Night Lights, from Candle to Solar Power, and How to Use Them
by Nellie Neal
wants more time in the garden and too often modern lifestyles work against
that goal. But whether you want to sit outside or pull a few weeds,
entertain guests on the deck, let the kids play outdoors awhile longer each
evening, light the way to the back door or show off your best plants, add
garden lights to make it happen.
sets a romantic mood in the garden to host a party for two or twenty. Use
them safely by putting candles in reflective, windproof globes or luminaires
placed on patio tables and along paths. Try citronella candles designed for
outdoors for their long burning, bug repelling properties. Trim wicks to
prolong their life, cover candleholders when not in use to keep out leaves
and rain, and always extinguish candles before going indoors.
lights deliver a tropical tone, raising their light with candles or wicks
soaked in lamp oil. They can welcome guests, illuminate a buffet table or
lead your party out to the gazebo in a conga line of light. Take care to
stick their poles firmly into the ground, keep wicks trimmed and do not
install torch lights in dense plantings.
voltage or solar powered garden lights can be simple to install and offer
two advantages over candles and torches: safety and security. With a little
time and a modest investment, you can light your way through the garden
permanently without creating fire hazards.
garden lights have evolved from dim and unreliable to dependably bright as
the technology has improved. Small solar collectors trap sunlight during the
day and release it at night wherever you want a bright spot in the garden.
You’re not limited by the availability of electric outlets, distance or
terrain and installation is as simple as placing the fixtures where you want
light. And you won’t feel their addition on your utility bill – sunlight
is still free!
voltage lights operate with 12 volts of electricity, compared with 120 volts
for most household purposes. They offer economic operation as floods, spots
or path lights, and installation is safe and simple to do for most
homeowners. A wide variety of attractive fixtures to suit your style can
operate on low voltage – choose from classic shielded spots, white globes,
copper bells, tiffanies and retro lights that look like desk lamps from the
what you need for low voltage light systems. Be sure the electrical outlet
is weatherproof and protected from short circuiting in damp weather – it
should be protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). And make
sure your kit includes a transformer or purchase one to change the 120 volts
to 12 volts safely. Since electric wire will connect the fixtures, place
them in the garden and thread the wire between them, but don’t bury it at
first. It’s a simple matter of punching the connectors into the wire to
set up the system, but once it’s done, wait for nightfall to check your
work. Be sure the lights work, then bury the wire the next day – two
inches deep in garden soil and mulch is plenty.