Bright Ideas

By Tim Torres

June 20, 2008 4 min read

BRIGHT IDEAS

Benefits of solar lighting dawn on many gardeners

By Tim Torres

Copley News Service

Let the sun be the source for a new look in your lawn or garden this year.

Solar lighting has come a long way since the ubiquitous mushroom solar-powered light first hit the market about a decade ago. Now there are many new products under the sun.

What has remained the same is the ease and convenience of being able to freely distribute the lights in gardens, walkways and elsewhere without having to worry about running cabling or children being electrocuted. Solar lights also score high marks for their use of renewable energy and little or no emission of pollutants.

The standard package is still out there, a set of six mushroom-shaped set of lights made of plastic can run you from $20 to $40, depending on where you shop.

But if you're looking for something different, Argee Corp. offers solar-powered plastic edging that is reasonably priced and simple to install.

The kit is a set of realistic-looking plastic bricks that snap together. Solar lights are built right into the faux bricks so you can forget about confusing electrical wiring. Swivel-action connectors allow straight or curved designs so you can line a sidewalk or encircle a flower bed, tree or curved walkway. "This is something everyone can do," says Ruth Goldman, with Argee. The system has built-in spikes on the bottom of the bricks that allow them to be placed, and held, with no digging, mortar or heavy lifting.

Retail prices are $60 for a 20-foot kit of edging bricks and four solar lights; and $90 for a 40-foot kit. Visit www.argeecorp.com to learn more.

DO THE DECK

Another innovative product out there is 4-by-8-inch solar lighting tile offered by www.seacoastlighting.com.

The decorative, light-emitting tiles, $140 each, make an attractive solution for any exterior illuminated decoration needs, says Seacoast. They are waterproof, UV-protected and scratch-resistant and are built to withstand the weight of cars.

Seacoast also offers solar-powered LED post deck lights. The post caps are built in cast aluminum with a powder-coat finish in several colors. They are weather-resistant and offer a soft accent lighting for your patio or deck.

You might also be interested in a solar-lighted sun umbrella. There are several on the market. The solar light umbrella from www.outdoordecor.com sells for $180. It features a solar panel that collects energy throughout the day to allow up to 6 to 8 hours of light using 24 LEDs surrounding the inside of the umbrella.

DRIVEWAY SECURITY

Another neat invention just out is the solar-powered driveway security marker from Heritage Solar and Outdoor Lights (www.heritagelights.com). A pack of four markers sells for $190. Each 4-inch pod has six white LED lamps in it. According to the company, the markers are easily installed with two-sided adhesive or concrete adhesive compound. They are also rated for 100,000 pounds of pressure, so don't worry about running them over.

There are a lot more solar-powered gadgets out there: statue lights, small spotlights, floating pond lights and address or mailbox number lights, for instance.

? Copley News Service

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