Having a well lit garden not only lets you enjoy your outdoor space well into the small hours, but it can also help prevent trips and falls by properly lighting paths and steps. If installing garden lighting with all its trailing cables sounds like a fairly major undertaking, solar garden lighting may be just the solution you're looking for!
In this article, we're here to shed some light on outdoor illuminations. From LED string lights to solar charging garden lamps made to withstand UK weather, we cover all the main points you need to consider before buying. We've even ranked the top 10 best in the UK on Amazon, Argos and eBay to get you out and enjoying your garden whatever the time of day.
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Solar garden lights have become an increasingly popular alternative to the conventional wired electric lights that we are used to seeing in our gardens. Solar garden lights are affordable and very energy efficient, which helps you keep costs down.
Solar garden lights use photovoltaic cells in solar panels to absorb sunlight during the day and turn it into energy, which is stored in batteries to use at night when it is needed. Because of this, they don't connect to the mains, so you don’t need a qualified electrician to install them.
Solar garden lights use LED (light emitting diode) bulbs, which require little power and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. This means they don’t need to be connected to a power outlet making them easy to install and reposition.
There are many different styles of solar lighting that can add a pop of colour or a well places shine to your outdoor space. The type of light you choose will depend on the effect you want to create. Consider your intended outcome when looking through your options.
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Solar garden lights need sunlight in order to charge the batteries, and insufficient light can lead to them not operating properly. Some solar garden lights need full sunlight in order to charge sufficiently for optimum light output, whereas others can charge in partial sunlight.
If you have a garden that only gets partial sun throughout the day, then you should make sure your chosen lights are suitable for use in gardens with lower levels of sunlight. Even if the majority of your garden gets full sun, where you position may not so it is worth bearing this in mind so that you choose the right lights for your space.
Just like any wireless gadget, solar garden lights take a certain amount of time to fully charge to get the longest possible operating time. Depending on how much sun the charging panel is exposed to during the day, this can take varying amounts of time, so you should check to make sure the lights will charge fully in your chosen location.
Some solar garden light manufacturers will give you a rough idea of how long the lights will operate off one charge. Although not a guarantee, you should take note of this to get an idea of whether your chosen lights will operate for the whole duration of the time that you need them. 6 hours is perfect to illuminate those nightcaps before you retire to bed, but if you want lights that will shine all night, you're best opting for something in the 10 hour range.
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Generally speaking, solar garden lights usually use LED lights owing to the fact they use much less energy, give off a brighter light, and last so much longer than other bulb types. This is ideal for garden that don't get much sun, as even a brief charge will last longer if the bulb is burning less energy!
LEDs give off either a low warm light, or a brighter white light, with the latter using much more energy than the former. Depending on the type of light you want to achieve, you should consider the type of bulb used to make sure that the lights will fulfil your requirements. White lights will created a sharper and more striking look, whereas warm white will feel cosy and intimate.
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Solar Pathway Lights
Warm White Pathway Lights With an Eye-Catching Design
LED Solar Rock Lights
Rock Lights Designed to Blend in to Your Garden
Solar Fence Lights
Solar Lighting for Fences, Walls and Driveways
Festoon Warm White Solar Lights
30 Warm White String Lights for Creating Ambience
Outdoor Pathway Solar Lights
Guaranteed to Last for Over 30,000 Hours
Solar Landscape Spotlights
Adjustable Lamps That Are 50% Brighter Than Other Solar Lights
Solar Outdoor Garden Honey Bee String Lights
Decorative Bee Solar Lights With 8 Different Modes
Colour Changing Garden Solar Lights
Colour Changing Solar Lights for Your Garden
Solar Pathway Garden Lights
Enjoy a Tropical Staycation With These Tiki Torch Inspired Lights
Stainless Steel Solar Marker Lights
Weatherproof Solar Lamps for Highlighting Pathways and Garden Accents
The selling point for this lights is obvious from first glance. With an intricate design carved into the side of the body of the case, these lights cast interesting patterns across the ground below them.
They can be arranged to create a consistent pattern across a walkway, and with 6 lights in each pack, it's easy to pave these patterns all through your garden! However, you do need direct sunlight to charge, so if your yard is lacking daylight, these won't be much use.
These rock lights are designed to blend in to your garden so that you won't notice them during the day. Once it gets dark they really come alive, emitting a white light that'll brighten up dark borders and flower beds.
Because these aren't staked into the ground, you'll need to make sure they stay in place in windy weather. Aside from this, they're a really clever idea that means you won't have obtrusive lights positioned around your garden during the day.
These high quality lights are designed to be easy to install on fencing and walls. They can even be used on your driveway or by your back door. The lights are built to withstand all kinds of weather, and their LED design lets you choose between warm white light or a colour changing mode.
These are fairly compact in size, so if you are looking for a larger light you may be disappointed. That being said, with a total of 6 lights in the box you can use them in a variety of locations around your outdoor area.
This string of 30 lights from Usboo is perfect for creating ambience in the evenings. The bulbs emit a warm white light that'll allow you to enjoy the garden even after the sun has gone down. Plus, their minimalist look has a modern feel that's sure to suit most spaces and their shimmering finish makes them attractive even in daylight!
While these are great for adding a decorative feature to a wall or trellis, they don't provide enough light to use on their own. But if you're looking for something pretty to add a bit of interest to a dark corner, then these have a classic look and are very easy to install.
These lights are larger in size and have batteries guaranteed to last for over 30,000 hours, so you can be sure you'll enjoy many evenings basking in their soft glow. We like that the antique bronze effect is both attractive and stylish, to give your garden a high end look with excellent lighting.
Where these lights could be improved is their construction. They feel a little flimsy, so care is needed when moving them around. Otherwise, they work very well, giving a good level of light well into the night, and they look fantastic!
These lights promise to be approximately 50% brighter than other solar lights on the market. They can be adjusted by 180° horizontally and 90° vertically to get just the right angle and charge quickly thanks to their large solar panels.
Despite having a low and a high brightness setting to suit gardens that get less sunlight, their performance will be significantly restricted in lower light settings. However, if your garden gets a good amount of sun for most of the day, these are a sturdy choice that give a great level of light.
These cute little bees are a beautiful way of adding decorative lights to your plants and bushes. The string is a total of 25 ft in length, and it has 8 different lighting modes to suit your tastes. There is also a built in memory chip that saves your last settings, so there's no need to reset them every time.
Just be aware that these lights can sometimes switch modes on their own accord, which is slightly annoying, but easily reset. Other than this, these lights look great and are ideal for twisting round trees, trellis, or pergolas as a fun light feature that won't break the bank.
We like that they have a range of colour modes to make a real design feature of your garden planting, and add interest to your borders or seating areas. Although these will provide enough light to feature a small shrub or bush, if you require a larger field of light then you may need a few of these to create the desired effect.
These pathway lights are designed to replicate the warm flickering glow of natural firelight. With their tiki torch design, they're great for a zen garden and add an ambiance that feels more natural than other lights.
They can charge in both low and high light conditions, but the battery won't last as long if it doesn't get as much sun! They also aren't as big as they might look on the photos, so be sure to check the sizing specifications before ordering.
These solar pathway lights from Habitat are a great way of adding a subtle light feature to your garden. Perfect for using just about anywhere in your garden, from hanging baskets to paths, they're made from a sleek-looking stainless steel and are designed to withstand the great British weather.
These lights are ideal for if you're looking for a lower level of light, these offer great value for money and are incredibly versatile when it comes to where you can place them. However, if you need brighter lights for illuminating a path, they may be a bit too dim.
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