If you are using solar powered lights to illuminate a path or walkway, you first want to determine the design suitable for your area, that is, whether you want integrated solar panels or a separate solar panel. Once you have determined the overall design, you still have many options for the type of path lights to use.
Solar pathway lights are available in a variety of styles that offer different types and intensities of illumination.
The following list is a summary of some of the most common types of solar powered pathway lights:
Solar powered stepping stones are similar to regular garden stepping stones intended to be placed along a garden path one stride apart so visitors step from stone to stone. Stepping stones often have the appearance of stone although they may be composed of resin or plastic. They are often circular and may appear to have carved designs.
Solar powered tiles are similar to stepping stones but may be square and can fit together like with regular tiles or paving stones to form a walkway. In this way, you can create a tiled walkway with illuminated tiles along the edges at regular intervals.
Solar powered stake lights are mounted on stakes that are generally two to three feet in height. The lights may have a decorative shade around them and the solar panel, if integrated in the lights, is at the top of the stake. Sometimes the solar panel is on a sloped surface so it can be angled towards the sun. This type of solar path light seems to be the most common in many North American stores; however, they also seem to use NiCD batteries in most cases. If you are looking for eco-friendly lights, check solar stake lights carefully to determine the type of batteries they use.
Similar to solar stake lights, solar powered bollards are posts or poles that direct pedestrian traffic. Solar powered bollard lights may be slightly taller than stake lights and have the light mounted at the top of the pole.
If your path or walkway is along a wall or fence, you may want to use solar powered wall lights. These lights are mounted on a wall or fence and cast light downwards to illuminate the pathway.
Solar powered string lights are a series of solar lights connected by a wire. They can be placed along a pathway to illuminate the edge of the path. These solar lights typically have a separate solar panel that can be placed in direct sunlight and may be away from where the lights are placed. The lights themselves, may be angled to cast the light across the walkway or may have a novelty shape, such as ladybugs, frogs, or balls.
Hanging solar powered path lights typically hang from a shepard's crook that is stuck into the ground along the path. The lights have a loop at the top above the light that is hung on the hook. These lights are similar to stake lights but give a different look to the path.
Solar Lights with Integrated Solar PanelsSolar pathway lights with integrated solar panels are easier to install because you don’t have to deal with wires between the lights or connected to the solar panel. They can be placed any distance apart and anywhere along the path, but remember that the solar panels must be in direct sunlight for a good majority of the day to allow the batteries to fully charge.
Solar Lights with Separate Solar PanelsIf your pathway is in shade most of the day, solar lights with a separate solar panel might be a better choice. Although they are limited in their placement by the length of the wires connecting the lights and you will have to ensure that the wires are tucked away and don’t pose additional tripping hazards, this style of solar pathway lights allow you to place the solar panel in direct sunlight even if the lights themselves are in the shade. In this way, the solar panel is able to fully charge the batteries during the day and the lights can be placed along the walkway that needs illumination.
Don't just use one type of light for your garden. Use your creative imagination and combine some of the above styles for the best effects.