Solar lights are an energy-efficient choice for illuminating your landscape. (www.gardeners.com / August 25, 2014)

If you're spending more time in your backyard in the summer instead of going on a vacation, upgrading the lighting is a nice improvement you'll enjoy for years to come. Maybe you need to illuminate a walkway from the garage to the house or a front gate; or how about up-lighting a favorite tree or flower bed? Consider solar fixtures with LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which are like mini light bulbs for any exterior lighting on your property. Solar lights turn on automatically at dusk, and since they are powered by the sun they are very energy efficient compared to more typical low voltage incandescent lights. Solar fixtures use long lasting NiMH batteries to store the solar energy so even after a cloudy day they provide light at night.

A landscape service will charge $390 to install three solar area spotlights, which includes labor and material; but you can do the job for $300 and save 23 percent. The fixture is made of two parts: the light and the solar panel, both made of weather-tight anodized aluminum housing. Install the fixture by driving the stake at its base into the ground. Experiment with it at night to fine-tune its location. The solar cell should face due south and be positioned on an angle so it is perpendicular to the sun. A good source for information about solar landscape lighting is http://www.gardeners.com.

To find more DIY project costs and to post comments and questions, visit http://www.diyornot.com and http://www.m.diyornot.com on smartphones.

Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$390 -- $300 -- 1.2 -- 1.5 -- $78 -- 23 Percent

(c) 2014 GENE AND KATIE HAMILTON, DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.