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Solar Powered: Backyard Edition

Let’s face it – sometimes your backyard just needs a helping hand to have an enjoyable atmosphere where you, your family, and any house guests might want to spend time. Not every backyard was created equal, and sometimes you inherit something that’s a little less fab and a lot more drab. If you’re thinking about making a purchase to spruce up your backyard, you may be overwhelmed with tons of different options – but one stands out among the rest.

Solar. Accessories, decorations, gadgets and gizmos that are powered by the sun. They don’t increase your electric bill, they stay on when the power goes out, they’re low maintenance, and they’re environmentally friendly. Honestly, what’s not to like? In some cases, they can be pricy (depending on the quality and “newness” of the technology) and they also have one big requirement… sun.

If your entire backyard is shaded, solar-powered accessories might not be the way to go. But if you can plan your yardscaping to include some strategically timed sunlight, then read on, because you might find yourself falling in love with all that the world of solar has to offer.

Lights, Lights, and More Lights

Image Credit: Amanda Harper Photography (www.amandaharperphotography.com)

One of the most prominent potential solar-powered backyard accessories is fairly obvious: lights. Strands of bistro lights strung along a trellis or hung along a gazebo; pathway lights framing the perimeter of a walkway; and even sconces and lanterns along the deck and fence can all be solar-powered. And the biggest benefits? You won’t need to run wires to operate them, and most solar-powered lights have sensors to turn on at night and back off during the day – meaning no messing with complicated timers or programming controllers.

Water, Water Everywhere

Image Credit: Greenway Home Products (www.greenwayhomeproducts.com)

If you have a water feature in your yard – be it a fountain, a pond, or even a small waterfall – chances are good that you have a pump installed to keep the water moving. This prevents stagnant water from developing algae and moss, as well as from attracting pests like mosquitos who like to lay their eggs in standing water. Add in the ambience of that musical bubble, and your water feature will dazzle and delight – so why not take it a step further and get a solar-powered pump? You can install a battery backup to keep the pump operating on cloudy days, and most don’t require an electric outlet, so there’s no need to mess with combining water and electricity.

Pest Control

Especially if you’re the rustic type with lots of pets, perhaps some small livestock (such as chickens), and an extensive garden, intrusive animals (pests and predators alike) can be a real hassle. Controlling these invaders by installing solar-powered defenses such as motion-activated lights and sound systems can go a long way toward keeping your homestead safe from harm.