6 Tips for Installing Outdoor Solar Lighting in Your Yard

Solar lights.
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What You'll Need
Solar lights
Solar panel (optional)
Weatherproof cable
Shovel or fork

Installing outdoor solar lighting is an easy project since there’s no wiring involved. However, there are ways you can maximize your outdoor solar lighting for optimal results. By considering factors such as location, obstructions, and sunlight, you will enjoy your outdoor solar lights for many years to come.

Locate to Highlight Garden Features

Before you install your solar lighting, decide what it is you want to illuminate. Is it a path or an object in the garden? If it’s the former, the lights should be installed relatively close together to show which way the path goes, especially if the path winds.

For the latter, the light needs to be close enough to show off the object and focus light on it during the evening and the nighttime hours. The beauty of outdoor solar lighting is that you can move it around easily so you have the luxury of experimenting with its position.

Avoid Obstructions

One thing to be careful about when installing outdoor solar lighting is not to place the units in the path of lawn mowers or edgers. Likewise, placing the units too close to a driveway could result in your lighting being run over by a car. Make sure the units are visible enough in daylight and place where they won't be tripped over or run over.

Maximize Available Sunlight

Solar lights on a garden path.

One vital thing to remember when installing outdoor solar lighting is that the units will need direct access to sunlight. This means placing them where they will absorb the maximum hours of sunlight each day. Make sure that branches and overhangs don’t shade the small solar panel on the light unit.

Solar Panel Placement

When installing solar outdoor lighting that requires its own larger solar panel, placement is especially important. In these units, a cable attaches the solar panel to the fixture. You’ll need to position the panel so that it receives ample sunlight, which might limit your options. When you’re burying the cable, you’ll need to dig down at least 6 inches into the ground for optimum protection from rainfall and moisture. The use of plastic tubes can provide further protection if required.

Charging Before Installing

Make sure you fully charge your outdoor solar lighting before you install it. Make sure each of the fixtures receives 12 to 14 hours of full sunlight before installation to charge the batteries within the light; this period can extend over two days. Clean the panel before you install the fixture to make sure it charges more easily.

Prepare the Soil

Solar lights outside.

When you’re installing outdoor solar lighting in hard or dry soil, water the soil several hours beforehand to make the installation easier. You can also break up the ground lightly with a shovel or a fork. Don’t force the stake of solar light in too hard as excess force can break the stake.