Solar vs. Wired Landscape Lighting: What’s Best for Your Home?
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Solar vs. Wired Landscape Lighting: What’s Best for Your Home?

Landscape lighting is a stunning way to beautify your home’s exterior. The right approach boosts curb appeal, highlights architectural features, and creates a warm ambiance for time spent outdoors. Of all the decisions to make when choosing outdoor lighting, one of the most common questions we receive is whether to choose solar or wired lighting. Since each has pros and cons, we’ll break it down into bite-sized chunks to help you decide.

The Illumination Dilemma: Solar or Wired?

The choice to go solar or wired hinges on factors like energy efficiency, upfront costs, environmental impact, and your outdoor space’s specific requirements or limitations.

What are Solar Landscape Lights?

Solar landscape lights are self-contained units that require no wiring. They capture the sun’s energy during the day, convert it into electricity, and store it in an integrated battery to be used during the night. They’re versatile, easy to install, and a green alternative in your outdoor lighting repertoire.

Can Solar Landscape Lights Save Energy?

Solar landscape lights can significantly reduce your energy footprint by drawing power directly from the sun. With no added strain on your electricity bill or the planet’s resources, they are an excellent way to balance sustainability and beautiful landscape lighting design.

What’s the Average Life of Outdoor Solar Lights?

The biggest disadvantage of outdoor solar lights is that the batteries won’t last forever. However, LED bulbs last ten years or more, and quality solar fixtures will have compatible batteries. Most manufacturers offer a warranty, which should give you some indication of their expected lifespan.

Wired Landscape Lights

How Do Wired Landscape Lights Work?

Wired lights are powered by your home’s electrical system and typically are more powerful, consistent, and brighter than solar lights. You would need to place wired lights where they can be connected to an electrical outlet, like the Terri outdoor sconce or Haylen, which is a popular choice for entryways, garages, and outdoor walls.

Shedding Light on the Selection Process

When you’re ready to purchase landscape lighting, there are several factors to consider regardless of the power source. Choosing the right lighting fixtures for your landscaping makes all the difference in the final result. Here are a few considerations.

1. The Topography of Your Property

What may work on a flat lawn may not be as effective on a slope. The natural layout of your yard might be more conducive to solar vs. wired. Wired lighting may require electrical work, whereas solar lights allow you to get creative as they can be installed anywhere. 

2. Intended Placement of Outdoor Lighting

Chaz is a gorgeous example of solar architectural lighting. Chaz can be installed on fences, posts, walkways, gardens, or pools; its soft elegance blends seamlessly into any landscape design. Of course, outdoor solar lighting doesn’t have to be installed. One of the beauties of solar lights is that they are wireless and can be moved anywhere you like.

Beam can be hung in a gazebo, along fence lines, or around the deck—wherever you need a warm, whimsical glow.

For something a little more dramatic, meet Skye. Skye is the perfect solar light for the pool or deck or to punctuate your garden with soft radiance.

Lighting Designer’s Tip: The Right Spacing for Illumination

The right distance between your lights is essential for creating a balanced lighting design. Pathway lights typically look best when spaced six to eight feet apart, while a gap of 10 to 15 feet is best for floodlights that cover a wide area. Pathway lights are one of the most integral parts of your outdoor lighting scheme. They serve a dual function: guiding your way and contributing to the overall look of your landscaping. Choosing the right pathway lights is a decision that should balance form and function. There are some practicalities to consider when choosing between solar and wired lighting. Think about how much lighting you need or whether the fixtures are purely decorative. For example, if you’re lighting a walkway, you may need brighter lights for safety. While wired lights are brighter, you could place additional solar lights to achieve the same effect.

Final Thoughts: Are You Leaning Toward Solar or Wired?

The choice between solar and wired landscape lighting is not always straightforward. You must consider the context of your landscape, personal preferences, and whether you can accommodate wired lighting where you want it. If you still have questions, speak to our outdoor lighting specialists today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about solar lighting and the features of specific fixtures to help you make the right choice for your home.

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