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Solar Landscape Lighting Tips – Selection and Installation

solar landscape lights

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

To add a bit more glow and interest to your landscaping, few options are simpler than solar landscape lighting. They’re easy to install and can add just the right effect to your lawn or garden.

Here, we’ll discuss the types and uses of solar landscape lights.

The Role of Solar Landscape Lighting

First of all, solar landscape lighting is best used in areas where you get plenty of sunlight. If you live in an area with long winters or lots of rainfall, you won’t get as much mileage out of your lights as you get in a sunny location.

Typically, solar lights used in winter might vary as much as 50% in their nighttime operation. That said, some lights are designed for winter use, so look for those if you live farther north. They’ll last much longer than most solar lights in areas with less sun.

Types of Solar Landscape Lights

Solar lights can be used in a variety of applications, including accent lighting, path lighting, and task lights. They range from small lamps stuck in the ground by walkways to large, pole-mounted lanterns that cast a glow over a wide area.

Most models come mounted on a stake that you simply drive into the ground. These have built-in solar panels, making them very easy to install. Others come with a separate solar panel that needs to be connected by a cable.

Some of the specific types of solar landscape lights include:

Path lights

Path lights are typically mounted on stakes, making them very easy to plant around your walkways and garden paths. Since they don’t tend to be very tall, they don’t have the greatest range, meaning you’ll likely need many of them to illuminate longer pathways.

Wall lights

Wall lights are mounted on the walls by doorways and other areas, and many models are made to look like old-fashioned lanterns, making them a very attractive way to add some task lighting to your porch.


Solar floodlights are designed to cast intense light over a wide area, meaning they need more electricity and, therefore, larger solar panels. This can make placing them a little more challenging, but for open areas where you need a lot of light, solar floodlights can save you quite a bit of electricity over traditional models.


A solar light mounted on a lamppost with a built-in panel is a great way to cast ambient light over your lawn and garden. They come in a variety of styles, and are a great way to get a classic lighting look without running wires out.


Solar spotlights are great for accent lights on trees, walls, and other interesting landscaping features.

Other landscape lights

On top of these various lighting options, there are a few that are a bit unique. These types of solar landscape lights include:

  • Address lights
  • Rock lights, which are housed in a plastic casing molded and painted to look like natural rocks
  • Mason jar lights, in which the lids contain solar panels
  • Pond lights, which are fully waterproof and are used to illuminate ponds and pools
  • Step lights, which are ground tiles with their own lighting

Installing Solar Landscape Lighting

house landscape lighting

Photo by Minjo Lama on Unsplash

For the most part, solar landscape lighting is very easy to install because you often don’t have to lay any wires. Models that do require wiring are still simple to install because they don’t need to be connected to a junction box, even though you will have to do a bit of digging.

Even with their general ease of installation, there are a few pointers to keep in mind.

Charge them beforehand

First off, you’ll want to charge them before installation. Usually, solar lights take about 12 to 14 ours to fully charge. With that in mind, consider leaving them outside for a day or two before installing them.

Get them plenty of sun

When you do place them, you’ll want to make sure they get plenty of sunlight. Try to place them in areas where they won’t be shadowed during daylight hours. For lights that come with a separate solar panel, you’ll only have to place the panel in a sunny spot. In many ways, this gives you more freedom with your lights.

Out of the way

At the same time, you’ll need to keep them out of the way. Try to place them where no one will trip over them or where you’re likely to mow. If they’re near your driveway, place them where you’re unlikely to crush them with your car.

Prepare the ground

Finally, the ground needs to be ready for them. Since most solar landscape lights are designed to be driven into the ground, the soil needs to be soft enough to give way. If you live in a dryer area such as Las Vegas or Arizona, you’ll have to break up the soil before installing your lights.

DIY or Professional Installation?

If you want a quick do-it-yourself way to light up your garden or lawn, solar landscape lighting is among the easiest ways to accomplish that. Even so, you might still want a professional to help with the design and placement of your lighting, particularly if you go with models that have separate panels.

In either case, it’s easy to add that extra glow you need to your home’s outdoor areas.

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