This article covers two main points. Firstly, how you can make your outdoor lights smarter. Secondly, I share a few cool ideas that you can implement with outdoor smart lighting.
You can make your outdoor lights smarter by installing a smart switch or a smart plug. You can also replace dumb bulbs with smart ones. And many smart lights are made specifically for outdoor use. You just need to check that the lights are waterproof.
If you want to know more about smart outdoor lighting, you’re in the right place.
We wrote a helpful article about Strip Lights and How To Use Them Outdoors. Feel free to read 9 Important points discussed.
3 Ways To Make Your Outdoor Lights Smarter.
If you are using smart lights in your home, you will inevitably want to extend this system outdoors. You can use smart lights to create beautiful aesthetics in your garden. But they are also a great security feature. And making your outdoor lights smart may be easier than you expect.
You can set up your outdoor lights so they can be used remotely using three main methods.
1. Use a smart switch
If you install a smart switch to control your outdoor lights, you can easily make them smarter. The switch can connect to your phone.
You can then use your phone to control the switch, turning your light on and off remotely. If the switch has a dimming option, you can also dim your lights remotely.
Smart switches are usually not waterproof. But switches are mostly located in areas where water does not reach. It is possible to buy specialized outdoor smart switches which are waterproof.
So you can install a smart switch in a protected area. This is often a cheaper option than replacing all your outdoor lights with waterproof smart versions.
2. Use a smart plug
If you have outdoor lamps that plug into a socket, you can use a smart plug.
The benefits are similar to that of a smart switch. You can control the lights plugged into the smart plug remotely. You don’t need to replace all your lights with waterproof smart versions. This can work out cheaper.
You just have to connect the smart plug to your phone. You will then be able to control your lights remotely.
Of course, this will only work for plug-in lamps. A smart switch is a better choice for lights installed in electrical sockets.
The smart plug also needs to be protected from water. In most cases, the location of the wall socket will protect it.
3. Install smart lights outdoors
Of course, you can also replace your outdoor lights with smart lights. One of the easiest ways to do this is to replace dumb bulbs with smart ones.
But you can also replace entire light fixtures with smart alternatives.
Can I Use Smart Lights Outdoors?
You can use smart lights outdoors if they are waterproof. An IP rating indicates how much water a smart light can tolerate. Light bulbs and strips rated IP65 are waterproof. If the light is not waterproof, it must be enclosed in a waterproof casing. There are some other factors to consider as well:
- Immersing smart lights in the water
If you want to place smart lights into a pool or water feature, you will need an even higher IP rating.
Lights with a rating of IP67 can be immersed in water for short times. The Philips Hue Outdoor Lightstrip is an example of a smart light strip with an IP67 rating.
Lights with a rating of IP68 can be immersed in water for a longer time.
Check out the Govee Outdoor String Lights. Independently control the color of each outdoor LED string light
- The temperature your lights are exposed to
You need to make sure that the smart light is installed so that it doesn’t get too hot. This means keeping it out of direct sunlight. It can help to install the lights underneath surfaces. For example, placing them under garden benches or below the awnings on your patio.
You must also make sure that your light isn’t installed on a surface that gets very hot. For example, you may have used tarmac to make your garden paths. If you place smart light strips along your garden edges onto the tarmac, they can get too hot.
- The strength of your Wi-Fi signal
You can only control your smart lights with your phone if your lights are connected to your phone. To establish and maintain this connection, you usually need Wi-Fi. There are some Bluetooth options as well, but in most cases, you will need Wi-Fi.
The problem is that outdoor lights may be too far away from your router to connect properly. Certain fixures can also decrease your connectivity. For example, if you have a light fixture made of aluminum, you may struggle to connect to the bulb in the fixture.
You can eliminate this problem in two ways:
- You can install a Wi-Fi booster or extender. This will increase the area covered by your Wi-Fi.
- You can make sure that the controllers of the smart lights are close enough to your router. Smart switches or plugs are convenient here. They are usually installed in walls closer to your router than your actual lights.
Remember that many smart lights require a hub to work. So make sure that your lights can connect to the hub if they are placed outdoors.
- The cost of outdoor smart lights
When comparing smart lights from the same brands, outdoor versions are more expensive.
Are Smart Bulbs Waterproof?
Not all smart bulbs are waterproof. Outdoor smart bulbs are manufactured specifically to be waterproof. These can’t be damaged by rain, snow, and other water sources. But even if your smart bulb is not waterproof, you can use it outdoors. Just make sure that the light fixture covering it is waterproof.
Waterproof smart bulbs might also be a better option for certain places in your home. For example, the lights in your bathroom are likely to be exposed to more water. This is because of steam rather than water splashing onto them.
Consider waterproof bulbs for such situations as well. Especially if the bulbs are not covered by a light fixture, these are a good choice.
What Cool Things Can You Do With Smart Lights Outside? 11 Ideas
For all the options below, you have the choice of using white or colored smart lights. This comes down to personal preference.
If you prefer a more traditional outdoor lighting style, white lights will work. But if you want to use different colors in your outdoor lighting, buy color lights.
1. Hang lanterns on your porch and around your garden
Lanterns create a certain aesthetic. You don’t need to replace your lanterns if you already have some. Instead, just replace the light bulb in the lantern with a smart bulb.
You can group all the smart bulbs in your lanterns. This will let you control the light from all your lanterns at the same time.
2. Line your garden paths with light strips
Light strips are great for lining garden paths because they are flexible. You can easily curve them around your paths and along your garden edges.
These smart strips are useful because they allow you to see the garden paths more easily at night.
You can also control them by changing their colors for different occasions.
Several waterproof outdoor light strips are on the market. But note that their control boxes and power sources may not be waterproof, so you may need to cover these.
3. Light up your swimming pool
You can use smart bulbs or smart light strips in your pool. If you want to place the lights above the water, most options will work. For example, you can place light strips along the top edge of your pool.
If you want to immerse the lights in the water for a long time, you’ll need an IP68 rated light. As far as I know, there are no smart light strips with this rating. But you can use a dumb LED light strip with an IP68 rating. If you use a smart switch or plug, you can still control these lights remotely.
4. Highlight your best garden features
To light up water features, outdoor artwork, or special trees in your garden, you can use a smart spotlight.
To highlight larger areas, a smart floodlight may work even better.
5. Decorate your decking and awnings
You can use smart light strips to outline awnings and decking on your porch or other parts of your home.
Smart light strips are mostly inconspicuous if they are off. So if you only want to turn them on at specific times of the year, you don’t need to take them down each time.
If you use color strips, you can easily change the colors for different occasions.
6. Highlight outdoor steps and edges
If you use smart light strips to outline outdoor steps, you can prevent people from tripping in the dark. This is especially useful for visitors who don’t walk through your garden often.
7. Host a garden party
Even if you use white lights in your garden most of the time, having the option of changing the colors may be nice.
If you are hosting an outdoor party, you can sync your lights with the music. The lights will change color and flash with the beat of the music. This is a very easy way to create a completely different atmosphere in your garden.
8. Light up your walls
You can use a floodlight to light up different walls in your garden. And if you have a house with special architectural features, these can be highlighted in the same way.
9. Show your team pride
Smart lights can be controlled much more easily than dumb lights.
If your team is playing a game, you can change all your outdoor lights to your team colors with a few taps.
10. Link your motion sensors to your lights
Smart outdoor lighting also has several potential security advantages.
You can connect motion sensors in your garden to your outdoor lights. If there is any movement outside your home, the lights can turn on. You can use IFTTT to set this up.
Smart lights can also be scheduled. So you can set them to only respond to motion at night. This saves electricity during the day when you are more likely to have motion and lights won’t help much.
11. Link your doorbell to your lights
You can also link your lights with your doorbell. If someone rings the doorbell, the lights will turn on automatically.
This makes it easier for you to see who is at your door in the evening. If you have late-night visitors, this feature allows them not to wait in the dark.
Can A Ring Doorbell Turn On Lights?
You can connect your Ring Doorbell to your lights. When someone rings the doorbell, the lights can turn on. The Ring Doorbell can also be paired with other Ring devices, like motion-sensor cameras. You will need a Ring Bridge for this though. Here’s how to connect your Ring Doorbell to your lights:
Connecting your Ring Doorbell to your smart lights using IFTTT:
- Go to www.ifttt.com. Create an account if you don’t already have one.
- Click on My Recipes in the top menu.
- Click on Create a Recipe.
- Click on the blue this.
- Type “Ring” into the search box.
- Click on the Ring service.
- Select New Motion Detected.
- Choose your Ring Doorbell from the drop-down menu.
- Click on the blue that.
- Type your light brand into the search box.
- Click on your light’s brand.
- In the “Choose an Action” menu, click on Turn on lights.
- Select the light you want to turn on from the drop-down menu.
- Click on Create Action.
- Give the recipe a custom title.
- Click on Create Recipe.
You can also use the Ring app:
Make sure that your lights and doorbell are already set up in your app.
- Open the Ring app.
- Select the camera doorbell you want to link to your lights.
- Tap on Linked Devices in the middle of the screen.
- Tap the device you want to link to the camera doorbell. (For example, front door lights).
- Set the times during which you want these lights to be activated.
- Tap Continue.
- Tap Save in the top right corner.
Home Streamliner’s Take:
I hope that this post has shown you that smart outdoor lighting doesn’t need to be expensive. With a few simple additions or substitutions, you can automate your outside lights.
There are almost endless possibilities with smart lights, especially outdoor light strips. I find it so cool that everyone has the option to set their outdoor lights up according to their taste. Whether you like minimalistic warm white light or bright flashing colors, it’s possible!
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