Solar lights in the garden

alalbertaz2b(z2 AB)October 10, 2005

Hi all

I have several of those solar powered lights in my garden and was wondering what everyone does with them in the winter time. Do you leave them out or bring them in? We just bought ours this year and I have no experience with them.

Cheers Al

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putzer(z4 WI)

Did it say anything on the package about their temperature range outdoors?

I don't have them, but wanted to ask you how satisfied you were with the quality/amount of light that they give off? I have heard that they can be a lot dimmer than others, but am hoping that is not true of them all. Solar really seems like it would be the way to go.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 11:35PM
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Pudge 2b

I bring mine, put them in a dark garbage bag and store them in the basement. I leave the stakes out, though.

We've had a lot of incidents of theft of solar lights, though, and it seems that it is a common occurrence in many areas. I had 2 stolen this year from my yard. I'm not sure what the thieves are using them for - there have been several found, with the solar chips taken out of them.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 12:09AM
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cailinriley(z3 Calgary AB)

I only have one. I got it as an experiment to see how much light it put out. I have it at the end of the garden, where it looks like a fairy light in the dark. Definitely not as bright as I wanted. That's why I haven't bought more.

I left it in the garden last winter. When the snow was on the solar panel, it didn't light up, of course. It didn't get damaged at all, though. It's in our fenced back yard, so no worries about theft. After having the decorative portion of my water fountain stolen this year, I won't put anything in the front yard that is of any value or that can easily be carried away.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 1:03AM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

Re the solar lights, maybe I just haven't seen the better brands but based on the ones my neighbors have, they definitely don't seem that bright. Disappointing actually. Not the amount of brightness to light up a path or anything. But, since they range in price from $10 each (at discount stores) to perhaps $50 each, maybe there is a difference in quality. I remember my friend telling me there are blueish ones and whitish LED ones and the white ones are brighter? (not sure, just heard this second hand).

I don't have any solar lights, but do have solar ornaments such as a tree trunk with a face and his eyes light up. I suppose I will just throw it in the shed for winter. When you store things they say to remove the battery, so maybe I'll do that.

Even for those solar ornaments I question the quality because if mine is lit up and you move it, it flickers a bit. Some loose connection or something.

We bought what looked like a frosted gazing ball on a Roman column for a gift. It was solar powered and was suppose to glow at night. No matter what, we couldn't get the thing to work, even with a new battery. The person who received this gift exchanged for another one but the same thing, it didn't work. Very frustrating especially since it wasn't cheap, but at least we got the money back. But, that experience has made me think twice about buying any ornament that's solar (unless it's cheap enough or might look nice even without the light working).

Other than that, I have the electrical transformer noma moonray garden lights and pretty well leave them on all winter. Of course they are hard to see in some spots, when the snow drifts over them, but it's neat to see snowdrifts "glow".


    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 3:21AM
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I purchased solar lights for our yard and they are all through the landscaping. When you drive into the yard after dark, around the greenhouse and in front of the house looks like a little city with all the solar lights. Some of them have burnt out over the years. I have some more expensive ones ($25 - 30 on sale) and lots of the ones Zellers $8 each. I have found really noticable no difference in quality of light just difference in style or shape of the light stand and style of the solar light. As for the amount of light thrown by the solar lights...there are some of them that are in more shade during the day than others therefore giving light for a shorter amount of time at night. Over the years I have left them in the ground all winter. Snow and rain doesn't seem to bother the lights. Like Glen said..I also like the look of solar lights under the snow glowing. Only a few of them have been damaged by being stepped on by the deer that came up to the house in the wintertime. I have to take time someday and find out about replacing some of the light panels that have burnt out on some of the solar lights. I like the solar lights in and around the perennials. In the dark, they light up their little space, giving me and anyone else walking outside definition as to where they can walk and shouldn't walk.

It's too bad that other people cannot leave items alone and respect other people's property that are in front yards in the city. It must be frustrating.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 7:28AM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I also have several of them throughout the yard. They don't cast a lot of light, just enough for an accent. The "white" ones do seem brighter, though. I'd love to have as many as Vrgirl - that would be pretty!

Ours have been left out all winter, and they do look neat glowing under the snow. We received another set as a gift, and we put them up along the path at the lake. The instructions said that they could be left out in the winter, but if you were to bring them in, place them somewhere that they'll receive a bit of light in order to keep the batteries charged. (These are Moonrays, actually).

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 10:32AM
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mcav0y(z3/4 Anchorage)

how much daylight to you typically need to get a good glow from them? I always wanted some, but I am thinking that our 4 hour days in Dec and Jan may not be enough, especially if it is cloudy.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 2:15PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Wouldn't they be covered in snow anyway at that time?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 3:39PM
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alalbertaz2b(z2 AB)

Hi all
Thank you for all your replies, it seems that most people leave theirs out over the winter so that is what we will do. I have two kinds of lights. One kind is the white light variety and they hang from hooks stuck in the ground. They are across the front of the house and outline the flower beds there. The others are in my back yard and they have a lot dimmer light. They edge my beds back there and have a nice glow at night.

Cheers Al

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 9:30PM
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mcav0y(z3/4 Anchorage)

yeah, they probably would be under the snow. I would put them in by my path... the path that I shovel... the path that gets a long pile of snow about 4 feet high beside it by the end of the winter.

You're right, sigh...

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 12:50AM
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I have many solar lights in my garden out here on the acreage. I bought some expensive ones (on sale $25) and some chaeper ones, $8 ones, at Zellers. The more expensive ones have a nicer stand and look to them. The other ones I think work basically just as well. I especially like the look of them at night, when we drive into the yard and it looks like a miniature town all around the greenhouse and house. They give off just enough light to let you know where the path is between perennial beds. I do though have some that are burnt out and have to find out how to get them going it a bulb that you replace, a chip of some sort, or what...

In the winter, in the past few years, I have left the lights all out in the perennial beds. The deer have stepped on one or two in the past few years because they could not see them under the deep snow. I also like the look of the solar lights under a thin blanket of snow. The more snow, the less light because they cannot see the sun as much during the day in order to recharge.

It's too bad that people cannot respect other people's property and leave their stuff alone, re. stealing out of front yards. I imagine it could be quite frustrating.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 9:10AM
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Sorry everyone, somehow the message that I posted on Tues. did not go through and so I tried to remember what I had posted and post it again. I thought maybe I had forgotten to press the "post message" button. Now, both messages were posted...strange. Too bad that you can not edit what you write (like I can on other web sites) and take one off. Oh well....

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 10:36AM
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mainesfwriter(z5 ME)

I'd been wondering about this, too! I bought my first solar light in April, after someone speeding on my winding rural road missed a curve and plowed down my mailbox. The solar light's a "torch" on a pole, which I've attached to the rebuilt mailbox post as a hint - just a hint - that this is something a driver might prefer not to hit. I didn't want to run power out to roadside, so a solar light seemed like a good alternative.

I won't have the "covered by snow" problem because of course I'll be keeping the mailbox dug out. The solar light isn't very bright, but it serves my purpose.

The April incident really was an accident, not deliberate vandalism. The police officer who took the report that night showed me a piece of the vehicle that got left behind along with the splintered post. He said that piece told him it was a Chevy Cavalier, and he was sure it took heavy passenger side damage. Going too fast on a country road on a dark night - not real smart. Lucky it was just a mailbox.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 7:28PM
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veedear(elche, spain)

i have about thirty solar lights, low power type. they look good at night but not that much light from them.
if you want bright lighting go for the expensive ones with more power. also go for a well known brand cheap ones made in china are naff. also the latest ones have changable rechargable batteries(AA) the old ones you couln't change them. more leds the better brightness along with more powerful batteries.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 4:47AM
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Anybody have lights like these in the web link? I am looking for some powerful solar powered spotlights.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar lights

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 9:00PM
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sazzyrose(2b Sk)

I've had solar lights since they first became available. My first set of 4 are still in working condition. Not the brightest anymore, but still working. I always take out the batteries and store them in the house and put the lights in the garage. Last year I bought 4 globes in a wrought iron star shape. 2 glowed blue and the other 2 were green. My blue ones were in the middle of my back yard and one morning I woke up and they were gone. I was more ticked that someone had been in my yard while I was sleeping. My oldest son informed me that people take them for making crystal meth. Imagine. This year I've ordered (from Stokes) and recieved 2 glass globes on a stake that change from green to red to blue. Very pretty. They WON'T be going in the middle of my yard. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it yet, but I am going to anchor them down so they'll be theft proof.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 3:20AM
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I own a variety of solar lights. I found the brightest to be a set of spotlights from Canadian Tire (although I'm sure you could buy them online from a variety of stores). These particular lights plugged into a single solar panel that is about six by six inches in area. Even if the spot lights are in the shade, you have enough extra wire to place the solar panel in sunlight (About 20 feet of wire) Batteries are replacable rechargables. I'm happy with them, but take them down and bring them inside in the winter.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 6:54PM
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I have loads of Solar lites. I don't want them for lite but for the different colours that glow all over the yard at nite. Leave them out all year and if there isn't too much snow and we have sunny days they will shine for a short time. I live in the country and they are scattered every where.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 7:55PM
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If there is many days of heavy snow, you may bring them in to the house. Do some simple maintenance.wipe the surface of solar PV panel, check the built-in battery.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 9:23PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

This posting goes quite a ways back. I have some solar lights and I have left some of my cheaper lights out over winter and it seems like, during the cold and short days of winter, they stop working. I guess this is because the battery is cold and doesn't recharge during short days or when buried under snow. Then they resume working in spring.

For my better quality ones, however, I just bring inside and put in the dark of downstairs. They will glow the first night but then not get enough light to recharge, until you put them back outside in spring.

I had a neat glass globe light that changed colors and it stopped working. Tried a new battery in it but no such luck to get it to work.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 11:52PM
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I have had solar lights for a number of years, perhaps 8-10,I have always left them in the garden over winter.
Other than the deer knocking them over they are still working.
The 'white' ones are certainly brighter, but I find the 'other' ones are still bright enough to show the path. Not like an electric light but good enough.
they look so cheerful in the winter landscape also.

I have some by the path and some just placed about the flower beds.
If the ones by the path get snow covered I just wipe off the snow, if the ones in the garden bed become covered I just leave them.
I have not had the bouncing bug style lights last more than a couple of years.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 12:04AM
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We have had solar lights for about 8 years now and leave them outside all winter. After a few years, they need to be replaced but we just go to CT and buy new ones when they come on sale. We have them up the sides of the laneway, in flowerbeds and around the house walkway and I think they give off enough light.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 8:34AM
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We've just had a couple of inexpensive solar lights and about half of them didn't survive the winter. I found they really didn't throw enough light for what I wanted anyway, they just glowed. I have one light that looks like a white, lit up waspinator at night and my husband delights in making fun of it. I like it so I took it in for the winter so that he can admire it again another summer.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 7:27PM
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I bring mine in now. I take them apart if possible - pull apart the rods, pointed ends for the ground, take the batteries out. I wipe down the solar part. Wash the plastic light covers to get rid of dirt. This years lights are newer and brighter. Got them on sale and I love them. I have found in the past some lights were damaged from ice, some were shoveled into other garden areas (what can I say I'm a woman on a mission in the winter). They get all cleaned up and good to go as soon as the ground warms up to put them in. Some years that has been March (freakish weather) and others April.

I do get a few new ones each year - especially now that I live in the country. I find them cheery and my cat loves them in the front garden when he's hiding in the dark room on night patrol.

They are getting brighter and cheaper these days with technology. I love the solar since it gets so dark out here. Not to mention it helps me not to trip on garden bed edges in the summer and marks deck edges really well.

Happy New Year!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 7:40PM
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