February 24, 2020 Rodney Cowled
Smart Outdoors

Welcome to the Great (Smart) Outdoors.

Smart Tech & Your Backyard = The Smart Outdoors.

Do you love a good outdoor party, a BBQ with friends, or just spending time alone in your garden? Well, I’ve got some ideas on how you can take your smart home to the next level and build your own smart backyard. The smart home isn’t just for inside the home, it extends to your outdoors as well.

“Alexa, it’s BBQ time.” “Okay, Garden lights on. Music playing. Fountain running

Smart Outdoor Lighting

Garden lighting instantly changes the look and feel of your garden & backyard. We’re not talking about overhead floodlights (make these go away please), we’re talking about both functional and design lighting throughout gardens & backyards.

There is a multitude of outdoor smart lighting systems & the general rule is the same as indoor smart lighting; you’ve got 2 options. Buy smart lights or to add smarts to existing/non-smart lights.

Smart Lights – Kits & Individual Lights

This option is the simpler of the two. This solution is light & smarts all in one. Choose, buy & install.
There are a number of brands which offer outdoor smart lighting. One brand which is currently launching a whole range of outdoor smart lights is Phillips with the Hue range of outdoor lights.

Smart Outdoors Philips Hue
Philips Hue – Source: Philips

An additional benefit of these all-in-one solutions is that some offer RGBW (coloured) lighting. If you want to light up the backyard green and gold for rugby, then you can.

Alternatively, you can convert almost any outdoor lighting on the market using a smart plug.

Smart Plugs – Make Any Garden Lighting, Smart Lighting.

Smart plugs can turn almost any garden lighting into smart lighting. Say you’ve already got an existing lighting setup, then a smart plug can make it a smart system. Another reason you might choose a smart plug over the smart lights above is that this can be a much cheaper solution; especially, if you’ve got/want, a lot of lighting in your yard.

One word of warning, make sure you purchase a plug which is suitable to be outside or provide appropriate protection using a weatherproof electronics box.

(More on Smart Lighting Indoor)

Music for the Smart Outdoors

Music is a non-negotiable, without it is a party really a party? (No, it’s a meeting). Music outdoors is an added luxury. A luxury which can be achieved across a range of budgets. At the more affordable end, it can be achieved through a portable Bluetooth speaker.

Affordable Outdoor Music – Bluetooth Speaker

A simple Bluetooth speaker is all you need to add some music to an outdoor event or an evening in the garden. This is the cheapest and simplest option & if this is all you want to spend, this will totally do the job.

Smart Speaker
UE Bluetooth Speaker

Something like the UE Blast or UE Boom 3 would be the perfect place to start. They are durable & made for the outdoors.

Mid-range Outdoor Music – Multiroom Audio

If you’re willing to spend a little more you’ll be able to achieve a whole lot more. The most impressive and rewarding of which is multi-room audio. Multi-room audio is linking together multiple speakers, in multiple rooms and having them all play the same music. As you (or your guests) wander from room-to-room (from the kitchen to the backyard) you’ll be greeted by music at each step.

Depending on your space & more specifically how exposed is it, your options will vary.

Sonos Move Smart Outdoor Speaker
Sonos Move – Source: Sonos

If you’ve got an existing Sonos system you could add a Sonos Move or several and move them outside when needed. Alternatively, if your space is protected enough (an outdoor room) you could use other Sonos speakers Sono One, Sonos Play 5, etc. (Though, be careful not to expose them to weather for which they are not built to withstand.)

(More on Smart Audio here)

Higher-end Outdoor Music – Multiroom Audio & Higher Fidelity

If you’re looking for a higher fidelity solution & a more immersive experience, then you’ll want to invest in some higher fidelity outdoor speakers. Sonos Outdoor Set

The Great Smart Outdoors, this is just the beginning.

The options are only limited by your imagination your ability to Google. Adding smart to your outdoor areas adds an extra dimension. Making both midweek BBQ’s and your parties all the more special.

If you’d like to know more about any of smart outdoor tech, or any smart tech hit me up.