Joyce Herr
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How to Add Solar Lighting to Your Landscape

by Joyce Herr 10/15/2020

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

If you’re looking to light up your house or yard using a quick and easy DIY method, a variety of solar lights fit the bill.  You can choose from many elegant styles, with no extension cords required.  Solar lights can be mounted, placed into the ground on stakes, hang as lanterns or on strings, or set on a flat surface as a votive.  Generally, they last about 4 years, and the solar batteries can be replaced to extend their life.  Going solar with your outdoor lighting makes a perfect way for renters to illuminate their porches and yards; besides being easy to install, they are just as easy to remove and take with you when you leave, with no value lost.  

Your Home

Lighting that illuminates the vertical surface of your house at night, or uplighting, adds security as well as a polished look.  Uplighting beautifully highlights your house siding and porch at night.  This can be easily achieved with solar lights on the brighter end of the spectrum mounted on stakes.  Look for individual lights without top shades to place in the ground near the base of your siding so that light will be directed upward along the face of the house.  

Your Garden

Any type of garden, from a rock garden with succulents to a less-manicured country garden, can benefit from standout flowers and greenery being lit from below.  Smaller lights placed down in between the leaves of plants and directed upward give them a soft glow, or set them beside or between plants if you want to feature the light itself.  You can use the mini covered lamps on stakes or the candle-like cylinders. 

Solar lights are also available in a holiday-like spray of tiny lights.  You can style these in mini-sprays among plants, yard ornaments, around pools or outdoor kitchens, across fences, or cover your tree trunks to highlight trees all year long. 

Pathways and Driveways

Staggered lighting from in-ground stake or cylinder lights look great along stepping stone walkways or driveways.  Lights with a metal shade on top lining paths give a classy, finished look.  Candle-like lights can sit on top of short posts along walkways or near plants, or secure them by drilling a large hole through the center of your posts to insert staked solar lights.

Predator Deterrent

Particularly if you live in a rural area and want to keep pets safe by discouraging predators from entering your yard, the more well-lit your yard is at night, the better.  Your best bet might be a motion-detector spotlight facing out in the direction where you would expect wildlife to come from.  A bright light shining suddenly on them startles and disorients predators, and they will likely decide that encroaching this far into human territory isn’t worth it.  Find a spot to post your spotlight so it will point at and expose oncoming wild animals. Mount the attached solar panel at an angle that will allow it to soak up the most overhead sunlight during the day.

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