With all of the outdoor lighting choices available today, a big question you may have is whether to go with easy to install solar lighting or possibly more functional low voltage path lighting. The functionality part really has more to do with how much sun you get where you live.
I live in Seattle and have solar deck lights in my backyard. The batteries are good enough to keep them lit most nights even after days of cloudy weather, although when more than a week goes by without sun, they are less likely to give light. This only happens during the winter, when it doesn't matter whether I have light on my back deck and patio, but if you are lighting a path in the snow, you'll probably want to consider low voltage lighting.
Whatever you decide upon, both choices offer a wide variety of styles and fixtures to choose from. Solar fixtures continue to improve, getting brighter and longer lasting, thanks to better batteries. Be sure to pay attention to how many LEDs are included and how long the battery lasts without a recharge from the sun.
Solar powered ground lighting ranges from the subtle, like downward facing LEDs, or dramatic lights, like figurines. A good guideline is to use subtle lighting to guide visitors along a path and then to use dramatic lights to highlight particular plants or features.
When you decide upon low voltage lights, the choices are even more numerous and more elegant in my opinion. You can hire an electrician to install them or if you're handy at all, you can probably do this yourself. Take a look at these low voltage lighting installation guidelines to get you started.
Depending on what you use your deck, pathways and patio for at night will also help to determine what kind of lighting you choose. On your deck, you could strategically place a solar fixture to give you enough light to read by, or you may just want enough light to create mood for a party or hot tub. The choices are endless and solar lights last for a very long time (normally around 5 years) before needing replacement of LEDs.
Whatever your fancy, there's a functional or whimsical light fixture out there for you. Let your outdoor lighting choices help you to create a relaxing atmosphere for reading or a more festive atmosphere perfect for entertaining. No matter how you use your deck or patio, outdoor lighting can drastically improve the atmosphere.
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