- What are Smart Outdoor Lights?
- How does Smart Outdoor Lighting Work?
- What are the Features of Smart Outdoor Lights?
- Which Smart Outdoor Lights Should I Choose?
- Smart Lighting Integrations
- Final Thoughts
Outdoor lights can often be overlooked, but if you’ve decked out your whole house with smart features and completely neglected the garden, you’re missing huge opportunities to improve the design and innovation of your property.
In this blog we’ll explore everything you need to know about smart outdoor lights and how they can transform your garden or outside space.
What are Smart Outdoor Lights?
Smart outdoor lights are solutions that enable garden or building external lighting to be controlled in a variety of intelligent ways. Lights can be managed using motion sensors, wall panels, handheld devices such as a mobile phone, or even voice commands. Choose from an array of bulbs, light panels, LED strips and more to achieve the perfect illumination of your garden and outdoor space.
Smart outside lights can be installed to any spec you wish. Decide which kinds of lights you would like to add to your outdoor space, then where you want these to be located. A specialist installer can help design a lighting solution which perfectly matches your expectations and compliments your garden’s style.
How does Smart Outdoor Lighting Work?
Entry level smart outdoor lighting uses a WiFi or a proprietary wireless connection back to a central processing hub, which allow them to work skilfully, without the need for human activation. Once installed by an expert technician, lights can use motion detection or schedules based on the time of day, to turn on and off at set times.
For a more robust solution with a greater choice of styles, colours and fittings we would recommend installing the lights you want and then wiring everything back to a control system to apply the intelligence to a standard installation. If you already have external lights we can retrofit a wireless solution to give your existing lights the added smart controls, without needing to change or add new lights or bulbs.
So how are these lights activated? It’s really quite simple. The major benefit for smart outdoor lights is that they remove the need for bulky, heavily wired or unaesthetic outdoor switches. Lights can be activated in a number of intelligent ways, including motion, timing schedules, darkness sensors or even through a wall mounted smart panel. The main benefit being that you can dim and change colours of fittings to set an atmosphere for your garden or the exterior of your building.
Smart lighting solutions also work to reduce the level of energy waste. Without automatic switch-off and emergency all-off buttons for quick exits, human error is removed and thus no bulbs are left on needlessly. When it comes to improving the sustainability of our homes, lights are a quick fix, with a long lasting impact. How many times have you left your porch light on after falling asleep?
Once your lights have been installed, they can be linked to a control system such as Control4 or Lutron. These systems can allow you to change and adjust the outdoor and indoor lights in a number of ways. Alter the hue (colour) or brightness of your bulbs using a remote control or smart device.
- Endless Style & Design Prospects - Using a lighting control system rather than purchasing smart light fittings provides you with an unlimited choice in fittings to suit the style of any home and elevate the design of your property.
- Convenience - Installing smart lighting on the exterior of your home can benefit homeowners by making everyday tasks easier. Set outside lights to a schedule to light up your home entrance when you arrive home, and automatically turn off once you have left for work. A smart solution can ensure your lights are on at the times you need them and off when you don’t.
- Unlimited Colour Options - With smart lighting solutions, you can change the colour, brightness and hue of your lights from a central control panel, or connected devices such as your phone if you are away from home. This is a handy tool for when you’re hosting themed events such as a garden party or barbecue. This is such a simple but effective way of transforming your space for different occasions.
What Smart Outdoor Lights Should I Choose?
There are bulbs and fixtures on the market which are branded as 'smart lights' such as Philips Hue Outdoor Lights, however these can limit your options. A smart lighting control solution has the ability to elevate any spec of lights, including LED lighting, allowing you to control your lights through a smart system. This is because the intelligent control is not in the fitting itself but in a central control panel that everything is wired back to.
A lighting control system can make your existing lights ‘smart’, either in a retrofit application using wireless dimmer modules or ideally while the electrical cabling is being installed. We would recommend DALI compatible light fittings, so you have more options with tuning the colour of the light fittings to suit the time of day, the ambience you want to create and the scene.
The beauty of smart technology is the potential to customise your solution to fit your home and needs. An expert installer will ensure to use the leading tech to allow you to build a smart solution which doesn’t limit your options.
Smart Outdoor Lighting Integrations
- Outdoor Sound - Smart outdoor lighting can be integrated with your garden home cinema to elevate the cinematic experience. Link your smart cinema sound system with your lighting to be reactive to the sounds of the film (find out how to build the perfect outdoor home cinema). In a similar way, outside lighting can be linked to your smart sound system to pulse in time with the music which can really add to the atmosphere during a garden party.
- Home Control Systems - When your lighting is linked to your home control system, you can use one app for all things audio, visual, heating, lighting and security. Since they are integrated into this ecosystem, it will allow you to do things like solely turn on the outside lights to illuminate the landscape when you’re at home to enjoy it. If you set the alarm or push the “goodnight” button then all your outside lights turn off. When the geolocation activates on your phone as being in or near the house your outside lights can turn on to welcome you home.
- Automated Gates - Link smart outdoor lighting to your home security gate to naturally illuminate the paths and driveway when you approach the property. This will save you from fumbling around in the dark when coming home in dark hours.
- Intruder Alarms - Integrate smart outdoor lighting with your home intruder alarm to light up all outdoor areas in the event that your alarm is activated. This will provide a clear picture for any CCTV cameras (if they are not night-vision or infrared) and potentially stop the crime going any further.
Relying on off-the shelf outdoor lighting products will only lead you to disappointment. Technical weaknesses in these solutions will naturally bring problems which cause you frustration and burden you with the task of fixing these. Not to mention the fact that you are limited with the selection and unless you bought them all from the same producer they might not be compatible with each other.
A professional solution allows you to enjoy your new, improved outdoor space, without the added hassle of unexpected servicing.
Smart outside lighting can also reduce the carbon footprint of your home, with a range of energy saving options available this is a small step you can take to have a positive impact. Smart homes are for the future so it’s important to take these things into review when we install new tech.
Smart outside lights are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to smart tech for your outside space. Whilst lighting is an effective asset to complement your garden space, combining this with other smart outdoor solutions will provide the ultimate experience. Check out 5 ways smart garden technology can improve your home to discover more about your options.
No smart home is complete without outside lighting (and we don't mean fairy lights) to compliment the overall look of your property and unite the smart home experience across all areas of your property. If you're after the fully formed smart home experience, check out our Ultimate Smart Home Design Guide.
Whatever your lighting requirements, we can help design and install a solution which meets your needs and creates the perfect atmosphere for the outside of your property. Whether you’re building your dream smart home to include everything from the get-go, or upgrading your existing property, we offer the solution to future proof any home.
At the Chris Lewis Group we’re a Certified Lutron Installer. Our experts are highly experienced in the design and installation of Lutron tech including Lutron lighting solutions. We’ll ensure you’re always getting the most out of your smart lighting system.
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Smart home technology has skyrocketed in recent years. With the rise of off-the-shelf devices like Amazon Alexa and Philips Hue more people than ever are introducing smart features into their homes..