Technology and landscape are terms that sometimes evoke more of a feeling of conflict than complement when used together. However, the truth is they can be integrated seamlessly. Smartphones and tablets are taking control of our daily lives with apps and features to manipulate just about everything. Home automation from these applications has become commonplace in new construction and renovations, so why not extend that same ease of WIFI use outdoors.
LED landscape lighting, irrigation systems, and outdoor audio can all be controlled with just a simple swipe of the hand. These functions make operation a breeze and are environmentally friendly by optimizing water usage and energy consumption.
LED Landscape Lighting
LED landscape lighting technology has come a long way since its inception. The initial cold, bluish led lamps are now warm and inviting with the added option of an array of vibrant colors. WIFI-driven transformers can group light fixtures throughout separate outdoor spaces and adjust light intensities as chosen through a phone or tablet. Presets can also be programmed into the smart device so lighting will automatically turn on or dim when it detects the device within that space.
The ability to change colors on individual fixtures right from the palm of your hand I find the most versatile in creating the mood. The overall appearance of an outdoor space can be changed multiple times throughout the evening (or season), captivating your audience intriguing them to wonder what’s next.
The constant question of- “When should I water and how much?” has finally been answered. WIFI-enabled irrigation control units are linked to your device and web-based weather forecasting systems. Variables such as sun exposure, plant species, and lawn types are first accounted for throughout individual zones on the property. Watering schedules are then adjusted and set based on forecasted temperature, rainfall, humidity, and wind speeds. These systems even can detect a change in water flow due to a break or obstruction in the piping. An alert is immediately sent to the smart device, and you can schedule a repair promptly to avoid costly water loss. This smart technology leads to water savings and a beautiful, healthy landscape.
Nothing completes the outdoor experience than some good tunes from a well-balanced speaker system. The most recent trend in outdoor audio is incorporating satellite speakers and subwoofers hidden within the landscape to create an immersive experience. WIFI-based units, such as Sonos, provide similar capabilities to their indoor counterparts. The smart device communicates with the WIFI driver and transmits the signal to an amplifier and speakers. Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and many others can easily be streamed right from the comfort of your patio seat and surround you with digital music. Individual speaker levels can also be adjusted to provide sound where needed most and gentle listening for more intimate spaces. Multiple users can play DJ and select their favorite jams from their phones for an entertaining evening.
Most of us are connected to our smart devices 24/7, so why not put them to use for a practical and unique outdoor experience. What better way to coax the whole family away from the TV and Facebook than to get them outside with beautiful lighting and great music?
This year, get them back to the playroom we all had growing up – the great outdoors.