Ideas for Gorgeous & Electricity-Free Outdoor Lighting

During the warmer months of the year, your yard naturally becomes more of a focal point for activity and entertaining. Gardening and watching your flowers bloom is an enjoyable hobby, of course, as you proudly behold your efforts lead to a gorgeous, colorful yard display. If you have young children, chances are they’re playing in the back yard, so you find yourself out there with them much more frequently. It can be so satisfying and pleasurable spending time in an attractive, well-tended yard.

When the sunsets and all is dark, however, we may not be quite as struck by the beauty of our landscape. Fortunately, thanks to today’s advanced solar technology, there are many exciting options and ideas for lighting the front of your house, deck, patio, stairs and back yard. Not only can you be creative, but you can add illumination without having to worry about electricity costs and hazards.

Outdoor Solar LED Lighting Basics

With the development of LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs, especially ones that run on solar power, outdoor lighting possibilities have expanded enormously. LED’s produce light through the use of a semiconductor material filled with electrons. When an electric current hits this semiconductor, the electrons move to fill electron “holes” in the material, and energy is released in photons of light. Basically, LED technology has made it possible to produce light using much less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

Outdoor lighting using solar-powered LED bulbs is comprised of a solar panel, battery, control electronics and a light fixture. During the day, the battery collects energy from the sun’s rays, which is stored in the battery. After the sun goes down, the electronics trigger charging to stop and the light to go on. The fixture will radiate light until either there’s no charge left in the battery, or the sun comes up.

With these lights, which don’t rely on electricity and therefore need no plugs or outlets, you can basically place them wherever you want that’s accessible to sunlight. Areas that receive several hours of direct daytime sun are ideal. Outdoor lighting ideas include using them to light the walkway to your front door, illuminate special features of your yard, or add of touch of art to your garden and patio, as discussed below.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas

1. Sparkling StringsSolar LED String Lights are an excellent way to bring more light to your yard and patio after nightfall. They come in an assortment of hues — many are designed to automatically rotate among a menu of colors — and are made with a weather-resistant battery and solar panel, thereby affording electricity-free outdoor illumination. When used as pathway lights along the walkway to your doorstep, they not only look elegant, but help make it safer for anyone visiting in the evening. They can also be used at the base of the riser or under the nose of any steps outside your door, making for a safer stairway climb.

Another way to add accents to your yard with solar string lights is to place them along the top railing of a deck, raised patio or enclosed hot tub. It’s surprising how much ambience is added by these softly lit strings when you’re enjoying a warm summer evening relaxing in your back yard.

2. Sophisticated Stakes – Another type of outdoor solar LED fixture that comes in a variety of designs — traditional, modern and everything-in-between — are stake-mount path and accent lights. With the versatility of these electricity-free fixtures, you can highlight just about anything you like in your outdoor landscape, including walkways, plant-bed borders, koi ponds, unique plants, outdoor sculptures or other artwork. Have some fun being creative and experimenting with lighting effects.

For those who like a more dramatic look, try installing solar-powered spotlights aimed at higher-profile features of your property, such as unusual trees, boulders, and large fountains or sculptures. Spotlights can be strategically placed in front of these structures to provide artistic silhouettes against an exterior wall, like the front of a residence. Other types of fixtures provide all the art themselves in the form of eye-catching, multicolored light displays.

3. Dazzling Drops – Try using strings of droplet-shaped LED bulbs to add a delightful, whimsical appearance to trees, trellises or pergolas. Most solar LED strings, including this type, automatically switch on at night and return to charging mode during the day. However, there are some that include remote controls to adjust brightness and timing.

4. White Light Warning – Besides being decorative and preventing slip-and-fall accidents, outdoor lighting can serve a very important security function. Illuminating areas of darkness deters thieves or vandals, who depend on shadows and low visibility to mask their criminal activities. With solar-powered LED convenience, fixtures triggered by motion detectors shine bright light on outdoor areas — which unlit, would leave you and your valuables vulnerable to theft.

Other ways to combine outdoor illumination with added protection against unwanted visitors are solar-powered fixtures made to deter nighttime animals or insects. Equipped with motion detectors and ultra-sonic frequency dischargers, animal-repelling fixtures discourage foxes, cats, pigeons, rodents and other animal trespassers using light and high-frequency sound. Solar-powered LED insect zappers concurrently emit white light to enhance visibility for people, and purple UV light to kill pests.

By exploring today’s outdoor lighting options, you can affordably highlight the most attractive features of your garden or patio. So, when blazing hot summer days cool down to more pleasant evenings, you can unwind on your patio surrounded by enchanting illumination. Better yet, share the de-“light” by inviting family or friends over for an evening get-together.

Your Guide to Decorative Garden Stakes

Decorative yard stakes are a fantastic way to add a little something extra to your lawn or garden. You can use them to celebrate holidays, welcome the seasons or let your neighbors know some of your interests. Take a look at these fun and cute garden stakes ideas.

Holiday Stakes

Decorative garden stakes are perfect for celebrating holidays, especially the less prominent ones. Christmas and Halloween involve a lot of decorating to begin with, but what about all the other holidays that pop up throughout the year?

Easter is a holiday that usually isn’t decorated for, but Easter yard stakes can bring some more color to your garden or lawn. With pastel colors and cute characters, they’re sure to catch the eye of anyone passing by. Check out these Easter bunny garden stakes that can be used to greet your guests. 

During July, you can show your patriotic side with some red, white and blue. Garden stakes are a great way to show your pride and celebrate America. You can go a more lively route with something like these patriotic dog stakes or you can choose something on the sophisticated side like these banner star stakes (to the right).

For St. Patrick’s Day, you can bring the luck of the Irish to your house with a personalized leprechaun stake with your last name on it. No matter the holiday, you can find the right garden stake to celebrate with.

Seasonal Decorative Plant Stakes

You can decorate your front yard with garden stakes that fit the season. Spring yard stakes are the perfect addition to your garden because they let you have flowers on display while waiting for your own to grow. Some good choices are tulip stakes or daisy stakes. They will bring some life to your garden and be a preview of what’s to come. If you don’t want flowers, some hummingbird stakes (to the left) will look beautiful in front of your house.

In the summer months, dress up your lawn or garden with beachy garden stakes like these summer boy and girl stakes. They’re a fun way to welcome the warmer months and kick off beach season. If you’re into a summer sport like golf, you can get this golf cart stake featuring solar power headlights that automatically turn on when it gets dark.

For autumn, this harvest truck stake will bring some fall flavor to your yard with the bright pumpkin a red truck bed. Plus, the wheels on the truck spin in the breeze for extra fun. You can swap this yard stake out with an adorable witch stake around Halloween. 

Garden Stakes That Light Up

If you want to add some extra light outside your home, solar-powered decorative plant stakes have you covered. These stakes soak up energy from the sun during the day to power their bulbs once night begins to fall. 

A set of solar balloon stakes can make your yard more festive. Place them along a walkway to light up a path for visitors and guests. You could also go with a color-changing butterfly stake (to the right). It comes with four butterflies that you can adjust with its flexible wires. Best of all, the butterflies put on a show by changing colors. For something more rustic, this metal tractor stake will provide a soft glow with its solar headlights.

Yard Stakes with a Car Theme

Garden stakes can also be terrific decorations for car enthusiasts. There’s no better way to show off your love for classic cars than through some lawn and garden decor.

This antique car stake not only features the font view of an antique car, but it also comes with solar-powered headlights and a welcome sign on the stake. It’s a fantastic way to greet anyone who might stop by your home.

For a sleeker design, a classic car stake is a good choice that will bring some nostalgia to your yard. This stake comes in a beautiful light blue color and the solar headlights turn on automatically at dusk.

The vintage car stake has an iconic yellow design that everyone will recognize. It’s a sturdy decoration that will help you remember the good old days every time you see it. 

CHAPTER 1. Loomings

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation.

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time tozz get to sea as soon as I can.

Animal Garden Stakes

Some of the most popular garden stake designs include animals. With choices from farm animals to pets, there’s something for everyone. 

You can stick to the classics with options like a cow yard stake. This stake will look right at home on your lawn. It also comes with a back hook so you can display it on a wall or fence. Another option is a set of duck family stakes. The momma duck comes with three little ducklings, making this decoration perfect for your human family. 

You can go more fantastical with this raincoat cat stake. The whimsical design features a cat standing on two legs in a yellow raincoat and holding an umbrella over its head. As a bonus, this yard stake doubles as a rain gauge because the cat holds a little glass jar to collect water. 

For those with a flair for the dramatic, a gorgeous peacock stake will take center stage in your lawn or garden. This brightly colored stake will draw the attention of all your neighbors and have your yard looking great. 

Other Yard and Garden Decorations

Don’t stop at just garden stakes when it comes to decorating your yard. At Miles Kimball, we have a wide selection of outdoor decor to help you make your home look its best. From birdbaths to garden flags, we have what you’re looking for.