Electronic Enhancements for Outdoor Spaces
Audio, video, lighting and more can enhance your home’s exterior almost as much as its interior.
A swimming pool for your backyard is always fun, but being able to listen to music and have the lights glow while you’re swimming makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
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June 17, 2008 by EH Staff

A professional installer can add an outdoor display into a video distribution solution, so you can flip through choices from the cable or satellite TV receivers and DVRs stored inside the house, as well as pull content from your media server or DVD player. If your outdoor living room or patio has ample protection and space for its own equipment cabinet, video components can also be stored locally, making it convenient for when your buddy stops at Blockbuster on his way to the house for poker night.

Greater Control
An outdoor installation might be fun for the audio and video aspects, but it’s an absolute playground for fans of whole-home control. If there’s something in your outdoor space that can be electronically controlled, it has the potential to be tied into your robust home automation system. A popular choice in this realm is lighting. Decorative landscape lighting, pathway and driveway lighting, cabana lighting and more can be configured and commanded through entryway keypads and wireless touchpanels. You won’t just be controlling the amount of light flooding your yard, either, but coordinating it with events. An installer can program certain lights to turn on and off at certain times, whether it’s daily or in conjunction with an astronomical clock. Tied into your security system, exterior lighting can be triggered by motion sensors to greet you as you arrive home from work or to deter potential burglars.

With programmable scenes on your control touchpanel, lighting can work in concert with audio for an evening party. Pressing a welcome scene button might play some classical or jazz music and light a pathway for guests to travel from the front door to the hors d’oeuvres and cocktails table by the pool. An entertain button might raise the volume of the music, select a rock n’ roll playlist, dim the pathway lights, and activate some color-changing LED lights as the party gets going.

The outdoor party doesn’t stop there, though. Your swimming pool and spa equipment might be automated, from cleaning filters, heating hot tubs, turning on underwater lights, and pulling back or putting on covers. Irrigation can be monitored and controlled, whether it’s an automatic sprinkler system or decorative water fountain. In the winter months, your driveway heating system might be conveniently triggered through your automation setup. Whatever the season or occasion, electronic enhancements can make your outdoor space a prime destination.

For more ideas, check out our Best Outdoor Spaces - Home of the Year Winners:
Big Grill, Bigger Screen Make For Backyard Bliss
Backyard Paradise Wired For Fun
Giant Screen Transforms Cabana Into Theater

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