Solar Balls

Lighting up your garden beds means that you can enjoy another dimension of gardening after the sun sets. Rather than fooling around with electrical cables, use solar lighting for its ease of use and low cost. All you need for this easy makeover using solar balls, which when complete needs little maintenance, are solar cobbles (usually used to light cobbled pathways), PPC Cement and some sun-loving plants.

What you Need for your Solar Balls

  • 2 plastic bowls of the same size
  • 1 solar cobble
  • releasing agent (cooking oil or olive oil will do)
  • river sand
  • 13 mm building stone
  • PPC Surebuild 42,5 N Cement

Tools Needed

Rubber mallet, small paintbrush, trowel, float, bucket

What to do to Make your Solar Balls

  1. Use the releasing agent to coat the two plastics bowls and the lighting panel of the solar cobble.
solar balls diy
  1. Place the solar cobble in the centre of one of the bowls.
  1. Mix one part river sand, one part 13 mm building stone, and one part cement with enough water to form a concrete mixture of yoghurt-like consistency.
    NB: Before pouring the mixture into the mould, remember to remove the magnet at the back of the solar cobble which releases the mechanism, so that it will work. The last thing you want is to encase the panel in concrete, only to find it doesn’t work. Read the instructions carefully on the solar item you choose, as different products may work differently.
solar balls cement mix
  1. After removing the magnet on the solar cobble, hold it in place and pour in the concrete mixture until you are confident the cobble won’t move, and then continue to fill up the bowl. Use a trowel to agitate the mixture. Tap the bowl lightly with a rubber mallet to remove any air bubbles trapped inside the mixture, and then finally smooth down the top with a float.
  1. Fill the other bowl for the base with the concrete, agitate, tap and smooth down as before.
  1. Leave the moulds to dry for two days, or longer if needed.
solar balls moulds
  1. Once dry, simply remove from the plastic bowls and assemble. Mix a little bit of cement with water to form a slurry mix. Use a trowel to spread the mixture onto the base, then place the other half with the light on top to form a ball.
  1. Place the solar balls in the garden where they get loads of sunshine and surround them with sun-loving plants like Carex brunnea ‘Jenneke’ and Catharanthus roseus.
The Gardener