It's now easier than ever to control your outdoor lights with your smart phone, voice control and with automatic timers and schedules.
This guide will give you an insight into smart outdoor lighting and show how easy it is to get up and running.
Let's first start with why smart outdoor lights are the way forward...
SMART OUTDOOR LIGHTING BENEFITS
This is easily one of the most useful features for outdoor smart lighting.
Our view is that if you've gone through the time, effort and expense of installing decorative garden lighting then you'll want to ensure they are on when it's dark!
Without smart lighting it's easy to forget to switch them on, just take a walk down your street in the dark and you'll see plenty of homes with outdoor lights switched off.
With schedules you can automatically turn your outdoor lights on and off at preset times without having to touch a button.
This is also great for home security as your home will always looked lived in, even when you are away on holiday.
Scenes can be useful in gardens where you have multiple outdoor lights.
Each set of lights in your garden can be considered a "circuit"
So for instance the festoon lights will be one circuit, the bollard lights another, the spike lights in the borders a third.
Traditionally you'd have three separate switches and you'd turn each one on/off independently.
With smart lights you can create a one-touch scene that turns some or all circuits on / off at the same time.
Using compatible lights you can also set scenes at different brightness levels and even with differing colours.
So you can create "BBQ Mode" and "Stargazing Mode" and easily recall them with your smartphone or with voice control.
Smart scenes make life easier, more convenient and can often reduce wall clutter of multiple switches.
A key benefit of smart outdoor lighting is the ability to turn your lights on and off with Amazon Alexa.
Once paired you can simply say "Alexa, turn the garden lights on" and your garden will come to life.
With compatible lights you can also adjust colour and brightness.
You can also recall scenes so you could say "Alexa, set party mode" and your garden will adjust accordingly.
All of our smart lights can be controlled via a smart phone app on your iOS or Android phone.
You can easily monitor and control lights, switching them on or off and adjusting brightness and colour (on compatible lights).
This can be done from anywhere in the world so if you've left the lights on you can easily turn them off from your phone.
Geolocation can be useful for automating lights based on where you are.
If you leave your home you may want the lights to turn themselves off.
As you leave work to come home your driveway and porch lights can automatically turn on ready to greet you when you arrive home.
Geolocation is easy to setup and has benefits for energy saving and also security.
HOW TO GO SMART
The easiest way is by using smart as standard outdoor smart lights such as the Lutec Smart Range.
These lights simply need 230v mains power.
Once powered they can be added to the Bluetooth Mesh hub on your smart app and can then be named, grouped with other lights and easily controlled.
If you're retrofitting a garden then these are a great choice as you don't need to do too much wiring and no need to get cables into your home.
Don't be put off the the hub either, it's cheap to buy and ensures good range and reliability of your lights.
Smart light switches are installed indoors like a standard light switch.
You'll then wire the outdoor lights directly to the switch.
Once connected you'll be able to turn the lights on and off from the wall as per a standard light switch.
Along with this you'll also benefit from all the scenes, timers, schedules and voice controls mentioned above.
Bear in mind with smart light switches you'll need a neutral and a 47mm deep back box, so if you're replacing an existing light switch you may struggle but for new installs it's a piece of cake.
Smart light switches are overall cheaper as they will then control "dumb" outdoor lights which gives you a greater range of lights to choose from and typically at cheaper prices.
There are plenty of outdoor lights that take a GU10 or an E27 bulb which are perfect for adding a smart bulb!
Simply replace your standard bulb for a smart one, connect to your WiFi and you have full smart control!
This is the quickest and often the easiest way to go smart and offers all of the features mentioned above.
A great scenario here is the porch lights or the wall lanterns outside your front door, simply swap the bulb, set a schedule and your lights will turn on and off by itself.
There are two drawbacks with smart bulbs;
- They are WiFi so you need to ensure you have a good WiFi network and be wary of placing the bulbs in a metal light fitting.
- If you turn the light switch off then the smart bulb will be turned off and will no longer work on smart features until the switch is turned back on.
With that in mind there are plenty of times where a smart bulb is a good choice to achieve smart.
Smart relays are much light smart light switches however they wire in line with your lighting circuit.
This means you do not need to get wiring into your home to a light switch position, simply connect the relay, connect to WiFi and you can control your lights.
Bear in mind here that the units are WiFi so you'll need a good WiFi network in order to connect adequately. You'll also not have a wall mounted switch but you will have smart phone app, schedules and voice control.
SMART SOCKETS / PLUGS
You can simply replace an existing outdoor socket outlet for a smart one, connect it to your WiFi network and you're up and running.
Smart socket outlets are ideal for making festoon lights smart.
Smart plugs work in the same way however they plug into an existing socket outlet. These won't work plugged into a standard outdoor socket but there are occasions where these are useful if wiring is run back into garages or similar.
Hopefully you've found our smart outdoor lighting guide useful and have a few ideas for making your garden lighting smart.
Our expert team are on hand to help you choose the right smart outdoor lights or smart switches / plugs / relays for your needs.
Feel free to contact us by email, live chat or telephone.