The Basics of Solar Landscape Lighting

These days, it seems like everyone is going green. From hybrid cars to organic gardens, the green movement seems to be spreading everywhere you turn. Landscaping is no different, and scores of inventive “green” ways to improve your landscaping are popping up all over the country. Chemical-free pesticides, organic mulch, and natural lighting sources are all par for the course when you choose to be “good” to the earth.

The benefit of solar landscape fixtures is that they provide long lasting lighting for your outdoor space with minimal upkeep. Plus, the money you’ll save on your electric bill will be significant if you keep your outdoor space lit all night. There are a few fundamentals you will need to learn if you want to switch your existing landscape lighting to solar; it’s nothing too difficult to master, and you can have your new fixtures up and running in less than an hour.

Understanding Solar Landscape Lighting

When your yard is sparse and winding, solar lighting is a fantastic option. You don’t have to fuss with wiring, plugs or outlets. You can situate fixtures anywhere along your landscape – down paths, along fence lines, or lining sidewalks, for example. There’s not a more versatile accent lighting than solar, and you’ll enjoy the design freedom that plug-free fixtures allows.

Solar landscape lighting works by storing and generating its own power reserves during daylight hours. At nightfall, the solar cells activate by converting the stored sunlight into natural electricity necessary to shine. A light-emitting diode (LED) bulb is powered by the electricity produced by the solar cells thanks to a small battery located inside the fixture.

Small lantern-style solar fixtures you stake into the ground are not the only models on the market today. Solar technology has become increasingly less expensive, longer lasting, and more efficient. This means many different versions are on the market, large and small, and they’re for sale and widely available at affordable prices. You can find models designed for use atop fence posts, beneath covered walkways, and more traditional versions you stake into the ground.

Power & Lighting

LED bulbs last for quite a bit of time, and their low-power glow makes them prime candidates for solar technology. That’s why you’ll find solar-powered LED lights stocked most frequently in home good stores. Halogen and fluorescent bulbs are also options, but their harsh, high-powered output drains solar energy faster than LED lights. It’s possible to use fluorescent bulbs for your solar landscape lighting, but it’s a better choice to stick with LED unless you have a real need for high-powered lighting.

The great thing about the new rechargeable battery technology is that the models hold a charge more readily and provide light much longer into the wee hours of the night. You’ll only need to change the battery once every couple of years or so, and you’ll have minimal upkeep other than that. Cleaning the solar panels is the only other real chore (if you can even call it that), and you must only do this once every few months.

Solar lighting is easy to install, a breeze to maintain, and looks great in any landscaping motif. It’s green and energy efficient, and new technology has increased output and lowered the price. Why would you use anything else to light your outdoor areas?

Proper Installation for your Solar Lighting

Energy-efficient lighting fixtures are all the rage. Green living has extended its reach all across the globe and wise homeowners are catching on to the trend and doing their part to save the environment. If green living interests you, solar lighting may be a good choice for your landscape.

Solar lighting provides homeowners with sufficient lighting minus the excessive energy usage. The solar energy from the sun powers the lights during the day so they can illuminate at night. Additionally, solar lights are inexpensive and easy to install. Installation can be done by a novice.

Below are some tips to installing your solar lights:


Select the location where you want to install your solar lights. Pay close attention to the areas that receive the most sunlight during the day. The more sunlight reaching the fixtures, the longer the batteries will stay charged during the night. More sunlight will keep your solar lights functioning as efficient as possible.

Choose Your Lights

It’s time to make your selection. What is the purpose for your lighting? Are you interested in illuminating pathways? Creating an elegant ambience? Providing a safer walkway or path for guests? Take notice of the purpose behind your lighting so you can be clear when you go to purchase fixtures. Take the time to survey your landscape and deduce whether a solar light will work in a specific area. For example, you may want to light a pathway under a tall tree, but if the tree covers the light during the day, you will not gain any energy from the sun and the light will not function at night.

While you are at the store purchasing your lights, make sure you also buy any tools required for installation. Ask a knowledgeable sales person for assistance. Chances are you already have everything you will need, but it’s good to make sure.

Safety First

Position your lights at a height that works for the location in your landscape. The more intense lighting should be positioned at higher locations so the light disperses. For security reasons, you can use the lights to illuminate the outer perimeter of your landscape since you are guaranteed sufficient sunlight if no trees are blocking it. The solar panel should be facing upward and tilted slightly to receive maximum sunlight.


Before you complete the installation, take the lights out for a test drive. Position them in the location of your choosing and give them a few days to see how they perform. You may find you want to change them around depending on the intensity of the light they give off and the energy they receive from the sun. Check to ensure the batteries are running at optimum levels so energy is conserved.


Complete the installation and check for defects. Once installed, double-check that the fixture is fitted correctly and every screw is tight. Check the wire joints and take care installing the light exactly as instructed. Do not take any shortcuts since varying climate and weather conditions can affect the life of your lights. Ensure they are installed properly according to instructions.