If you’re looking to entertain outside this summer, it might be worth investing in solar garden lights. Not only can they be placed pretty much anywhere, they’re easy to install (no need for outdoor electrical outlets) and maintain.

And depending on the area you’re illuminating, there are a number of practical and aesthetic design options. If your garden is quite shady, for example, you could use lights that run off a separate photovoltaic (PV) panel. That way you’ll still be able to charge up your solar lights fully, even if they’re placed in a more secluded spot.

Feeling thrifty? Scout vintage shops for detailed, glass light covers which can easily be upcycled into beautiful, outdoor solar lights. Also consider solar floodlights that trigger on and off with a motion sensor. These can add an additional, much-needed layer of security to your perimeter.

Also, solar lights are usually waterproof, which makes them ideal for any time of year. (They also work marvellously when the power goes out!)

Solar lights generate and store their own power during the day and then release it at night. In other words, solar lights convert energy from the sun into electricity – this works with a solar cell, which you’ll recognise as a dark panel on the top of any solar device, even calculators.

The light inside a solar device is LED, and it turns on when the rechargeable batteries inside the light power up. (Interestingly, LED lights use one-eighth of the power of conventional bulbs and less than half that of fluorescent lights, making them incredibly energy-efficient.)

If you feel that your solar lights aren’t as bright as they used to be, it might be time to replace your batteries. To ensure your batteries have a decent lifespan, remove them if you’re not using your lights.

Whether you’re staking them into the ground, attaching them to a wall or hanging them over tree branches, solar lights are a very versatile resource. For an eco-friendly lighting option that won’t spike your electricity bill, go solar.