I’ve been experimenting with solar lights in the garden.  Lighting schemes transform a landscape into a fairyland or fantasy if done well.  They can shine gloriously up into the canopy of ancient trees, line a winding footpath beckoning you on or sparkle like diamonds in the night breeze.

Rather than spend a fortune on wiring up the garden, and then a subsequent fortune on electricity, I’ve been giving solar a go.  As it doesn’t cost the earth.

And this is what I’ve found.

Firstly, you can buy very cheap solar lights – as little as $20.  You can install them yourself easily.  They do work, and they don’t break.  However, the reason why they are cheap, is that they are very faint as they generally only have one tiny LED.  They emit more of a glow than a beam.  The more LEDs the brighter.

So it is worth spending more.

Solar fairy lights are fabulous.  You can buy them in strings of 50, 100, 200 and more.  Again, the more you pay, the more little lights you get.  And with fairy lights, more is more.  You don’t want a stingy smattering.  You want diamond laden branches, sparkling through the dusk.  So spend more.  Make sure you get super bright LED lights.

The ones I purchased last up to eight hours.  I’ve never tested this as I’m always asleep by then!  In the photo above (my camera isn’t good enough to really capture it), is a string of 60 lights.  You can see that it’s nowhere near enough for a dramatic effect even in a small tree.  I’m going to have to buy more…. but I wanted to test them first.

LEDs are available in different colours so you can be as wild as you like.  As you can imagine, I stuck to white. 

One of the fabulous things about solar lights is that you don’t have to worry about turning them on – as the light fades, they illuminate, surprising you in a lovely way.

If it has been raining for a couple of days, the light will be very dim.  Otherwise, they seem to fire up every night.

Solar is definitely the way forward – but spend up.  You do get what you pay for.