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Friday, July 5, 2024

Decorative Solar Lights for Yard

Twinkle Lights Take Revenge! How I Upcycled Yard Eyesores into Solar-Powered Beauties

Plagued by yard eyesores? Don't despair! This post turns lemons into lemonade (or should we say, rusty posts into twinkling lights) with a hilarious guide to using solar power to banish the ugly and bathe your backyard in ambiance. Get ready to reclaim your yard and unleash your inner DIY diva (no power tools required)!

Flower beds lined with old cast iron posts

Ever stare longingly at your backyard, only to have the view hijacked by an eyesore so out-of-place it could be a rejected prop from a Tim Burton film? 

Yeah, me too. 

In my case, the culprit? A long line of rusty old cast iron posts that had been holding down the fort (or should I say, mocking my decorating skills) for about 75 years... long before I was born that is for sure.


Forget about it (in my most Italian accent). No one would take on the removal project. 

Those posts were like stubborn old cowboys, dug in deep with what must've been a concrete moat. Every time I looked at them, I could practically hear them taunting me, "We ain't goin' nowhere, lady!"

But hey, a gal can dream (and plot her revenge... with twinkle solar lights!). 

Since eviction wasn't an option, I decided to give those rusty relics a new lease on life – and maybe even turn them into something useful. Enter my master plan (or at least, what I hoped wouldn't turn into a DIY disaster).

Spring rolled around, before the rock garden began, and with visions of fairy lights dancing in my head, I grabbed a giant sheet of cardboard (because who wants to explain rogue black paint to the neighbors?) and a can of Rust-oleum Black Spray Paint. 

Let's just say those posts got a serious makeover, transforming from rusty nightmares to sleek, sophisticated black beauties.

Now, about the lighting... 

My initial dream involved professional installation and enough lights to rival a stadium. But then reality, that charming little buzzkill, chimed in. 

Turns out, electricians aren't exactly cheap. Like, "sell your firstborn" kind of not cheap. So, with a sigh and a slightly deflated ego, I turned to my trusty friend, solar power.

Remember those outside solar lights I bought a few years back for our yard? Yeah, the ones that still work like champs? Turns out, you don't need to break the bank for quality or to light up your entire yard. These little guys are like the energizer bunny of the lightbulb world – going strong and ready to party long into the night.

Here's the magic recipe for transforming your own yard eyesores into illuminated charmers:


  1. A couple of yard delinquents (rusty posts, old birdbaths, shepherd hooks, you get the idea)
  2. A can of black Rust-oleum spray paint (because black goes with everything)
  3. A zip tie for each post (to keep those solar lights in line)
  4. Solar lights with hangers 
  5. A large sheet of cardboard (because neighbors and overspray don't mix)


  • Channel your inner artist and unleash the spray paint fury on those old posts, or what you may be using. Remember, even coverage is key (unless you're going for the "distressed" look, which, hey, no judgment).
  • Move the cardboard up and down as you spray for full coverage and preventing overspray 
  • Grab your solar lights and their hangers. Think of them as tiny hats for your newly-painted posts. Using the heavy duty zip ties, secure the hangers to the posts. Just a heads up, these hangers are one-shot deals, so make sure you like the placement before tightening them down, or you will need to start over with another zip tie.
  • Use a paint can lid to assist in measuring placement of the hangers on the poles, you can also use those lids as caps for the posts, who knew... until I said oh, hey... hmmm... this works.
  • Pop those solar lights onto their hangers, step back, and admire your handiwork! Your backyard will be bathed in a warm glow, all thanks to your ingenuity (and a little help from the sun).
DIY solar lighting for yard posts

Paint posts for affordable lighting for yard

posts for outside DIY lighting

Black Rust-oleum Spray Paint

Black painted post in flower beds for solar lights

Solar light hanger and zip tie

Solar light hanger zip tied to existing post

solar light hung on light post

The hangers come with the solar lighting, and not a day goes by that I regret our decision to go with solar lighting in our backyard. I love them, and they really light up our entire yard. We saved ourselves thousands of dollars, let's just say I was not prepared for that quote when it came through. Yikes!

The lights I purchased over three years ago are still as strong as the new solar lights, and I couldn't be happier. If you are searching for affordable exterior lighting options, give solar a try.

I have tried many over the years, and nothing has measured up to these lovelies. Our yard is well lit, all around the perimeter, and I will even be sharing another idea with solar lights soon. We cannot stop it seems. 

So there you have it! Proof that even the most stubborn eyesores can be transformed with a little creativity and some solar-powered magic. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a whole yard full of delinquents to wrangle and a lifetime supply of solar lights for our yard to buy (because, let's be honest, who can resist a good twinkle?).

Solar lights lit up at night

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Cara, Those are the cutest lanterns and you were so smart to zip tie them to the poles! They look great in the daylight and do a great job lighting up the night! Your yard is looking so good! Enjoy your time outdoors this summer!

    1. Thank you Donna, the yard... oh, it's a work in progress, that is for sure. I decided to go ahead and share it though since I am sure I am not the only one who doesn't have it all together. The yard is just one of those places where it happens as we have time, and I can do it. Some days the weather doesn't always cooperate with my health, and so I just skip it and move on to the indoors.

  2. What a great idea and an amazing transformation! I wish I had rusty old poles in my yard :( .

  3. Ah, the power of paint and zip ties! Your new backyard lighting looks terrific and I LOVE the price.

    1. I was kind of upset with myself for not thinking of this earlier Ann. I thought why on earth have I let those rusty things look the way they did, but when we had several contractors in here and none of them wanted to attempt removal, I thought I was stuck. Thank goodness my husband and I brainstormed, and I am so happy with the result!