Designing the Perfect Outdoor Music System

In this article, Alpine Home Media offers tips on designing the perfect outdoor music system to enhance your outdoor living.

Beautiful music goes great with virtually every outdoor activity. Here are some points to consider when designing your own perfect outdoor music system…

Blend it in.

With so many sizes and shapes, it’s easy to find speakers that fit well within their surroundings.

Among foliage and shrubbery – try rock shaped speakers or unobtrusive bullet shapes that are colored in deep, matching earth tones.

On large decks or patios – consider speakers disguised as planters. They come in many styles and work well to spread the sound around. They also add the opportunity to have some live plants in close to the seating area.

On a small porch – consider speakers mounted up under the eaves of the house or on each side of the sliding door. Both can be painted to match the house.

Placement is key.

Unlike interior rooms, the back yard is often irregular in shape and offers a multitude of listen positions. As people move around its important that the sound become neither too soft nor too loud.

In large spaces – consider several smaller speakers as opposed to two big ones. That will help even the sound out as people move about. For example, around the perimeter of the pool place one small speaker every 25 or 30 feet. That will provide much better experience than two large speakers at opposite ends.

When neighbors live close by place most of the speakers along the property line and face them in towards your property. It will sound great in your yard while minimizing spill over to the neighbors.

In smaller, more intimate settings it is best to use just a few speakers and keep them close to the centers of activity. Individual speakers can often be tuned to have just the right amount of volume relative to the rest of the system. That keeps speakers close to sitting areas from overwhelming the conversation.

Break the space up.

Using multiple speakers allows you to break the property up into different rooms or ‘zones’. Each zone can play its own program and volume independent of the rest of the system. This allows you to tailor the sound to the day’s activities. Typical zones include:

Patio/BBQ – often a smaller but heavily used area, a pair of wall mounted speakers is often sufficient but it’s important that the music can be controlled easily. Many times the BBQ is used in the off seasons and having a keypad for the music (and possibly the lights) right inside the door will allow for easy enjoyment during the quick trip to the barbie.

Pool – as stated above, it is best to use several speakers to provide even sound throughout this large space. Be sure to use sufficient power so that the speaker volume can overcome the sound of the kids splashing and especially the noise of any waterfalls, fountains etc.

Hot Tub – a pair of small speakers hidden in the surrounding foliage is ideal in this small space. A button on the doorway keypad and possibly a local volume knob will make control easy with wet hands.

Fire pit – again, a pair of small hidden speakers is sufficient in this intimate setting. Smartphone control will allow you to easily pick the right song to set the perfect mood.

Cabana – another smaller but heavily used area, a pair of wall mounted speakers is usually sufficient. If a TV is mounted in the cabana the ball game can play over the same speakers as the music.

Party mode – Remember that when having a large group of people over it is easy to turn on all of the above zones to play the same thing for even entertainment throughout the entire space.

Keep it simple.

Ease of operation is important. Modern systems can be completely controlled with a simple, intuitive smart phone app.

Each member of the family can have their own app on their phone for instantaneous control of the song, radio station, volume etc. Radio stations and streaming music services come in from the internet and everyone’s iTunes library can be controlled directly from the app. The app also provides the ability to quickly search your music library by song, artist, album etc.

An added bonus is that the strong outdoor WiFi signal provided by the system will make outdoor web browsing and game playing a snap.

Get started!

Borst Landscaping has the resources and knowledge to equip your outdoor entertainment space with the perfect system to meet your needs. From small to large, simple to deluxe, call today to learn more.

John Vitiello is president of Alpine Home Media Inc. Established in 2005, Alpine is a residential systems integration firm serving Northern New Jersey and the tri-state area. Alpine services and installs home theaters, home automation, lighting control and music systems. John can be reached at 845.398.4582 or johnv@alpinehomemedia.com. For more information, please visit www.AlpineHomeMedia.com.