How To Get The Best From Solar Powered Garden Lights

By Siobhan Birkin

The route to a successful outcome in any project starts by clearly defining the objective, and in that respect installing outdoor solar lighting is no different. Ask yourself whether you want to provide an evening entertainment area, improve security and/or safe access, or simply add an extra visual dimension to your garden at night.

You might of course choose any or all of the above plus a few other ideas of your own, which means you will also have to figure out how to balance various competing demands on your solar lighting layout. So you can see then that specifying your various objectives upfront makes it a whole lot easier to divide your outdoor spaces into discrete zones and identify suitable light fittings.

If for example one of your requirements is to deter intruders approaching your property then solar deck lights, while highly versatile, simply won't cut it. But by the same token you wouldn't want to entertain folk under the glare of a solar floodlight. Something softer is required, but not so subdued your guests can't actually see what they drinking or who they're talking to.

It's easiest to install outside solar lighting where the end requirements are clearly defined (i.e. deter intruders) and this usually covers what is called task (or functional) lighting. It has an easily understood job to do such as, say, ensuring that you can safely follow a path or flood an area with light when movement is detected.

Decorative solar garden lighting doesn't have to conform to specific requirements in the same way as functional lighting but there are still some guidelines worth noting. First and most obvious is that solar lights need to recharge each day which means either the lights themselves (or their solar panel if using an external charging system) need to be sited in a sunny daytime location.

Secondly, outdoor solar lights are typically less bright than their mains powered counterparts. Even when fitted with highly efficient LED light bubs they have to provide many hours of light from a single battery charge and simply cannot run as brightly. But that can be turned to an advantage since you can pack in many more solar garden lights than is possible using regular lights to create striking yet still subdued effects.

Thirdly, one of the main attractions of outdoor solar lighting is that it is both extremely easy to install and equally easy to rearrange subsequently. You aren't stuck with your initial decisions regarding placement and can endlessly try out various arrangements until you settle on one that looks most pleasing to you.

Lastly, always remember whose garden it is - yours. There is absolutely nothing to stop you indulging in whatever whimsy takes your fancy. It is all but impossible to make a garden look worse with outdoor solar lighting and the truth is that almost any type of garden lighting always looks way better than not having any at all. - 29857

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