Garden Speakers, TV's and lighting

Whether it is garden speakers, an outdoor TV, garden lighting, or even a full outdoor home cinema, outdoor entertaining is huge in Europe and the US, but here in the UK it has been slow to catch on. Some would blame our unpredictable weather but with many prime homes now spending huge sums on outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas, is now the time for an upgrade to your outdoor technology?

As the hint of Spring raises its head from the deepest depths of winter the prospect of time outside becomes a fixation for the Nation. Add to that, the Government’s roadmap allowing us to meet people outside of our home bubble in an outside space, and we have a perfect storm of pent-up tension. With any garden gathering, the question of background music has to be a consideration. Or perhaps there is a sporting event that has to be watched. Maybe as evening darkness draws in some feature garden lighting might help create the right ambiance.

In just the same way as have your music seamlessly blend from one room to another, having the outside space melt into the inside space creates a unified entertaining experience.

Wifi and Networks for the garden

Of course, the first thing you really need to think about when considering any garden entertainment system is whether you can get a network connection. You will want to be able to control your music playlist, lights or TV from outside, and that will require a network connection, which means – for control at least – wifi. Fortunately, there are outdoor wireless access points that can be installed discreetly around the garden to give full wifi coverage throughout the garden. A wireless access point (WAP) would ideally be hardwired back to your main AV rack so that the quality of your connection is maintained.

Garden Speakers

There are many options when it comes to generating sound in the garden. For many, something like the Sonos Move will do the trick (good wifi is critical for Sonos), or the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Flex if you want something that sounds a bit better. A portable speaker that has Bluetooth connectivity to allow for simple playback of your music. The problem with products such as these is one of scale. They aren’t really designed to fill a garden with sound.

On-wall speakers like the ones shown above by Bowers & Wilkins are designed to not only produce a weighty enough sound to work outside but are also weatherproof. But whilst these are not particularly “ugly” speakers, they can be quite obtrusive attached to a wall, and of course, the biggest issue is that you will need to have the volume up to fill a garden or outdoor entertaining area, meaning that if you are the unfortunate soul stuck talking to Great Aunt Fanny and you are close the wall with the speakers on it then you won’t hear a thing over the lyrical mastery of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

A far more social solution is to have discreet satellite speakers dotted around the garden, in planters and among shrubbery that can surround you with polite sound when talking is the order of the day, then, as darkness draws on you can ramp the volume up and party through the night. These Sonance Landscape Series speakers are a great addition to any garden.

Outdoor Lighting

In exactly the same way as lighting can dramatically change the appearance and atmosphere in a room, so it does in a garden. Rather than simply having some floodlights bolted to the rear of your house, decorative lighting can emphasise features and create shadow to hide those (“ehem”) “less attractive” parts of your garden. Some bright lights around your outdoor kitchen are essential while softer lighting around entertaining areas creates an easy-going ambience.

Then of course, just for day-to-day visibility in the garden, having features illuminated can be just enough light and negate the need for full-on security floodlights. Of course you may want these too.

Watch the game or a movie

Fancy watching the game while sitting in the hot tub, or cooking on the BBQ? An outdoor TV is sure to enhance any pool area, patio, or outdoor kitchen, so you never need to miss the winning goal, classic movie or televised event.

If movies are your thing, why not have an outdoor cinema installed so you and your family can sit under the stars and watch your favourite family classics. Outdoor cinema screenings were huge in the summer of 2019, and those that were permitted to go ahead in 2020 enjoyed bumper audiences. A firepit, beanbags and cushions scattered on a groundsheet, with some blankets to snuggle under can create an amazing environment for watching a film.

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