glow coming from the tree trunk at night.
If you have a pond, you can place solar garden lights around the perimeter to create a nice lighting affect around the water.
Solar spotlights can be used to light up water fountains, or seating areas such as benches or the area around a bbq or fire pit.
How to Make Solar Lights for Garden?
You can buy lights with solar panels already on them, OR you can rig together your own solar lighting setup using lights you already have. How do you do this? You will need 3 or 4 items depending on your set-up.
- Solar Panel
- Charge controller
- LED Lights
First you will need to purchase a solar panel large enough to handle your load consisting of LED lights. It is better to use LED lights because they use less electricity. This solar panel has everything you need except for the battery and the lights. You simply connect the solar panel to the charge controller, then to the battery, then to the LED lights. You need the battery to hold the power that the solar panel generates. You need the charge controller to prevent overcharging that can cause damage to your devices. If you are powering DC current lights, those are the items you will need. If you are powering an AC device, you will need to purchase an inverter to convert the DC current from the solar panel to AC.
Types of Solar Garden Lights
There are several types of solar lights you can use for your landscaping project.
In-ground lights or “ground lights” are flat round lights that can be placed to where they are flush with the ground. They don’t stick up out of the ground, so you won’t trip over them. They come with a pointy stake attached so all you need to do is stick them into the ground and you’re good to go! Usually it is best to purchase these in bulk. These lights are best used to light pathways and perimeters, so multiples are needed.
Solar garden figurine lights can be an excellent accent to your garden. When placed near flowers, trees, luscious plants or vines they add a fantasy element that is both charming and whimsical. Just a few of these lights are needed for the overall affect. Some people think too many figurine lights can be overkill, and look tacky, but I say to each his own! They can be beautiful and kids love them. Click the photos below to view on Amazon.
Globe lights, like figurine lights, are great accent pieces to you garden. I think one or two of these combined with the figurine lights will add a nice touch. Globe lights come with a stake to stick them into the ground. They have light sensors so they come on at night only.
String lights around your patio or in your trees for a vintage festive look. Many string lights are traditionally wired using an extension cord. You can find a variety of different styles of wired lights. However, solar string lights are also available for those who want to save money and save the environment! Check out some of the solar string garden lights available on Amazon.
Solar Fairy Lights
Another name for string lights is fairy lights. Below are some fairy light decorating ideas.
Solar Path Lights
Solar path lights are similar to ground lights, but they stick up out of the ground. They come with a long stake to stay in place and have night sensors so they turn on only at night. They come in a variety of designs, such as mini lamps, lanterns, torches and cylinders. You can choose to have a combination of path lights and ground lights, or choose one or the other. ground lights have a more clean sophisticated look, while path lights are more homey and decorative. Below are some examples of solar path lights on Amazon.
Step lights are great additions to outdoor stairways. Whether you have a few steps going to your porch or several steps going up a hill, you can use step lights to help visitors and your family see the steps at night. There are solar step lights that don’t need to be plugged in and require no wires. They have sensors inside them that tell them when it is night so they can turn on at the right time. These lights are great for safety purposes.
Solar spot lights are another type of solar garden light that you can use for your outdoor oasis. Spotlights can have a dramatic affect, creating shadows that are silhouettes of plants and statutes. Do you have a water fountain or a centerpiece statue? Use a spotlight on it! To create a dramatic shadow affect, shine a spotlight on a statue with a solid wall in the background. The enlarged shadow of the statue will show up on the wall behind it. You can also just use spotlights in general to lead the way through your garden and highlight fountains and other plants as desired. Solar spot lights are great for lighting up pool areas too.
Solar Deck Lights or Solar Outdoor Wall Lights
Solar outdoor wall lights are perfect for lighting up fences, gates and other areas around your yard that have a wall. They give a nice sophisticated look to your fence. You can also use them on the front of sheds or inside sheds to light up the walls. I like to put one on each side of my wooden shed so they look like porch lights.
Now that you know EVERYTHING there is to know about garden lighting, I hope you have been inspired to create the garden you have been dreaming of. And don’t forget that solar uses less energy so you can save the planet while lighting up your garden! Happy gardening!