One of the many specific uses of solar lighting is for brightening up the decking and entertainment areas outside our homes. If we’re having a few friends round for a barbecue or a few glasses of wine then solar deck lights can add mood, decoration and safety to the area.
One of the criticisms of solar lighting in the past has been that it is much less bright than electric lighting and doesn’t last as long. While this is still true for some models, more powerful solar sets are coming on to the market all the time. Already we have solar spotlights and task lights that have a separate solar panel that can be placed to optimally receive the most amount of sunlight per day while connecting via cable to a lighting unit up to 15 feet away that uses multiple LED bulbs. These systems are far more powerful and can match the light from a 40 watt incandescent bulb.
In the case of solar deck lights you may not need the most powerful lights but you will probably want lighting on the railing posts and gate posts, if there is a gate leading to stairs down to the garden. You may want another landscape light or two fixed to the wall and lighting the whole entertainment area, depending how big it is. Or you may just want some accent lighting that shows off your deck or patio in its best light!
The two most common types of solar deck lights are post cap lights and recessed lights. The first type is usually fastened to the top of the railing or on 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 posts, brightening the stretch of railing below and around it. They will be sold in sets for you to place along the deck railing at intervals. They may be made of plastic but the best ones are from aluminum, as these stand up well to all weather conditions (which is why window frames are often made from aluminum.) Most of these lights will use a small solar panel in the top, together with a rechargeable battery and one or two LED bulbs inside, using this set up to collect, store and release the power as lighting when darkness falls, when they will turn themselves on automatically. They are easy to fix to the post and, once there, really require no maintenance at all, making them very attractive compared to the electric lights that need wiring up.
The second type of deck light is the recessed light. These are designed to be flush mounted into the decking and up-light, similar to the lights that are used for driveway lights. They are more difficult to install than the post lights as they need to actually become part of the decking and can be walked on – you will need a drill. Because they will be walked over they will also have to be very strong and durable as it’s not just the weather they will get battered by.
With prices coming down and designs becoming better at lighting larger areas for longer periods, solar deck lights are a good option for you as a replacement for electric lights. They are easy to install, need no maintenance and use no electricity so they will save you money, time and effort in the long run.