You spent hours planting, watering, trimming, and cultivating your garden, so why not show it off even when the sun goes down? Solar lighting not only makes your garden visible at night, but it can also light up a path through your garden for nighttime strolls.
Solar lighting panels absorb sunlight and convert it to electricity to power small light fixtures. The energy-efficient lighting option won’t increase your electricity bills, and it makes a great addition to the landscape lighting fixtures you may already have. Use these tips to make your garden look even more beautiful after sunset.
Charge the Panels
The first thing to do before installing solar lights is to charge them. Let the panels power up in the sun for between 12 and 14 hours. It could take two days for the panels to charge fully. You can also wipe the panels down before installing them to help them charge more efficiently.
Include the Lights With Landscape Lighting
If you have landscape lighting, you can still have fun with solar garden lighting. For instance, you can string solar lights on a tree next to your garden or branches hanging over your garden. If so, hang the lights using stainless steel hanger bolts rather than mounting brackets, which are more vulnerable to insect damage.
Combined with color changing landscape lights, string lights can transform your garden and the rest of your yard into a whimsical space. Imagine watching your garden light up in a brilliant display of shifting colors with small points of light arching from branch to branch overhead.
Consider Where You Want To Place Lights
Placement is vital for solar garden lighting. Where you position your lights determines how much sunlight the panels get and how you use the lights. For instance, if you want to create a path through your garden, place the lights closer together to make it easy to see the walkway. If you want to highlight a garden feature, group lights together so they cast sufficient light.
Think about whether your light placement could become a hazard. You don’t want to risk mowing over the lights or your kids tripping over the panels while playing. Position the lights so they’re as visible as possible.
Also, consider where to place your lights so they get maximum direct sunlight exposure. If your lights have a separate panel, you have more freedom in where you place them. Wherever you place the solar panel, dig a trench six feet deep before covering the cables.
Look for Obstructions
When deciding where to place solar garden lights, think about whether overhanging branches and leaves could block sunlight throughout the day. As the sun moves across the sky, it may cast shadows over the panels and block them from absorbing light.
Other obstructions to consider are edgers, cars, and lawn mowers. The next time you cut your grass, note your usual path so you know where to place lights safely. If your garden’s near your driveway, be careful not to install lights or panels where you may run over them.
Clean the Lights
Once you’ve installed, charged, and used the lights, maintain them. Bugs, dirt, dust, and leaves that accumulate on panels block them from direct sunlight and shorten battery life. Use a cloth and soapy water to wipe the panel every two to three months.
While you have the cloth and soapy water out, wipe down the solar light globes. Keeping the lights’ plastic and metal parts clean helps them last longer and look better.
Solar garden lighting is an effective, inexpensive way to brighten your garden for years to come. Use these tips to accent your garden’s best features, add additional lighting, and transform your landscape.