One of the uses for solar powered lights is outdoor path lighting, whether the sidewalk that leads to the front door, a path through the garden or the walkway to the patio. Often there is little electrical wiring beyond the patio or the front porch. Perhaps, if there is a detached garage or workshop it has been electrically wired. However, few homes have the yard wired for outdoor pathway lighting when being built. To install outdoor lighting that would enhance the landscape or a walkway would, in most cases, require a visit by an electrician, digging up part of the yard, and additional expenses that few of us would care to spend. For those reasons, outdoor solar powered lights are the best choice for walkway lights or illuminating the landscape.
Walkway Lights and/or Driveway Lights
While lights that line the sidewalk or a more casual path through the garden may be considered walkway lights or path lights, for the purpose of this discussion we will refer to walkway lights as those that best accent a paved or cobblestone sidewalk or drive. We will consider lights that are “flush” with the surface or a part of the walk itself.
Walkway lights and/or driveway lights define the area. As shown in the picture to the left, the solar lights that line the concrete sidewalk clearly define an exact route to the front door. One can easily see the benefit of these lights for a driveway as well. Flush lighting that sets the outer limits of the walk or drive space will prevent accidents such as someone stepping off the sidewalk or driving into the grassy area of the yard.
The outdoor walkway lighting shown (above left) can easily be installed at any time. It is not necessary to install them at the time the concrete walk is poured.
The lights immediately to the left are solar powered, but can be added individually to steps (as shown) or along the edge of a sidewalk or driveway. The solar collecting cell is on the top with the light shining from either side of the fixture. This light is cast aluminum and raised rather than flush. Again, this style of walkway light or driveway light is designed to outline the edge of the area and to prevent the pedestrian or the driver from going beyond the designated area much like the white stripes on the outer edges of highways.
The benefits of walkway lights or driveway lighting or outdoor path lights are that accidents can be prevented by setting the perimeters of the proper walk or drive areas. Occasionally, in fact most often, paved drives and sidewalks are slightly raised rather than being exactly ground level. More than one ankle has been sprained by walking too close to the edge of a sidewalk and stepping half off. As a safety measure, walkway lights are a must.
Another advantage of these outdoor path lights, either the walkway lights at the top or the aluminum fixture is that no electrical wiring is necessary. As mentioned, few homes are wired for this type of lighting when built. In fact, many new constructions may not have a paved drive or walkway as the new owner may wish to determine the shape and location.
To keep these lights working properly, they should not be shaded during the day. The solar cells need direct sunlight to charge. While it is not a requirement for all day lighting, it will offer a longer glow after dark. In any case, these lights should not be used in shaded areas.
Outdoor Path Lighting
The path is usually a more casual route through the garden or across the yard. As such, outdoor path lighting can be very creative and unique. While walkway and driveway lights are often set in a regular pattern as an outline for the usable area, path lights are far more flexible in style and placement. Some of the most unique outdoor lighting can be found along gravel walks or straw covered paths.
Beginning with perhaps the most unexpectedly unique of outdoor path lights, the solar rock spot light is not only illuminating, it is ideal for highlighting a garden path in the late evening. As seen the solar collecting cell in atop the rock while the spotlight is embedded in the side.
This light can be used to highlight the area of the path or if turned around, the spotlight can become an accent garden light, designating a particular tree or shrub, or perhaps a bed of flowers.
For those areas not requiring so large a light (or rock) there are smaller sets of solar lights in the shape of rocks that work rather well around the perimeter. Of course, with careful placement within the landscaping the rocks could blend into the decor far better than illustrated to the right.
Obviously with the rock offering a spotlight, the path would be highly illuminated and depending on the spacing between rocks, there could be a slightly shadowy effect.
Before deciding on a single size rock light, check out the selection available for solar yard rock lights.
Of course, not everyone is looking for such a unique lighting experience. For those there are the basics. The most commonly seen outdoor path lighting is the staked solar light that stands about two to three feet high and casts a light more downward that upward and outward.
This style outdoor path lighting is the most inexpensive, generally. The lighting can be moved easily, as necessary or when desired. The lamps are available in almost every material from plastic to stainless steel. Needless to say, the price of the lamp will be based on the quality of the materials used.
For those who may have doubts about the amount of light solar path lights can display, purchasing a couple of the cheaper lights may be worth the cost to determine if the lights will provide the amount of light required for the environment. Additionally, it will help determine how many stake lights are actually needed to create the illumination desired.
Things to Consider:
- Where the outdoor path lighting will be used,
- The style of light desired,
- How many lights are required
Taking everything into consideration, solar powered outdoor lights have become the best answer to outdoor path lighting.