Planning a "staycation" at home instead of a vacation far away? More of us are spending time in our own backyards, and upgrading the lighting is a nice improvement you'll enjoy for years to come. Maybe you need to illuminate a walkway from the garage to the house or a front gate; or maybe you'd like to up-light a favorite tree or flower bed. For wherever you need lighting, consider solar fixtures with LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which are like mini-light bulbs. Solar lights turn on automatically at dusk, and since they are powered by the sun they are very energy efficient compared to more typical low voltage incandescent lights. These solar fixtures use long lasting NiMH batteries to store the solar energy so even after a cloudy day they provide light at night.
A landscape service will charge $398 to install three solar area spotlights, but you can do the job for $325 and save 18 percent. The fixture is made of two parts: the light and the solar panel, both made of weather-tight anodized aluminum housing. Install the fixture by driving the stake at its base into the ground. Experiment with it at night to fine-tune its location. Install the panel up to 15 feet away from the fixture, and position it for the best solar gain. The solar cell should face due south and be positioned on an angle so it is perpendicular to the sun. A good source for information about solar landscape lighting is www.gardeners.com.
Now you know the average cost to install solar landscape lights, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.