Amping Up the Outdoor Living Space
I recently hosted a backyard gathering and wished so much that I had outdoor speakers to add music to the scene. From my humble space to those incredible backyard oasis’ we see on TV, what kind of outdoor technology is available to add that little extra something to escape right outside our sliding glass doors?
There are so many options for lighting. I’m having trouble figuring out what to talk about first. To begin with simple options you can add light to your backyard with candles and torches. These offer lovely lighting that is fluid and beautiful but that is only a temporary feature.
I recently spent a 110+ degree weekend at my cousin’s house on the outskirts of Las Vegas. She’s got a pool and has done a beautiful job decorating her yard and patio with solar lighting. She’s got some beautiful glass solar lights that are cool shapes. There is a hummingbird, a butterfly and other pretty critters spread out around her yard. During the day they are attractive glass features that reflect the light from the sun. During the night they are attractive lights running on power from the sun.
Another fun way to light up the backyard is to hang strings of lights. We’ve had variants of these in our backyard for years. The large, globe bulbs are my favorite, but they don’t fare too well here during our hail storms.
If you have a dream budget, you can do lighting that is set into walkways or recessed into features and to highlight landscaping. This I will do someday.
Outdoor speakers make a backyard complete if you ask me. I listen to my music all the time throughout my house and then turn it up really loud when I’m outside. The husband was just mentioning how he can thread wire throughout the house and out to the backyard so I can have my music everywhere without blasting it.
Another thing that is being considered and wired up more and more these days is full on surround sound and theatre systems in the backyard. I’ve even seen speakers that look like rocks. That would be totally cool, but difficult to get my kids to leave the rock speakers alone.
Another popular outdoor feature are TV screens. Our habit has been to talk a neighbor to get his projector from work, hang up a sheet, wire up a couple computer speakers and have our own backyard drive-in movie. I think it would be awesome to have one of the newer inflatable screens and a drop down projector wired into the home theatre system. It’s a good thing dreaming is free, because I like to dream big.
Depending on how your house sits, the sun can be pretty brutal at certain times of the day. Motorized shading is the perfect option for putting shade where we want it. With the simple click of a remote you can have the shade cover your whole space or only the amount you need to keep the sun out.
One of our favorite outdoor features is a backyard fire pit. Mine is totally ghetto, but I’ve seen some really great options out there that I’d like to upgrade to. From a simple chiminea to an in-ground pit with flag stone patio surrounding it, I’ve got big plans. Ideally I’d have a gas in-ground fire pit on my stone patio that also houses a wood-fired oven for making pizza.
Then the coolest thing would be to use my smartphone as a universal remote to control each and every one of these awesome features.
How would you amp up your outdoor living space?