How to Keep Solar Lights from Falling Over
There are several DIY methods to stabilize solar-powered lights and prevent landscape lighting fixtures from falling over. Securing the base and foundation of outdoor solar lights is critical to keeping them upright.
In this article, we will discuss the common techniques to help reinforce solar lighting fixtures so they stand straight without tilting or toppling over. We will also discuss why landscape lights fall and provide tips for ongoing maintenance.
DIY Methods to Stabilize Solar Lights
Besides determining the best distance between your solar fixtures, keeping them upright and getting maximum performance for years.
There are several methods to stabilize solar-powered lights and prevent lighting stake accessories from falling over. The key to these is to secure the base and foundation of your outdoor solar lights to keep them upright.
The following common techniques can help reinforce solar lighting fixtures so they stand straight and tall all year without tilting or toppling over.
Use Longer Stakes
The small plastic stakes of most solar lights are often too short to provide adequate stability. Their short length means they don’t extend deep enough into the ground to anchor the light firmly.
To fix this, do the following:
- Remove the solar light from the short stake.
- Get longer metal or wooden mounting stakes, around 12-18 inches long.
- Hammer the longer stakes into the ground where you want to put the solar lights. Make sure the ground is packed tightly around the base.
- Once the long stakes are firmly in the ground, reattach the solar light fixtures at the desired height for lighting.
A taller stake that goes deeper into the ground will help stabilize the solar light and prevent it from falling over.
Reinforce with Concrete or Expanding Foam
Using a concrete or expanding foam around the base of the stakes of your outdoor solar lights can help reinforce them and prevent falling over.
Follow these steps:
- Mix up a small amount of quick-drying concrete in a bucket.
- Pour the concrete around the base of the installed ground stakes.
- Let the concrete fully cure and harden as per the package directions.
The concrete or foam will form a solid base around the solar light stake, keeping it upright in the ground. This is a great way to provide extra stability and prevent the light from tilting or falling over time.
Attach to Pipe or Wooden Dowel
Attaching your solar lighting fixtures to copper pipe or wooden dowels driven into the ground can help keep them upright.
Follow these simple steps to do so:
- Hammer a 3/4″ diameter copper pipe or wooden dowel at least 18″ long into the ground where you want to install the solar light.
- Ensure the top of the pipe or dowel is at the desired height for the solar light.
- Attach the solar light fixture securely to the pipe or dowel.
The rigid pipe or dowel driven deep into the ground provides a stable base to keep the solar lights straight. This prevents the light from falling over like it might on a thin plastic stake.
Add Anchors for Stability
Anchors are an effective way to provide permanent stability for solar lights, especially in windy areas. Different anchor options recommended in the articles include:
- Anchoring screws – screw directly into the ground to secure the solar light.
- Pegs – hammer tent or rebar pegs into the ground and attach the light.
- Rebar – hammer rebar into the ground for heavy-duty applications.
To install anchor supports:
- First, securely drive the anchor (screw, peg, rebar) into the ground where you want the solar light positioned.
- Attach the solar light to the top of the anchor using cable ties, string, or wire. For the most security, use two anchors per light – one on each side of the solar panel.
- Consider the height and angle of the anchor so the attached solar light is positioned as desired.
- Check periodically that the anchors remain securely in the ground as the weather changes.
Anchoring down solar lights with ground screws or tent pegs provides excellent stability even in loose, sandy, or muddy soil. The anchors keep the lights upright and in position when wind, rain, or accidental bumps could otherwise cause them to fall over frequently.
Adding weight around the base of solar lights can help keep them from falling over.
To use weights:
- Place solar lights in the ground.
- Place heavy rocks, bricks, or sandbags around the base of each solar light.
- Position the weights evenly on all sides of the light for the most stability.
- Hide the weights with decorative stones or mulch if desired.
- Ensure the light can still receive sunshine and is not blocked by the weights.
The extra weight makes the lights more secure in the ground and resistant to tilting or blowing over.
This method works well for lights on hard surfaces like patios where stakes or anchors aren’t possible. The weights keep the solar lights firmly upright all season long.
Install Fence Barrier
A small fence around solar lights can protect them from falling over.
To install a fence barrier:
- Build a short fence in a circle around the outdoor light fixtures using wood, metal, or plastic posts.
- The fence should be tall enough to block animals from disturbing the lights. Chicken wire or decorative fencing can be attached to the posts.
- Place the fence a few inches away from the solar lights so they have room to illuminate.
- Ensure the fence does not cast a shadow on the solar panels to block sunshine.
A protective fence barrier prevents pets, wildlife, and passersby from bumping into or kicking over the solar lights. The fence keeps the area around the solar lights clear to keep them standing upright.
Reasons Why Landscape Lights Fall Over
There are a few common reasons solar lights can fall over if not installed correctly.
Animals can knock over solar lights. Stray dogs or cats may bump into the lights, raccoons may try to play with them, etc. Even deer walking through your yard could accidentally brush against the solar lights and tip them over.
Wind and rain can also cause solar lights to fall. Strong gusts of wind or heavy rainstorms can blow the solar lights over. Even a constant breeze over time can loosen the soil around the base of the lights.
If the stakes holding the solar lights are too short or thin, they won’t stay upright. Short stakes don’t go deep enough into the ground to be secure. Thin flimsy stakes can easily bend or break.
Solar landscape lights need to be installed correctly so they don’t fall. The ground needs to be flat and packed tight around the base.
The lights can lean and topple if the ground is loose or uneven. Also, if the lights aren’t placed vertically, they can tilt to the side.
While properly installing and stabilizing solar lights is important, maintenance is also crucial to keeping them straight for years. Solar lights installed outdoors are exposed to sun, wind, rain, and snow. Seasonal changes and weather can loosen parts over time.
Doing periodic inspections and adjustments helps ensure the solar light components remain securely fastened and upright. A small time investment twice a year goes a long way toward getting maximum performance and enjoyment from your solar lights.
- Inspect the lights at least twice yearly, such as in spring and fall. Check that all parts are still tight and secure.
- Ensure the light fixture is firmly attached to the stake or post. Tighten any loose screws or connections.
- Check that stakes and anchors remain firmly in the ground. Refasten or replace any that are loose.
- Adjust the stakes or stabilizing accessories to get the lights straight and level.
- Clear any debris or growth around lights to allow sunshine to reach the solar panels.
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