As the evenings start to warm up, we can look forward to whiling away some lazy summer evenings outdoors with the family. Outdoor lighting creates an enchanting and peaceful atmosphere so it’s important to light up your garden, yet mains-wired illuminations can mean big installation costs and fatter energy bills.
Instead, take a look at these no-cost and low-cost options for your garden. We’ve got a few easy recycling ideas for you to mull over, as well as our pick of eco-outdoor lighting available online.
Make your own outdoor lighting
Could it get any simpler than putting a tea light in an old glass jar? Look for sustainable, non-toxic tea lights. These from Nigel’s Eco Store are made using organic palm oil grown in an environmentally sensitive way.
For a more exotic finish, paint your jars and attach strong wire to create a colourful array of glass jar lanterns to hang. WARNING: never leave a lit flame unattended, lest you get more illumination than you bargained for!
Unless you want uplighting only, tin can garden lighting is slightly more complicated, as you’ll have to make holes in the side of the can. It’s possible to use hammer and nails for this, but try a drill for a quicker fix.
For a magical light-amplifying effect, try hanging or placing your DIY lights in front of old mirrors. The mirrors will also reflect more sunlight back into your garden during the daytime, so plants will love them too!
Buy eco-friendly outdoor lighting
Solar fairy lights (£30) are much less hassle than mains powered ones. Position the solar panel module, arrange your lights artfully and away you go! This string of 100 LEDs from Solar Centre even has a backup USB charging function.
Leave one of these Sun Jars (£20) outside or on a sunny windowsill during the day to store up energy. When night falls the jar lights up automatically.
Sun Jars are completely watertight, so can be left out in all weathers. They are powered by a highly efficient solar cell and rechargeable battery. They also work perfectly as an eco-nightlight for a child’s bedroom.
If your garden lighting is more about practicality than ambience, you might want to check out the top of the range for solar lights.
The highly efficient Roma Light (£50) from Solar Mate is twenty times brighter than a standard solar bulb. The Roma Light is built for long term good looks using specialist marine-grade stainless steel. It’s capable of illuminating an area of up to 7m in diameter,