Solar Outdoor Lighting Types
Solar outdoor lighting comes in a variety of styles and addresses a variety of purposes. Basic plastic or metal outdoor lighting can be used for most purposes. Other, more powerful lights can be used for your floodlighting needs. For accenting needs, you don't necessarily want a lot of light, just enough to show off the source of the light itself.
Plastic and Metal Solar Outdoor Lighting - For most outdoor lighting needs, you can find what you want in either a plastic or metal variety. Both types of fixtures offer you the same basic array of choices. A classic, hanging lantern is one look that is always sure to please. This lantern can hang from a shepherd's hook, be mounted on a short post, or simply used as a tabletop light.
For a more rustic look, the Mission or Prairie style light with its simple rectangular panels may be what you're looking for. More modern looks with simple inverted bowls to shade the light are also available.
For pathways, you may like the look of a two or three-tiered lamp. The tiering consists of circular shields that jut out from a cylindrical globe. These tiers do a great job of directing the light down toward the path rather than up into your eyes or, uselessly, off into space.
The metal fixtures, naturally, are more durable. But the plastic fixtures can look just as nice and will work just fine in areas where they're not likely to receive a lot of punishment.
Solar Outdoor Flood Lighting - Flood lighting requires more power and more flexibility. That means you need larger solar panels that can be adjusted to catch as much sunlight as possible. One easy way to accomplish this is by not having the solar panel fixed to the lamp. Rather, the flood light or lights attach to the adjustable panel by weatherproof cabling. The panel may be placed for maximum exposure and the lights may be adjusted without worrying that the panel is no longer ideally directed.
Other solar flood lights do attach the lamp to the panel, avoiding the hassle of cabling. This makes them a little less versatile, but they can still get the job done. A simple design involves a fully adjustable lamp with a fully adjustable solar panel sitting on top. With a little work you can direct both lamp and panel to the desired angles. Another design simply hangs the lamp off the side of the stake-mounted panel.
Other, less flexible but more aesthetic designs encase the lamp in an artificial rock with a solar panel on top.
Natural Accent Solar Outdoor Lighting - This is your chance to bring a little whimsy to your garden or path. Frogs, turtles, squirrels, gnomes, lighthouses, and pagodas can all add a charming accent to the landscape. By day they look like lawn statuary. By night, the statuary imparts a pleasing glow.