Use solar lights to illuminate walkways at night and make them safer.

How to Install Solar Garden Walkway Lights

by Amelia Allonsy

Solar-powered garden lights greatly simplify the installation process because there's no need to run wires and install outdoor power outlets. A solar garden walkway light has a small solar panel on top that absorbs sunlight during the day, charging the light so it illuminates the walkway at night. On a cloudy day or when placed in shaded areas, the light intensity decreases. Solar walkway lights are usually shaped like a lantern with some that look like hanging lanterns. The most difficult part of installation is determining the spacing needed between lights.

Push a solar garden walkway light into the ground in a sunny area of your yard in the morning and leave it in place to charge in the sunlight all day. Solar lights usually come in two pieces, so you might have to connect the lantern portion to a plastic or metal stake.

Measure the diameter of the light circle created at night. Use this measurement to determine the spacing needed between each light. Space the lights so the outer edges of the light circles touch, or provide some overlap between the light circles of two neighboring lights.

Measure about 6 to 8 inches out from the side of the garden walkway. Stretch a garden hose along the path to create a straight line. Measure the distance from the path to the hose to ensure the hose lies parallel with the path.

Measure along the garden hose and spray a small dot on the grass or soil, using landscaping spray paint, at each interval where you want to install a walkway light. If you want to space the lights 12 inches apart, mark the ground every 12 inches. Make the marks just inside the garden hose.

Hold a garden light and stake upright at the first painted mark on the ground. Hold a carpenter's level against the side of the stake to adjust the light until it stands plumb; the bubble in the level should rest at the center. Push the stake straight down into the ground until the anchor plate of the stake is completely buried. Repeat this process until you install a garden light at each painted mark.

Items you will need

  • Measuring tape
  • Garden hose
  • Landscaping spray paint
  • Carpenter's level


  • Solar lights can lose their ability to charge over time, so you might need to replace some of the lights. The specific type of light you purchase might be discontinued by the time you need a replacement, so purchase an extra box of lights to use for replacing worn-out solar lights.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images