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Outdoor Solar Powered Garden Lights – Reviews and Recommendations

Updated on January 4, 2013

Outdoor Accent Lights

One of the best low-cost ways to improve the visual appeal of your garden and outdoor living areas is to add solar-powered accent lighting. These inexpensive yet attractive lights are an excellent way to give your surroundings an elegant look and feel without adding even a penny to your monthly electric bill.

The concept behind it is quite simple. Each light has a mini cell on the top that collects energy during daylight hours and stores it until the sun goes down. After dark, the energy is slowly released until it can charge again the next day. Solar powered garden lights offer many advantages over traditional outdoor lighting including set up that does not require any wiring.

You simply place the light in the spot where you want it and move on to the next one. If you are new to renewable energy lighting or just looking for some recommendations as to which outdoor and garden lights work best, this article will guide you through some of the different kinds that are available and what each one is used for. I will also provide reviews and product recommendations for the ones I have had the best results with.

Outdoor Solar Garden Lights Can Provide Beautiful Accents.
Outdoor Solar Garden Lights Can Provide Beautiful Accents.

Ground Stake Lights – Solar ground lights come in a variety of styles, colors, and finishes. Some of the most popular include traditional brass, copper, or stainless steel typically used to line a driveway or frame the outside edges of a garden or patio area. There are also ground stake lights shaped like flowers with various color choices that can really provide a “wow” effect at night giving your garden a warm and majestic colorful glow.

I have a few favorites here including the Mr. Light Copper plated stainless steel lanterns which have a faux candle effect and look like little hand lit lanterns at night. These are very classy and offer a warm and inviting, flickering soft light to illuminate and add beauty to a path or garden area. I especially like these because they don’t have to cold feeling commonly associated with LED lighting. If you are looking for something to mix in with plants and flowers, the garden stake hummingbird light by Mr. Light is a great choice. The acrylic hummingbird provides a color changing LED back-light that instantly provides a splash of color to your garden.

Hanging Outdoor Lights – Hanging solar lights are an excellent choice for around a deck or to lean out from a fence or retaining wall. A pair at the end of a driveway can also make for a dramatic and well-marked entrance to your property. I've also seen this work quite well to provide soft and romantic lighting around an outdoor spa or sauna.

My favorite hanging lights are the candle pillar lamps which provide an antique finish pillar with a glass enclosure. They provide perfect outdoor mood lighting with a warm and inviting glow that offers an upscale rustic look at a price that can fit nearly any budget.

Solar Deck Lights – These come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from corner lighting to spot lights that are very useful for illuminating an outdoor grill or cooking area. There are also larger options to light a seating or dining area. When it comes to choosing the right deck lights, a lot will depend on the color and style of your deck. The good news is you will have a lot of options here!

The best and most impressive presentations I've seen with deck lighting has made use of fence post cap lights and side mount post lights that can illuminate corners or areas near doors and walkways. The deck area is another great place to hang string lighting which is available in everything from frosted glass globes to dragonflies, butterflies, stars, and everything in between. This would also be an ideal place for a motion sensing light that would activate when someone enters or exits the area.

Step Lights – Solar step lights are not only a way to add safety to outdoor steps but they can also quickly transform a patio area from dull and boring to elegant and sophisticated. Here you can choose between top mounted strips or round step lights that mount flush with the surface of a wooden step.

I will refrain from offering a specific brand or style recommendation here as your choice will depend on the material your steps are made of and the type of surface you are dealing with. If you look around a little, you can find reviews for most of the major brands.

Lighting Can Transform a Pool or Garden Area.
Lighting Can Transform a Pool or Garden Area.

Garden Rock Lights – Solar garden rock lights are a great way to blend your outdoor lighting seamlessly within the surrounding landscape.

By day, they appear as carefully placed accent rocks and by night they can be used to shine accents and shadows on favorite features such as trees, shrubs, fountains, and garden flowers.

Here is another category where you will have plenty of choices. The one receiving my best review is the Smart Solar garden rock light with dual amber lights. It provides a gentle light and blends in with its surroundings by looking like a piece of granite.

Pathway Lighting – Sometimes referred to as ground lights, solar pathway lights are a great way to lead visitors along a sequence of pavers or to form defined borders around key features in your garden.

The ones I have had the most success with have been the Moonrays 91225 Verona style solar path lights. They come in a pack of 10 for under $30 and you can use them to illuminate any pathway or perimeter area with direct sunlight exposure. They seem to last forever and do well in just about any weather conditions. I've also been pleased with the Moonrays outdoor spotlights along paths and walkways to add light by illuminating landscaping features along the walkway without shining it directly on the pathway itself.

Pool Lights – If you happen to have a pool, spa, or water feature in your yard or garden area; solar powered pool lights can add visually stunning effects to moving or still water. Here is a great place to experiment with your lighting to set different moods using some variations or color. Try using blues and greens for a cool refreshing look or reds and yellows for a warm inviting feeling.

If you like to make an active and fun color statement, the AquaGlow underwater light show is a good choice offering colorful rays of dancing light that bounces from side to side in your pool. For a more relaxed effect, the Smart Color Chameleon floating globe provides a multi-colored glow and slowly transitions between colors.

Solar Powered String Lights – String lighting are great if you have a covered patio, gazebo, fence, or several large trees to work with. You can string them through a tree for a soft and visually impressive glow or use them along a border fence or overhang to give your outdoor space a European bistro feel.

There are so many unique varieties here, you really can create just about anything to match your own taste and personality. I really like some of the glass globes but I've also seen some beautiful work done using butterflies, mini-lanterns, and decorative flowers mixed in with shrubbery.

Starting Your Project

Whichever option you decide to go with, you will quickly see just how easy it is to get started and create an immediate impact in your outdoor living space. If you are on a tight budget, start with something small and add too it when you get the opportunity.

There are no rules that say you have to do everything at once so have fun and experiment with it until you create the right effect. Even if you don't have any prior experience with outdoor illumination, you can complete a successful project with ease and add immediate value, functionality, and curb appeal to your home.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love solar lighting, aesthetically and environmentally--advancing an understanding of solar for the future. Unfortunately manufacturers and consumers do not have a concept of solar altitude. Nowhere in the USA or Canada is the solar altitude ever (even at solar noon) at 90 degrees. However, the vast majority of solar cells point straight up--except spot lights which have an adjustable solar cell angle. In Canada the cells would gather more solar radiation year round if the cell was vertical rather than horizontal. Listen-up manufacturers and distributors. Hope this helps.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      7 years ago from Florida

      This Hub shows as a related Hub to the one I am publishing on installing solar path lights. I'd like to link this Hub into mine. May I??

      I voted this Hub UP, etc. It's a good informative Hub!

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Enjoyed your hub, great info! We've been trying to decide on lighting in our backyard since it gets so dark and this was helpful!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have not had much success with the solar lights. Do they normally have a short life? I spent a lot of money on replacement batteries, but once they quit working new batteries do not help. These were not cheap solar lights. Am I doing something wrong? What else can go wrong with the lighting besides a weak battery? I live in a very sunny climate, but have been disappointed in how well the solar lights hold up and last.

    • prism3x profile image


      7 years ago

      great hub on solar lighting!

    • A Hightower profile image

      Alexis in Brooklyn 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Thanks for the great tips which I wil definitely use! Such fantastic pics and ideas!!

    • Cameron Dean profile image

      Cameron Dean 

      8 years ago from New York

      I adore solar power lighting,it can transform a yard inexpensively. By the way, great photos.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow, great hub. You have put a lot of great information for anyone who is thinking about purchasing solar products for their home. Look forward to checking out your other hubs

    • whitton profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub and nice pictures!! Great information on solar and energy efficient lighting. Garden lighting is a great way to create light around plants, flowers, or trees and set a nice ambiance in your backyard.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes, they are so wonderful. I'm going to head out tomorrow and get some new solar lights to place in some new landscape beds around our trees in the backyard.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great information. I really enjoyed your hub and I learned new information's regarding solar powered devices.

    • dbworx profile image


      9 years ago from So. California

      Nice a few around our back yard and it adds just the right amount of lighting, thanx,

    • profile image

      LaMP ChiLD 

      9 years ago

      Enjoyed the photographs and healthy information. Good way to start the hub when informing readers about solar energy being an energy-efficient and wallet-efficient way to light up the outdoors of your home. Kudos!

    • Electric Feel profile image

      Electric Feel 

      9 years ago from California

      Thanks for the Hub!

    • easybloomplus profile image


      9 years ago from Illinois

      I have never been a fan of the weak bluish-white LED solar lights, but the ones you have here look much better.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This looks very good

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Sigh, I live in an apartment, dont even have a balcony, much less a garden. I so dearly want to have a garden, and put on the solar lights.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nobody wants to be in the dark,in the garden,house,house area especially at night.With those solar light it looks easy to find things,swimming even to gardening at night.Thank you for giving some information on saving cost on lighting!

    • CYBERSUPE profile image


      9 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

      AWESOME Hub--FANTASTIC PICTURES--Great job. I do wish you the very best. Thanks again for the ideas i stole from your hub

    • Pro1Review profile image


      9 years ago

      glad I found this! Going to link to you from my solar energy hub...

    • BkCreative profile image


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I had no idea that there was such a large variety. I always see those that you just stick in the ground. These look great and I am wondering...can I put the globes in my living room window and get some indoor illumination. Hmmmm.

      Thanks! I'll bookmark this so I can come back and shop!

    • hypnodude profile image


      9 years ago from Italy

      I love them, actually I have ten in my garden, and usually every year I buy some more. Great hub, very well written. Rated up and stumbled.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Those are very beautiful. I liked to created wonderful lightning in my house, especially for garden. It look more beautiful at night. thank you very much.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      great information


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