How to Choose the Right Lighting for Your Outdoor Space

How to Choose the Right Lighting for Your Outdoor Space

Types of Lighting

Before getting into anything else, you’ll want to determine which type of lighting you need for your home: wall lighting, landscape lighting, or security lights.

Wall Lighting 

These modern outdoor wall lights flank doorways and can be mounted anywhere there is a wall and wiring. Others integrate into your home’s exterior or have style features to accent your space. Some produce ambient light, while others provide more directed light. Most outdoor wall lights will be rated for their particular exposure to the elements, so make sure you pay attention to the UL rating. An outdoor wall sconce will not only help you find your keys, but some designs wash walls in uplight and downlight to help emphasize your property.

Landscape Lighting 

This type of lighting includes path lights, deck and step lights, and recessed ground lights.

  • Path lights are meant for pathways but can also be used for water features and gardens or home perimeter lighting.
  • Recessed lights are meant to blend in with your landscape, so you only see the light they emit, not the fixture itself.
  • Deck and steps lights are a more permanent style of lighting that is installed directly into the steps and/or decks outside your home to enhance safety and design.

Security Lights

Security or safety-based lighting includes flood lighting, recessed lighting, and path lights. These lights can have a dual purpose in that they are for security but also add curb appeal. Typically you can program these lights to turn on and off with the sun, activate with movement, controlled by a switch, or even a smart home hub. And you can find options that are solar-powered, battery-powered, or hard-wired.

UL Ratings

Each fixture will be given a UL grade depending on its weather resistance. These UL ratings indicate which outdoor areas are most suitable for your fixture. It’s important that you understand what you’re buying.

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Why Smart Automation is Important & How it Can Work for You

Why Smart Automation is Important & How it Can Work for You

Light Up Your Home — Automatically!

If you have smart lighting in your home, there's a lot you can do with it, especially when it works in tandem with other devices or motion sensors. This way, you can have your lights turn on during specific actions or at particular times. For example, you can:

  • Set a rule for your lights to turn on when your security alarm goes off to scare away possible intruders.
  • If you have a late schedule, have your lights turn on after punching in a specific code in your smart lock, lighting up the path to your bedroom, and automatically turning off!
  • Turn off the lights with a single tap on the app or create a timer around when everyone in your home goes to sleep.
  • Set up night lights to turn on whenever you get up in the night and keep them dim.
  • If you get up for work while it's still dark out, set it so your lights turn on and imitate the soft glow of sunrise to start your day better.

The more connected your home is, the more you can do with your smart lighting!

Breath of Fresh Air — Whenever!

When it comes to smart thermostats, there's more to it than simply programming your home's temperature. While fine-tuning when your HVAC system turns on is always helpful, you can also integrate it with your smoke detector or smart shades. This broadens your horizons, letting you do any of the following:

  • Sync your thermostat with your smoke detector, so it knows to turn off your HVAC system if it detects smoke and keeps the smoke from circulating in your home. Less chance of smoke inhalation!
  • Always know if the AC is running, even if you're not home, and turn it off remotely. Or set up a timer to get the AC or heater running before you get home from work.
  • Program your smart thermostat to turn off whenever your windows are open for more than 15 minutes to let in natural air.
  • Set it up so your smart thermostat is off when your smart shades are open to reduce your energy usage.

The more you use and adjust your thermostat, the more it learns and makes adjustments to suit your preferences!

Forgot to Lock Up? Don't Sweat It!

If there is someone in your home that never remembers to lock up when they leave, smart locks are your savior! No more running to get to the house or asking your neighbor with the spare key to lock up for you — you can lock it yourself remotely and do so much more, like:

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From Outdoor Hangout to Backyard Bash — Which Waterproof Speaker Do You Need?

From Outdoor Hangout to Backyard Bash — Which Waterproof Speaker Do You Need?

Which Waterproofing is Which

Before diving into the different types of speakers, you first need to understand the terminology. Weatherproof speakers and waterproof speakers do not mean the same thing, nor do waterproof or water-resistant speakers. But it's vital to understand which you’re looking to determine which will suit your outdoor audio needs.

  • Waterproof Speakers: Are covered or treated with materials to prevent the permeation of water so that they can come into contact with water without damage.
  • Water-Resistant Speakers: Provides lower protection against water, with coated or treated materials that don't allow water to pass through easily.
  • Water-Repellant Speakers: Offers more protection than water-resistant speakers because they are covered in thin-film nanotechnology.
  • Weatherproof Speakers: Made to withstand the elements, whether that means humidity, steam, rain, or light sprinkles, and come with tough casings and sealed cabinets.

Pro Tip: To survive submersion, waterproof speakers must have an IPX level of 7 or higher.

Wired vs. Wireless Speakers

Deciding whether you need wired or wireless speakers for your outdoor audio is essential since you need to keep the possibilities of wires in mind.

With wired outdoor speakers, you'll have more capacity and control over your musical setup and speakers that outperform any day of the week. These usually have underground wires and an omnidirectional design so anyone can listen to crisp audio from any spot in the yard. But you would need to find more outlets to plug in every speaker.

Wireless weatherproof speakers are designed to be relatively invisible with enclosures meant to blend in the background like rocks, animals, lanterns, flowerpots, etc. You can make your music appear from out of nowhere and have your guests solely focus on the good times!

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How to Blend Smart Technology with Home Design

How to Blend Smart Technology with Home Design

Coordination — Color Coordination

The good news is that most smart devices have ample color, size, shape, and design choices, so you can find one that matches your home's design. For instance, if you have a smart doorbell, you can color match it with the color of your door or just the knob.

And for in-ceiling speakers, you can match the trim to the color of your ceilings and make it seem like they aren't there at all!

Wires? What Wires?

A home full of technological wonders that make your home life easier means wires — and lots of them. Almost everything requires a power source, but there's no denying how all those wires clutter up your design scheme. But with a few tricks, you can make those wires disappear like a techno-savvy magician!

  • Go Wireless: Do away with wires all together with wireless security cameras, speakers, etc., and control your system with a wireless hub. You can even control most connected devices with just your voice!
  • Undercover: Try hiding your wires behind your crown molding so they don't ruin your aesthetic. You can even get hollow baseboards that manufacturers design with cabling in mind.
  • Camouflage: Hide your wires in plain sight by matching the color of your cords to the color of your baseboard!
  • Out of Sight: Make your setup a permanent solution and hide the wires in the drywall (we can help with that). 

Everything is Better Custom

Customizing your smart technology lets you put your home design entirely in your hands. With a bespoke design, you can eliminate the need to place every speaker or display on a shelf. Instead, you can install them in the walls or ceilings. And if you keep color coordination in mind, you can hide every piece of tech in plain sight!

The other benefit of a custom fit is that you can drill down on the minutia of your home design. Like if you have a traditional-looking door, you can customize your smart lock to look like a traditional deadbolt.

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