Eco-Saturday: Solar landscaping lights

This is more of a product endorsement than a how-to, but I was so pleased with the outcome of today’s landscaping efforts that I had to share.

We’re a week out from Planting Day, which longtime readers of this blog know is my favorite day of the entire year. I spent most of today getting the backyard ready for next week’s gardening extravaganza — tilling the garden area (Ron rented this little Stihl tiller, which was very lightweight and easy to use, even for a first-timer), buying a quarter-ton of flagstone and turning it into stepping stones, fixing a small problem I discovered with the fence I installed a couple of weeks ago, shopping for odds and ends, and installing solar landscaping lights to mark the stepping-stone paths I’d just put in.

I’m sure the batteries compromise some of their environmental integrity, but I’ve been a fan of solar accent lights for years. I bought my first one when we lived in Belleville. It cost $30 and produced a weak amber light that ran down a couple of hours after sunset. I wasn’t impressed, but I liked the fact that it didn’t require any wiring, and I figured the technology would improve over time.

Nearly 15 years later, you can buy bright white solar accent lights for $2 apiece. I picked up 10 of them tonight and spent longer removing the bar-code stickers than I spent installing the lights themselves. They don’t use any electricity from the power company, and I didn’t have to wire anything. More importantly, when I buy solar-powered products, I’m showing their manufacturers there’s a market for alternative energy, which hopefully will drive more and better technology in the future.

Here are a few grainy shots of the new lights in action. I love that star pattern the diffusers make:

solar1 solar2 solar3 solar4

You aren’t going to end global warming with a handful of accent lighting, but you’ll save a little energy and make the garden a little prettier — and the more you enjoy your garden, the more time you’re likely to spend working in it, growing your own vegetables and herbs and reducing your reliance on factory-farmed produce. There’s no question that’s good for the environment.