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Solar lights are lights that run on solar power. This immediately gives them numerous advantages over other kinds of lighting and allows you to create a number of beautiful effects for your garden that will make it easier to navigate in the dark and to make the most of all year round.
In this post, you’ll learn more about solar lighting and how to use the best solar lights to turn your garden into a magical space.
Outdoor Solar Lights, the Basics
Solar lights work using small solar panels which collect light in order to create a current. This type of solar panel is what we call ‘photovoltaic’, which means that it works using light rather than heat (this being a solar thermal panel).
Photovoltaic panels work by using precisely arranged electrons which are sensitive to the sun’s rays. When these electrons come into contact with sunlight, it excites them and thus causes them to start moving. As they do, they are funnelled into a line and this is what then gives us a current.
Of course, this wouldn’t be much good if it was the entire way that your solar panels worked. In order to be useful, solar lights need to come on when it is dark – not while there is sun! As such, most solar lights will include a small battery that will allow them to store that energy and then use it. Meanwhile, light sensors ensure that the light only comes on when it is dark, and that light is needed. Interestingly, the solar sensors work very similar to the solar panels – they generate a small amount of energy and this allows the circuit to detect when it needs to come on.
This is an additional advantage of using solar powered lights for your garden – they come on when needed and with no input necessary from you.
When choosing the best outdoor solar lights for your home, there are a few things to consider:
- The brightness – this is denoted in lumens, with higher numbers being brighter
- The color – Bright solar lights can look quite different depending on the color – a clinical white is very different from a warm orange glow
- Features – That said, you may wish to use solar lights that can change color – or go through a series of different colors. These are features that some solar lights offer, while others offer things like remote controls, dimming etc.
- Water resistance – A must for keeping your lights outdoors all day and night
The Best outdoor Solar Lights
So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best solar lights with these solar lighting reviews. And from there, we’ll go on to see how you can use them to make the most enjoyable and eco-friendly garden space possible.
LINEWAY Remote Control Solar Flood Light LED
This is a bright solar light that is perfect for reading or spending time with friends. The best part is that it is dimmable and remote controlled, meaning you can set the mood without having to get up! You can’t say much fairer than that.
It’s also waterproof – so you don’t need to worry about rain – and at 450 lumens, it’s more than bright enough.
Color Changing Glass Ball LED – Garden Lights
These color-changing lights from Pandawill are our pick for the best solar lights! While all the solar lighting reviews on this list are very different and for different purposes, this option is attractive, versatile and very different.
These are round lights that have a huge roster of different colors that shine out of the mosaic pattern. They can be bright and colourful, or they can be moody in evening colors. They’re not right for everyone, but if you’re looking for something stunning and unique – this is a great choice!
Overall Rating: 4/5
Aukey Solar Lights 38-LED Motion Sensor Light
This solar sensor light is one of the best solar lights if you are looking for something to come on automatically when heading into your front garden. This can help you to find your keys at the door, avoid tripping and deter potential trespassers.
This can also be useful for the back garden, but make sure that you consider it in your overall design – read below for more on landscaping for the best outdoor solar lights arrangement!
Solosmart Outdoor Solar Garden Stake Lights With 4 Lily Flower
These lily flowers are particularly beautiful even before the lights come on. They’re dainty, colourful (in pinks and blues) and dim enough to add to the ambience without making the garden too bright. They’re not a good choice for reading of course, but for adding a little of color and drama – they’re perfect! It’s a shame however that there are only two per pack.
Boomile 12 Pack Solar Lights
These top rated solar lights are your ‘standard’ option for stake lights that can be arranged in a variety of ways. They have a serene white light that is bright enough for easy navigation, without being overbearing or dazzling. They are great value too, with 12 per pack. The chrome style design is very nice too!
How to Enjoy Your Garden at Night
Many people who have a garden in their home don’t really do enough to make the most of it. Sure, they will probably spend some time maintaining it, and likewise chances are that they will at least spend some time out there in the summer, but then for the rest of the year and most evenings when they get home from work it will simply be neglected while you curl up on the couch indoors.
This is a travesty however for as anyone who doesn’t have a garden will tell you, this is a great feature to have in your home and something that you shouldn’t ignore. Making the most of your garden is highly important to get the most from your property, and that should mean at least spending some of your evenings out there from time to time.
You have the best solar lights, so now what else can you do to add to the ambience and the potential uses?
Here’s how to really enjoy your garden during the evening by investing in the right features and furniture and knowing just what to do when you get out there.
First of all, you will need to decorate and kit out your garden to be conducive to evenings relaxing. A water feature is a fantastic way to create atmosphere outside as it will make a quiet trickling noise while at the same time casting a shimmering blue light over the garden. Yes, it is possible to get solar fountains – the power needed to power the pump isn’t much. And once you’ve added some solar LEDs, you have a beautiful feature.
Next, you’ll need shelter, so look into getting a pagoda or somewhere else you can hide from the rain. This way you can stay dry while listening to the sound of rain pattering on the roof which is a highly relaxing experience. Meanwhile you should also look into your furniture so make sure it’s comfortable. A comfy swing bench is great for solitary reading or romantic cuddling, while a garden table is perfect for a candlelit dinner for two.
Of course, if you plan on reading outside, then you might need a light that is somewhat brighter than even the best solar lights for your paving.
Fortunately, there are plenty of brighter options for your lighting too. You can get solar floodlights and solar motion sensor lights that will easily light your garden enough to navigate your way around or read. Of course, you can even get solar-powered reading lights!
If you’re going to be sitting outside reading though, then you’ll also want to stay warm. In this case, you can of course use a heater – and yes, you can get solar patio heaters to match your solar lighting. Or you can power your heater from a solar generator or battery. If you are interested in finding the best solar spotlights for your garden you can check our top 5 choices in the guide.
But then again, another way to keep warm outside without hurting the planet or your bank account, is simply to go ‘analog’ and keep some blankets outside. Keep a waterproof box by your seating, add some blankets, and that way you can curl up and stay warm come rain or (moon)shine.
Keeping waterproof storage in your garden is actually a good idea for several reasons. This way, you can keep your books, board games – even a drink – and enjoy it outside.
Another option for heating is to use a log burner or oil burner. These are large cages that can be a permanent or removable feature in your garden. They create a warming, dancing orange light that is perfect for gathering around with friends, or just relaxing in front of alone.
When you use solar powered outdoor lights with the intention of creating a nicer space to spend time in the evenings, you need to give some thought as to how you will the most of that layout.
In other words, you need to design your garden with evening use in mind.
What does this mean? Firstly, it means thinking about the best positions for your solar powered outdoor lights. Lighting pavements is a good idea, and this is a common option for using many stake-styled solar lights.
At the same time though, it also means thinking in terms of ‘oases’ of light. The mistake many people make it is to design their lighting to make the entire garden brighter. This even coverage is good for visibility, but it doesn’t make for a very interesting scene.
Rather, try to create pockets of light and think of the dark spaces in-between your bright solar lights as being part of the design. A gazebo that is lit with fairy lights or LEDs might look like a tempting, magical cove in the corner of the garden, while a shimmering water feature closer to the house will look all the more impressive for being in an area of relative dark.
Think as well about how you will light your features, plants and garden decorations. Adding bright solar lights to a plant for instance can really draw attention to it and make it stand out. This will literally highlight features of your garden – so why not use this as a way to feature something that might be a little ‘lost’ visually during the day. That way, when the lights go down, your garden will take on a whole new appearance.
Finally – keep in mind that many of the best solar lights will come with controls and settings. This will allow you to choose between different set-ups and programs, in order to create different effects for your garden depending on the intended mood and use.
Ways to Spend Your Time – Make the Most of Bright Solar Lights
Now that you have your garden kitted out you need to make the most of it by relaxing there from time to time or using it for other things. For the perfect evening away from the TV, why not head out with a cup of tea, a good book, a reading light and a blanket to snuggle under? You can stick some headphones in too with some atmospheric music to really set the mood.
Alternatively, why not head outside with a telescope? A Newtonian Reflector or something similar isn’t too expensive as an investment, but it will grant you a detailed view of the sky allowing you to make out the craters on the moon, Saturn’s rings or even the moons of Jupiter where scientists suspect there may be life. It’s an amazing hobby and a great way to make the most of a garden. This is the benefit of making sure that any solar lighting that comes on automatically won’t be too bright.
If you have a pool, then you can even consider taking a dip in the evening. This is very refreshing and if you’re a follower of Wim Hof (check him out if you’re not!), then you’ll know that exposure to cold water can actually be very good for you! If you are not a fan of cold you can check here the best solar pool heater.
Many families (and couples) also enjoy camping in their gardens. If it’s a warm evening, you can even lie under the stars and fall asleep. Midnight dinners and snacks are fun – and in fact any game you can play in the garden during the day can be made all the more fun in the evening.
Lighting the Front Garden
Exterior lighting is also very practical and useful however as well – it’s not just a luxurious feature. This is particularly true in the front garden, as if you ever get home after five in winter, then you will have no choice other than to be in this part of the garden in the dark. If you find yourself arriving at your home in the dark then this can be somewhat dangerous if you have no exterior lighting as it can mean that you are likely to fall over or more susceptible to being attacked by criminals. You will also find that you have a harder time finding your keys and it’s just unpleasant.
The best solar lights for your front garden will be designed to help you navigate to your front door, to find your keys and hopefully to deter any trespassers or would-be loiterers.
One option then, is simply to add a motion sensor bright solar light. This will come on as you approach the door. Otherwise, a solar flood light with a switch indoors will allow you to choose when you want to increase the light – especially if you also have a remote.
Solar pathway lights can also be useful for helping you find your way to the door or to the bins.
Maintaining the Perfect Green Garden using the best outdoor solar lights
If you’re interested in finding the top rated solar lights, then chances are you are interested in being as efficient and eco-friendly as possible.
Using solar powered lighting will help you to make a more sustainable garden… but that’s just the start.
Growing a garden is a great way to contribute to the environment and to do your bit against global warming. By growing your own garden you are creating more plants and tress which can help to produce more oxygen and dispel unwanted carbon gas. At the same time you are providing a habitat for local wildlife and if you grow your own fruits and vegetables you can even save money and energy on farming.
But in order to really make your garden an environmentally friendly endeavour, you need to make sure that you are avoiding using synthetic products in your garden like pesticides and fertilizers. Such products can actually be harmful for the environment in a number of ways as they can poison the local wildlife and upset the ecosystem. At the same time they can be bad for you if you end up ingesting them, or even for your pets – so it’s much better to avoid using them if possible.
But wait you might be thinking, won’t that result in a less healthy garden? Well no not necessarily – and actually if you know how you can maintain your garden in many much healthier ways without buying any synthetic products and using only organic materials that you can get yourself. Here we will look at how.
There are many things that can be used as pesticide that are completely natural and will cause no harm to the environment – and some of these won’t even be lethal to the pests you are trying to scare away. One option for instance to get rid of aphids on your plants is to simply cover them in a little olive oil or a little vinegar. Meanwhile if you want to keep slugs away from your cabbage patch then you can accomplish this by simply scattering some broken egg shells around the area. This works because it prevents the slugs from being able to crawl over the ground there without damaging their stomachs.
Another way to get rid of if you want to in your garden is to attract their natural predators. For instance then if you want to get rid of many bugs that eat your plants then attracting ladybirds to your garden is a good strategy and is fairly easy using a ‘ladybird patch’ which is just a moist patch of overgrown grass in your garden. Likewise, you can also attract wasps and bees using brightly colored flowers and they will kill all kinds of unwanted bugs as well as pollinating your flowers.
This is a surprising benefit of using solar powered lights – they can actually attract more insects and wildlife to your garden in the evening!
All fertilizers do is to provide your plants with organic matter. In the wild plants will draw minerals through the soil that come from decomposed leaves, fruits, nuts, bits of wood, grass, insects and animals. That’s how they get their iron and other minerals and why they are so nutritious for us.
To provide them with this then all you need is to use any kind of broken down organic matter and this can mean egg shells again, fish food, stock from your food, peel, stalks, roots, leftover meat and everything else. Keep a bin especially for organic waste and blend it up or let it rot before sprinkling it on your soil.
Conclusions – The Perfect Garden With Beautiful, Eco-Friendly Lighting
By following these tips, you’ll be able to keep a greener garden that will be all the more beneficial for the environment. And if you have a well thought-out array of solar powered garden lights to add to the atmosphere and help you spend more time out there… well then you’ll have achieved the perfect green garden!
And actually, anything that makes you spend more time outdoors will do wonders for the environment!