It’s winter and in many area of North America, it’s cold and bleak, so we want to brighten things up by talking about Decorative Solar Lights!
Instead of discussing nuclear plants and solar lighting, online scams, or the benefits of solar products during emergencies, this post focuses on the fun and attractive solar lights available for your garden, patio, pool and more.
While many people thing of string lights in terms of ornamental outdoor lighting or fancy accent lights, there’s a lot more options for decorative solar lighting available.
Springtime will be here before we know it, making now a great time to look at some of the “lighter” sides of solar powered products!
The gamut of solar products available today runs from solar accent lights to solar lamp posts to solar flashlights and even solar refrigerators. While we’re not sure about solar refrigerators, many solar products are very practical and save owners lots of money on utility bills.
In contrast, decorative accent lights are often purely decorative and many provide low levels of lights. This doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t great centerpieces around your property or lots of fun!
Here are some examples of the different types of decorative solar lights around these days. The fact that decorative solar lights meet a variety of tastes is one of the points we’re trying to get across: there’s something for virtually anybody’s tastes.
Floating Solar Lights for Ponds and Pools
From color changing floating solar globe lights and fish lights, to more practical floating lily pads with fountain sprays that light up at night, solar is great for those lucky enough to have pools or ponds on their property.
These are great for spas and for common pools or beaches, and put on colorful light shows at dark. They are attractive in daylight while they absorbing the sun’s energy.
Okay, floating fish aren’t for everyone, but for kids’ parties or themed events? Could be very cool, especially when as they display several different colors, changing once a minute for a great backyard light display.
In fact, there are LOTS of different types of floating lights on the market. As usual with solar products, you usually get what you pay for.
There is a huge difference in terms of quality and appearance between the cheapest floating lights and the ones with higher price tags. Most of the lights change through a rainbow of colors and many allow you to freeze the lights on one particular color, making them great for holidays!
One of the most important things you want to look for, especially if you want the floating lights to look good during day and night, is that the solar panel is discretely built into the fixture. Most project descriptions will note this. Otherwise, as shown in the floating solar discs, you’ll see the solar panel which is not always attractive especially on relatively small items.
The solar disks do cost less than other floating solar lights shown above, which is another point of this post: decorative lights are made for a wide variety of budgets.
Statuettes with Solar Lights
Okay: How many of you first think of a plastic dog with a bone in its mouth that emits solar light? Solar-lit statues of lighthouses, angels, and frogs are also popular as are crosses with solar lights.
The fact is: some people like dogs, some people like frogs, some people like angels, and some people like crosses. Again, there are decorative solar lights all sorts of tastes.
Our store focuses on smaller simpler statuettes that include amber solar lights and detailed copper and/or ceramic workmanship.
These generally are under 12-inches square (in total diameter) and can accent small areas such as a special plant (potted or in a garden), an outdoor table top or a water feature.
We also carry some decorative solar lights, including some frogs, that are very whimsical and sell very well!
If you want a solar cross for your garden, or for a cemetery memorial, there are tons. Some are extremely ornate; others are simple like the one shown.
Here’s an important note if you are considering using any ornament for a loved one’s grave: check with the cemetery before placing any decoration, even flags. Many have very strict rules about anything used on the grounds, including candles, plants, lights and even flowers.
Some cemeteries only allow decorative items to be placed during specific times such as religious holidays, or for Memorial Day or Veterans Day.
This is because many cemeteries want a uniform look, in addition to making it easier for groundskeepers.
Some Really Aren’t Lights at All
Lots of decorative solar lights aren’t really designed primarily as solar lights. Instead, they’re designed as garden or patio ornaments and have small solar lights added to make them a little more noticeable when it’s dark.
A great example of this is solar chimes. The chimes themselves are solar at all, but they do have a small solar powered LED bulbs discretely built into the design. The result is a soft glow at night that emphasizes the appearance of the chimes as well as lovely and relaxing sounds.
Birdbaths and bird feeders are another area where solar lights are used, but are not the primary purpose of the product. (As opposed to solar birdbaths, where a solar pump recirculates water and creates a dual water fountain/birdbath.)
The one shown is an example. It can be used as either a bird feeder or small birdbath, the primary function of the piece. However, in addition the decorative metal bird on top of the birdbath encloses a solar powered color changing LED bulb.
Of course, there are many other solar light that are purely for decoration, most notably solar light strings, including those for Christmas though many use solar light strings to highlight pathways or outdoor structures such as gazebos year-round.
Because holiday lights usually are important to homeowners that choose to make the effort to decorate their homes each year, here are some tips to make sure you get good solar light strings.
Look for solar light strings with NiMH, not NiCD batteries, as NiMH batteries tend to store energy better, which is particularly important during the holiday season when the days are the shortest of the entire year. While lithium-ion batteries are the cream of the crop for solar lighting in general particularly for solar lamps. But, they aren’t yet cost-effective or even necessary for decorative lights.)
Remember that solar string lights won’t turn on if they are placed to closely to stronger light sources, including other Christmas decorations. In other words: go all solar or all electric with your Christmas lights, because the mix won’t work well.
Springtime will be here before we know it, so think about adding decorative solar lights to your garden or backyard this spring and summer.
With a broad range of costs, styles and function, there’s something sure to please you or to make a unique gift, especially for those difficult-to-buy-for people who seem to have everything.