What to Look for in Solar Landscape Lighting

Solar landscape lighting is a great, cost-effective way to enhance the look of your backyard. Solar lights get their energy from the sun and don't require electricity to operate. They're also easy to install and can operate 8 to 10 hours a night if they get enough light during the day.

It's important to make your solar lighting selection carefully. Here are a few things for you to consider when choosing the right solar landscape lighting to meet your needs.

Let the Use Determine the Type

There are different types of solar lights. Most of the ones used in gardens are either accent or path lights, but task solar landscape lights are also available. Accent lights provide a soft glow that gently illuminates attractive landscaping such as a well-cut bush. They're also used to draw attention to a potential hazard such as a step. Path lights are used to light-up driveways and walkways. They tend to be slightly brighter than accent lights. Task lights are the brightest. Motion detectors and floodlights fit into this category. They store the energy of the sun and typically come on when a sensor detects movement.

Timed Solar Landscape Lighting

For a truly impressive garden, you may want some lights to come on at certain times of the night while others remain off. The only way to achieve this is through solar landscape lighting that comes with a timer. The timer allows you to set the days of the week you want the lights to come on and even which hour you want them to go on or off.

Unconventional Lighting

Don't limit yourself to solar lighting that's pegged in the ground. These types of lights are easy to move to different areas if you feel you haven't positioned them right, but unconventional lighting can make your landscaping look more impressive.  A floating lamp, for example, can be used to make your pool stand out. If you do a lot of eating and socializing at night, table top solar lanterns can make your backyard an appealing retreat. Post lanterns are also a good option. Hanging lights mounted to a wall or entrance way can draw attention to attractive hanging plants, beautiful architecture and or lovely windows.

Fixture Finishes

Solar landscape lighting can come in a variety of finishes. Choose ones that blend with your garden or landscape design. Fixture finishes available include plastic, stainless steel, copper and verdigris.


Some solar lights aren't entirely solar operated and require batteries to operate. If you don't feel like regularly replacing batteries, make sure the lights you select don't need batteries to run. For lights that need batteries, make sure you keep a stock on hand at all times. Typical sizes are AA or AAA. You'll know when you need to replace the batteries if the lights become dim.

Solar Landscape Lightening for Shade

Areas of your garden that are too shaded for the lights to be exposed to a significant amount of sunlight can still be decorated with solar lighting. You will, however, need to install a solar panel somewhere in direct sunlight, usually on the roof. Then you'll need to run a wire from the solar panel to the lights.