Grow Solar

By Sharon Naylor

August 20, 2015 5 min read

Add a little life to your garden with solar accents to get the sun to do all the work for you, harnessing natural energy to add light, sound and motion to your garden and landscaping. As the sun sets and when nighttime falls, your garden will begin with a glow and shine in the nighttime, showing off your beautiful garden design instead of it disappearing from view.

Add in the pleasant sounds of a bubbling fountain or even a luxury water wall cascading behind it, and you have the calming sounds of a Zen garden to accompany your relaxing evening sipping cocktails on your outdoor terrace.

Accessorizing gardens with solar-powered effects has become a new trend in garden design, with an array of solar elements available at low prices. When those solar lights illuminate, your garden appears transformed from its lush, natural daytime appearance into a magical garden lit by lanterns, post lights and glowing garden orbs.

As fall begins, it starts to get darker earlier at night. If you've become accustomed to spending lots of time in your backyard's entertaining areas during the summer, earlier nightfall means your garden's light show begins earlier, lifting your spirits and providing a pretty view while your outdoor party continues.

"Appearance aside, our motion-sensor solar lights deter the deer that show up at sundown wanting to feed on our plantings," says home gardener Charles Dennis. "So these solar lights have protected our harvest and also protect the trees around our garden. The deer don't like being in the spotlight, and we can keep them away naturally, without spraying toxic chemicals."

When you begin looking for solar lights and details for your garden, you'll likely be impressed by the variety of solar items on the market. The three most popular categories include solar lights, solar-powered water features and solar-powered whimsical effects.

*Solar-Powered Lights

In addition to solar-powered motion sensor lights that keep the deer away from your pricy plantings, consider these lighting effects for design:

--Post cap lights on the corners of your garden fencing provide a glow defining the outline of your garden.

--Solar string lights can outline your garden fence and define vertical garden poles holding up your protective netting. Pair these with solar string lights hung in the trees around your garden to extend the delicate fairy light effect. String lights are available in clear, white lights, colored bulbs, and creatively shaped string light bulbs such as illuminated butterflies, ladybugs or stars (as just a few of the many options).

--Solar lanterns. These outdoor-approved solar lights provide tremendous creativity to your garden design, because you can easily pick up and move your lights into different arrangements. For instance, you might place one lantern at each corner of your square or rectangular garden, or you might cluster lanterns of various heights in one corner of your garden or on a stone garden bench.

--Path lights stand just a foot tall or so, outlining the paths you've designed in your garden or -- again -- outlining your garden's perimeter.

--Solar rock lights add faux boulders to your garden design, with a solar strip on top of the stone that catches the sun's rays throughout the day and then shines a light from behind the boulder for resort landscaping effect.

*Solar-Powered Water Features

The flow of water and the bubbling sounds of a fountain add a sense of calm to your pretty, fragrant garden, bringing a soul-soothing Zen garden effect to even the smallest of garden plots. For larger or multi-tiered gardens, consider a grander cascading fountain where water flows over rocks, or a vertical water wall that adds a dramatic backdrop to your garden.

A solar-powered birdbath attracts colorful songbirds to your garden during the day and keeps birdbath water circulating to help cut down on mosquito problems on your property. Standing water is a haven for mosquito breeding, mold and other risks, and so a solar-powered birdbath is an easy solution that also provides excellent bird-watching in your garden space.

*Solar-Powered Whimsical Effects

Add a touch of whimsy to your garden with a solar-powered motion decor piece, such as a display that whirls decorative butterflies or hummingbirds in a circle for a fun bit of motion in your garden, a 'toy' that kids or grandkids can select and add to your family garden.

Without needing outdoor power wiring that comes at great expense, you can add light, sound and motion to your garden space, elevating your garden design to provide greater enjoyment and calm whether you're in your garden or admiring it from afar.

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