Electrics and the elements don't generally mix, so there are some major technical hurdles to clear when it comes to bringing the inside outside for your outdoor living room.
Whether you're looking to install an outdoor TV or some outdoor speakers to go with it, your approach and equipment will need to be carefully tailored to the unpredictable open-air environment.
Short on sofa space inside? You can use your garden to watch TV or films at any time of the day or night with the right equipment. There are specialist outdoor TV screens built to handle some of the unique viewing conditions in your garden, from rain to sun glare.
Complete the cinematic experience with some outdoor speakers. Speaker designs can be as slick and modern as you’d want them to be indoors, or you can disguise them completely with models that look like rocks.
Outdoors is usually a no-go zone for your home’s WiFi, but that doesn’t have to be the case if you have a WiFi extender or a WiFi Point-to-Point. This signal-boosting technology bounces the WiFi signal from your house to your garden area, and can be particularly useful for outbuildings like garden offices that are relatively close your house. For a stronger and more reliable signal, or buildings further away, you can also use an ethernet cable.
Once you’ve installed one of these systems, you'll be able to get online for browsing, streaming shows to your outdoor TV, or listening to music on your outdoor speakers – turning your garden or outdoor building into a real extension of the house. Even if you don’t have an outbuilding in need of a WiFi connection, you can simply use your signal booster to sunbathe on the lawn while watching your favourite shows or catching up on your emails.
While solar-powered lights can save energy, you'll need a power supply for your outdoor living room, so you'll have to find a way to connect to your mains power supply. This will then mean you can install finishing touches like smart lighting with its own app, which can change the colour of your garden lighting at the touch of a button.
You can choose between installing an underground cable or an overhead cable (for buildings within just a few feet of your house). You will also need a residual current device, which will shut off the power in the event of an accident and is an essential safety feature.
Always get an expert to do the work for you, and make sure you check with your local authority before you have any work done, to ensure that it complies with local building regulations.
Putting your garden to work as an extension of your indoor space is easy when you factor in some of this specialist outdoor tech, and making the most of your garden in this way can improve your lifestyle – as well as adding value to your home.