Outdoor Solar Lights Gone Wild

by | Jul 1, 2020 | Articles

Ready. Set. Glow

Concurrent with my efforts to learn more about and implement veganic gardening, I have been working on creating an outdoor oasis in my backyard with the desire of being environmentally conscious (and not dramatically increase my electricity bill in the process).

One way to rather inexpensively create ambience outdoors is using lighting to highlight my vegetable and flower gardening efforts.  Solar lights are the perfect solution to bring that to light (pun intended).  While, yes, one can spend boatloads of money on fancy solar lights, and I’ve certainly purchased several that are focal points, my favorite place to score the vast majority of the solar lights that I’ve used in my yard are the local ‘dollar’ stores.  I would venture to state that at least 95% of the solar lighting that you will see in my videos cost less than $5 each, with the bulk of the sidewalk lights being purchased at $1 each in clearance aisles.  Even the spotlights were under $5 each.

So, it doesn’t take much to bring twinkle and glow to your relaxing and quiet evenings, maybe sharing a glass of wine gazing at the stars (and the ones you create closer to the ground).

I do, though, want to tell you a story about my favorite patio accessory.  In the Perennial Garden and Patio Video and the Patio by Day photo, you’ll see two rather tall (6 feet each, to be exact) cast iron ‘candlesticks’.  I first saw them at one of the local antique shops in Old Town Cottonwood back in 2012.

Back in the Day

I had already purchased my home and had this vision of creating an outdoor kitchen/patio where there was a very small concrete pad surrounded by the typical rock yards that are commonplace here, but that wouldn’t take shape until long into the future.  These candlesticks were rusted.  I was going to say that they were patina, but they were rusted.  I was there browsing the outside yard of the antique store looking for parts that I could use to create an outdoor sink; when I came upon them.  They were/are majestic, even with all their rust.  It was immediate, I knew they were mine, I knew exactly what they were to become, and I wanted them.

So, me being me, and my love to fairly negotiate a sale in an antique shop, I asked how much the pair cost.  When I was told several thousand dollars, my jaw dropped.  My top dollar was a smidgen of their original asking price for the pair.  So began my two-year love affair from afar with these candlesticks.

I was still living full-time in New Jersey, coming to visit my Sedona/Verde Valley home at least once quarterly.  Each and every time I came, I paid a visit to the antique store to continue our negotiating exchange.  It was always pleasant, but I always ended with while I thought they may well be worth the newly-negotiated amount, I was staying firm with my original offer. Somehow, I just knew that, one day, they would make their way home—i.e., my home.

It became this sort of game over the next two years, until the Fall of 2014, when I was given a price that was not too far off from by firm offer. While I still was just as confident that they were meant to come home with me, there was that thought that maybe they weren’t.  I was told that when I returned in the next couple months, they would be gone because the owner was going to sand them and paint them a flat black.  My response was that they were meant to remain rusted, that was what gave them their character, and that I’d see him soon and we would, at that time, seal the deal.  We chuckled, he was certain they would be gone, and I just knew in my heart of hearts, they would be there when I returned (or at least I really hoped that they would be).

It’s About Serious Dedication

So, in January, 2015, I returned and within a day or two of ‘coming home’, paid my visit to the antique store.  Sure enough, they were painted black (I had to admit that I was surprised at how much I did like them having been restored, without my having to put forth any effort) and were now parked inside one of their barns rather than outdoors.  The owner with whom I had been speaking to wasn’t there but one of their other associates, whom I believe may be a co-owner, was there.  She immediately recognized me and chuckled when I walked in.  After we exchanged our pleasantries and caught up, she agreed to call the other owner.  At first, he was willing to come even a tad closer. I giggled and reminded him that after two years, I was surprised that he still thought he could sway me.  I said that they’ve already been sitting in the yard for two years and even after restoring them, they still remained.  I reminded him how committed I was to giving them a wonderful new home where they would be cherished….I mean, come on now, who else would be so dedicated to show up at least four times each year for the past two years.  I was a serious buyer.

Lo and behold, he agreed!  The candlesticks were coming home; and they were even delivered to my abode (oh, they each weigh over 200 pounds).  They sat in my garage for the next three years, until January, 2018, when my dream of the outdoor kitchen/patio finally manifested.

I had holes drilled into the bottom of the bowl at the top so that when it rains, the water would drain out.  The solar lights that you see resting in those bowls are actually solar swimming pool lights.  While they each have their own remotes so you can program them to be stationery green, or blue, or white, or yellow, or purple, or do a rotating color change, I’ve opted for the softness of the gentle green light in the night.

While there are so many things that I cherish about my outdoor oasis, those candlesticks remain one of my favorite things about the space.

But you certainly don’t need 6-foot high candlesticks to create your own incredible space.  In fact, it can be a lovely veranda or deck off your apartment living room.  It doesn’t have to be a large space, just one that you create that speaks to you and where, no matter what is going on in that day, you can step outside into your very own space to find peace and serenity.