Everything you need to know about garden solar lights

Posted on November 17, 2020

Solar lighting for your garden is not a new phenomenon, but there’s a lot more to sustainable solar lights than just cable-free illumination. Solar lights now come in all shapes, sizes, designs and colours – and now they can even be smart, connecting to your smartphone for total control over the look of your garden solar lights.

How do solar lights work?

Without diving too deeply into the science of solar lighting, all our solar garden lights are fitted with a solar cell, a rechargeable battery, an LED light (or multiple) and a photoresistor.

At its core level, the solar cell absorbs the sun’s light and converts it to electricity1. This solar-fuelled electricity is then stored in the battery. Throughout the day, the photoresistor acts as a switch, when the ambient light around the solar light drops below a certain level, the photoresistor allows the stored electricity to reach the LEDs which in turn illuminate.

When the sun begins to rise, the photoresistor switches the supply of electricity off and the battery begins to recharge via the solar cells.

Sustainability of solar garden lights

We’re huge advocates of sustainable gardening at Ruxley Manor, from glyphosate weed-killers, composting, reduced peat growing media, water conservation solutions we believe everyone should be doing their bit to help sustain our environment.

For dramatic, ambient or stylish lighting, solar is the way to go for sustainability. Cared for well, garden solar lights will last for years and, as they generate their own electricity, there is no need for fossil fuels to keep your garden illuminated.

What should I consider before buying solar lights for the garden?

First and foremost, it’s worth investing in quality solar lights. If you have to replace poorly made solar garden lights every year the sustainability impact will be lost.

Secondly, the most beneficial thing you’ll need to know is exactly what you want to achieve with your outdoor lighting. Below we’ve spoken to our Visual Merchandising and Garden Care team who have offered up a few inspirational ideas for usage – but every garden is unique and, with all the choice available, we encourage you to inflect your own style on your choices.

Thirdly, it’s worth understanding the range of solar garden lights available to you – as with home lighting (a lot of outdoor lighting can be used indoors too!) there are a huge range of styles, colours and types of solar light to choose from.

Solar String Lights

Solar string lights, or solar fairy lights, are exactly what they sound like. Elegant and magical these are very similar to the kinds of lights you’d buy for decorating at Christmas.

Solar string lights add a touch of elegance, usually give a soft, ambient light and are perfect for wrapping or suspending from pergolas, marquees and trees in your garden.

Solar Stake Lights

Solar Stake Lights are generally single solar lights on stems, ready to be inserted into beds or lawns and look great alongside features or pathways within your garden to draw attention or make navigating at night a little easier.

Solar Table Lights

For illuminating the dinner table, garden solar table lights come in traditional designs like lanterns and lamps and help keep a gorgeous ambience for al fresco dining after dark.

Natural Solar Lights

If you love your garden looking natural, there are plenty of natural solar garden lights available. These lights are camouflaged in casings such as natural stone which can placed around the garden and are great for drawing attention to feature plants in your beds.

Solar Spotlights

Solar Spotlights give a concentrated beam of light and can be found in a variation of colours to match your garden design. These strong beams of light add drama to your evening garden picking out features and can be mixed and angled to create gorgeous light displays.

Smart Solar Lights

As with many things these days, you can find a range of Smart Solar Lighting at Ruxley Manor. These link with your smartphone via an app that allows you to control when they’re on, off and, with some ranges, the colour too!

Solar Light Style Guide

Fulgent Features

Keep your pièces de resistance visible throughout the evening with some dramatic solar uplighting positioned strategically. Using natural solar lights you can add subtle additions to your beds to illuminate your feature pieces throughout the evening or, to add some real drama to your garden design, solar spotlights will give you strong beams in a variety of colours to give you’re garden a bold evening look.

Elegant Entertaining

Hanging solar string lights around a pergola, marquee or overhanging tree can add a touch of real elegance to your evening al fresco meals. Using designs like paper lanterns, Edison solar bulbs and paired with matching solar table lights you can create a real height and depth to your evening feasts.

Magical Fairy Garden

If you’ve got children who love a touch of magic, we have a huge range of novelty solar lights in the shape of characters and animals that will make your fairy garden even more enchanting in the evenings. A mix of solar fairy lights and solar novelty lights will keep your fairy garden illuminated long into the evening – particularly good during the winter months with early nights rolling in.

Outdoor Living Room

Take your living room outdoors with a range of solar lamps and lanterns designed for the garden! On those warm summer nights, keep the relaxation going after the sun goes down with a range of solar lights you’d expect to find in your living room – and don’t forget, during winter they can be used inside too!

Radiant Route Finding

Don’t get lost in the dark! Using solar stake lights or some more subtle, ground based solar lighting you can edge pathways, beds and decks throughout your garden to add some wayfinding in whatever colour or style suits your garden.

We’d love to see what stylish and magical creations you come up with using solar lights in your garden – take a photo and tag us on social for us to see!

Find our range of solar lighting in store or view our favourites in the solar light range on our website!

1 For the science-types!

Solar powered photovoltaic panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity by exciting electrons in silicon cells by way of photons from the sun’s rays. The agitation of electrons results in an electrical charge being created and delivered to the battery for storage.

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