The enlightened garden

Nothing makes a garden as inviting in the evening as a few well-placed lights. Whether you're illuminating a pathway, brightening an entranceway or highlighting a special feature in your garden, light adds magic to the night! No fussing with wires The sun is a gardener's best friend during the day --why not make it work for you at night? Solar lights run on small batteries that charge up in the sun during the day, giving you hours of light into the evening and beyond. There are hundreds of different solar lighting options available on the market--with lots of elegant options specifically designed for use in the garden. And because you don't need to be connected to a power source, they are easy to install: you can stick them right in the ground where you want them, without having to fuss with wires. There are lots of great designs that can be mounted on walls and once installed, they're virtually maintenance free. A warmly lit path is the perfect way to greet friends when they come to visit. Try lighting the way with simple, antique-finish solar path lights at staggered intervals along the route. A stylish lamp in stainless steel makes a simple, ‘green' yet elegant statement. Follow the solar brick road Another fun option for lighting up a path are solar light "bricks". Sturdy enough to be walked on, they can be installed as part of your walkway or driveway, in place of actual bricks. When the sun goes down, they come to life, casting a bright glow for up to eight hours each night. Also try solar light emitting tiles which can be installed anywhere you want a little brightening at night. Strings of solar lights are another unique way to brighten up a walkway or driveway. The Solar eClips Light String is designed so each string has 14 single, low-energy LED lights (complete with stakes and clips) on a 25-meter (50-foot) long cord. A 11.5 by 11.5 cm (4.5 by 4.5 inches) solar panel at one end charges up during the day, then keeps the bulbs lit all night long. Motion and drama Spotlights are a dramatic way to highlight an element in your garden. The Integral Solar Spotlight runs three LED lamps from one solar panel for up to 10 hours. Use solar lights in your pond or pool for a magical effect. These ones from Spheral Solar float on the surface like lanterns, and the LED bulb lasts up to 10,000 hours! A well-lit home will add to your sense of security. Cut down on energy costs by installing solar powered motion-activated security lights, which provide bright light on demand. And for a little nighttime fun in your garden, why not try a solar powered floral decoration? These false flowers are made with thousands of Fibre Optic strands, which light up a dusk. Try Daisy, Bird of Paradise, or Peony! Enlighten your garden with these enviro-friendly alternatives. Meredith Dault is a freelance writer and broadcaster based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.