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Expert Shopper Lawn & Garden

Create ambiance with the best outdoor garden lights

Illuminating your outdoor space


If you’ve put time and money into creating the perfect garden, you have something beautiful to gaze upon all day long. If you install garden lights, you can appreciate your favorite outdoor space long after the sun goes down. 

Garden lights create a warm ambiance when they’re strategically placed throughout your outdoor space. You can highlight a blooming raised garden bed or you can illuminate the walkway to your vegetable and herb garden

Wondering which garden lights you should buy? Here’s everything you need to know, including some recommendations.

What do I need to know about garden lights?

Perks of garden lights

Garden lights add more than aesthetic appeal to your outdoor space. 

  • Garden lights enhance ambiance, making an outdoor space warm and inviting. They offer a modest amount of light to nighttime outdoor gatherings.
  • Many people install garden lights to boost curb appeal if they’re planning on listing their house for sale. While the lights don’t officially add dollars-and-cents value to a house, they may contribute to its overall attractiveness to buyers. 
  • Garden lights are helpful for illuminating paths so you can always see where you’re going if you’re taking out the garbage or taking the dog for a walk.
  • Some people feel garden lights function as crime deterrents, especially those with motion sensors


According to Energy Star, brightness, or light output, is expressed in lumens as opposed to watts. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light.  

If you’re wondering how to choose the right brightness in garden lights, most manufacturers indicate the intended uses and locations for outdoor lights on packaging. Motion sensor lights, for example, are generally brighter than path, step or string lights


Garden lights are available in a variety of colors that range from warm to cool colors. Light color is expressed in Kelvin units on a spectrum of 2200K to 6500K. Energy Star indicates that the lower the number, the warmer the light. Conversely, the higher the number, the cooler it appears. 

Warmer light may be used for mood lighting because it exudes an inviting tone. Cooler light, on the other hand, is closer to natural daylight and has a clean, crisp appearance. 

In terms of choosing the best color for garden lights, it boils down to preference. There aren’t any hard and fast rules on light colors, though many consumers agree that the right light color dramatically improves ambiance. 


Outdoor String lights

Garden lights are often battery- or solar-powered, though there are some lights that either require electrical wiring or access to an A/C outlet. Here’s how they compare:

  • Solar garden lights are considered low-maintenance and energy-efficient. They’re also affordable long-term because you don’t need to purchase replacement batteries.
  • Battery-powered lights require more upkeep with the ongoing cost of battery replacements, making them less popular than solar lights.
  • Lights that require access to an A/C outlet, like string lights, may require outdoor extension cords. For some people, this may create logistical challenges. 
  • Some lights, such as spotlights or security lights, need to be hardwired. Installation is a bit more complicated with these and may require a licensed electrician.

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What types of garden lights are there?

Solar garden lights

Solar garden lights are installed in sunny spots around gardens and outdoor spaces. They automatically turn on when it gets dark outside. Unfortunately, some solar lights aren’t very bright. 

LED garden lights

LED garden lights remain popular for their bright, clear light. They’re energy-efficient and suitable for most areas around the garden. Their brightness, however, may be intrusive or bothersome to neighbors. 

Adjustable garden lights

Adjustable garden lights, also called spotlights, offer customizable lighting options. They’re low-profile so as not to detract from the natural beauty of a garden. One of the pitfalls of spotlights is that you’ll need several to achieve the lighting effect you desire.

Others types of garden lights

Other garden lights include deck, string, fiber optic or step lights. You’ll also find lamp posts, pond lights and fountain lights in this category. Given their diversity in color, brightness and design, you may need to put effort into planning and design to achieve the best lighting effect.

Best garden lights

Hampton Bay 3-Tier LED Landscape Lights

These LED lights are perfect for illuminating pathways with 3100k cool white light. The lights have a frosted plastic lens that creates a soft, blurred light.

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Westinghouse Remington Solar Bronze LED Lights

Affordable and attractive, this set of path lights can light up longer walkways on a budget. They have extra-long stakes to keep them stable and tilt-free. 

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Mr. Beams Motion-Sensing LED Step Lights

These reactive lights are suitable for porch and deck steps. The battery-powered lights last through a year of use or more with an average of eight activations per day. 

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GAMA SONIC Royal Bulb Series LED Solar Post Light

This stately solar light remains a customer favorite for its regal design. It features durable construction with weather- and rust-resistant cast aluminum.

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Classy Caps Oxford White Integrated LED Post Cap Lights

These low-profile deck lights are used with raised garden beds with 6- by 6-foot posts. They’re equipped with high-performance solar lights that stay lit for up to 12 hours.

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Deck Impressions LED Rock Spotlight

If you’re searching for garden lights that blend in, try these rock spotlights. They give you two light color options as well: warm white or green. 

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Commercial Electric Outdoor/Indoor LED Rope Light

These versatile rope lights are flexible enough to mount virtually anywhere, from gazebos to raised garden beds. They come with a mounting kit for easy installation.

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Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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