5 Ways to Use Solar Landscape Lights

A garden walkway lined with solar path lights

Landscape lighting covers all the necessary bases — safety, security, and splendor. But why choose solar lights over traditional electric ones? They’re weather-resistant, energy-saving, cost-efficient, and only need direct sunlight as a power source.

In this article, we will cover five ways to use solar lights around your home:

  1. Light a pathway with solar stakes
  2. Set a mood with string lights
  3. Increase security with floodlights
  4. Showcase your landscape with spotlights
  5. Illuminate outdoor spaces with wall lights or post lights

5 Ways to Use Solar Lights in your Landscaping

Here’s how to choose the best types of solar lights to illuminate different areas of your property.

1. Light a pathway with solar stakes

Photo Credit: Grigory Bruev /Adobe Stock

Besides increasing nighttime safety for you and your visitors, solar pathway lights also can boost curb appeal after dark.

Benefits:

  • Allows you to enjoy outdoor activities long after sunsets
  • Reduces chance of injury
  • Increases security
  • Solar LED lights can last 20 to 25 years
  • Weather-resistant 
  • Eco-friendly and easy to install
  • Adds decorative beauty to garden paths and front walks
  • No need to place near electric outlet

Details: Solar path lights come in many varieties and should be located in areas that receive full sun. This will allow your landscape lighting to store up enough energy to emit light come nightfall. As these tend not to shine as bright as electric lights, consider buying more than you think you may need to achieve the right intensity.

  • In-ground and faux garden stone styles available
  • Flickering flame solar torches like these
  • Bright white light and color changing options 

Cost: Depending on the number of lights you plan to purchase and whether they’re white lights or colored lights, prices range from around $20 to more than $100.

2. Set a mood with string lights

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Bathe your back patio in soft light to create romantic vibes, or hang multicolored string lights to encourage a more party-like atmosphere.

Benefits:

  • Reduces carbon footprint/saves energy
  • Weather-resistant 
  • A breeze to set up
  • Solar LED bulbs can last 20 to 25 years
  • Can provide around 10 hours of light if fully charged
  • No need for electricity; runs on rechargeable batteries powered by sun

Details: Hang string lights in an area that receives full sun during the day, so the rechargeable batteries can be energized by the natural light. There are a number of different styles to match whatever vibe you’re going for, such as:

Cost: Prices can vary depending on style and amount; plan to spend between $20 and $60.

3. Increase security with flood lights

Photo Credit: Steverts / Adobe Stock

Whether it’s for your home or business, LED flood lights make your property safer for visitors and help keep your energy bills low, all at the same time. Here’s how:

Benefits:

  • Low voltage still emits super-bright light/conserves energy
  • Deters crime/improves nighttime safety
  • LED bulbs not easily broken; can last 10 to 20 years
  • Great for remote locations; only needs direct sunlight for power
  • Helps other security devices, such as cameras, catch clearer pictures

Details: For optimal security, use an LED flood light equipped with a motion sensor. This also helps save energy, as the light is only triggered when something moves within its field of view. Install these near doors and above your driveway. Options include:

Cost: Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $300.

4. Spotlight hardscapes and flower beds

Photo Credit: Needpix

Have a garden design you’re particularly proud of? Want to highlight your favorite statue or shrub no matter the time of day or night? Opt for a solar spotlight. 

Benefits:

  • Easy to install, affordable, energy-efficient
  • Durable and weather-proof
  • Can double as security lighting; also perfect to light up pool area
  • No need for wires, sunlight is all it needs for power
  • Adjustable light coverage can be trained on specific item or larger area

Details: Solar spotlights are also great during the holidays. Shine one on entryways to accentuate festive decor, such as wreaths. A few to try:

Cost: Prices can range from $10 to $70.

5. Illuminate outdoor spaces with wall lights or post lights

Photo Credit: EpicStockMedia / Adobe Stock

Maximize your outdoor living spaces, such as decks, patios, and front porches, with solar lights that turn on after dark. Host evening soirees or enjoy a solo retreat well into the night.

Post lights easily fit over deck railing posts, while wall lights can be mounted on the exterior of your home.

Benefits:

  • Wire-free; only needs light of the sun to charge
  • DIY install is simple
  • Eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and weather-resistant 
  • Also works for porches, garages, and fences

Details: Solar post lights and wall lights also come in a multitude of colors and styles:

Cost: Depending on the type and number you’d like, prices range from $15 to more than $100.

FAQ About Solar Landscape Lighting

How do solar lights work?

Landscape lighting that’s solar powered works when these lights are placed in areas that receive direct sunlight throughout the day. When energy from the sun brings the batteries inside the lights to full charge, nightfall triggers the lights to “turn on.”

What are lumens and how many do I need for outdoor lighting?

Lumens describe how bright a bulb will shine — the greater the number of lumens, the more light a bulb will emit. For security lights and spotlights, you’ll need a higher amount of lumens than path lights and postal lights, for example.

This handy guide can help you determine the right amount of lumens for your landscape lighting projects.

When to Hire a Landscaping Professional

Installation of solar outdoor lighting is a super-easy DIY project. A landscape pro will be useful, however, if you’d like to implement solar lights, but live in an area with more shade than sun.

These experts can help by setting up a separate solar panel for the lights on top of your roof or in another area of your yard that receives more direct sunlight.

No matter where you live, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of solar power.

Main Photo Credit: Geraldas / Adobe Stock

Andréa Butler

Andréa Butler

Descendant of the Fulani tribe, Gettysburg-obsessed Marine Corps brat, and lover of all things writing and editing, Andréa Butler launched Sesi magazine and has penned articles for sites, such as LivingSocial, Talbot Digital, Xickle, Culturs magazine, and Rachel Ray. Andréa holds a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.A. in magazine journalism from Kent State University.