Any real estate agent will tell you that a well-designed outdoor entertaining area is a top selling point for a house. They’re not wrong: we Kiwis love our indoor-outdoor flow, and outdoor living spaces are our favourite places for entertaining, relaxing and enjoying quality entertainment with friends and family.
So, as winter starts to draw to a close, it’s time to think about stepping outside into the sunshine again and enjoying our backyards, decks and pool areas to the full.
Investing in your outdoor entertaining area is therefore a smart move. But what to do to get that wow factor?
You could get some cheap Bluetooth speakers. The market is flooded with them and they’re convenient, but they’re a huge let down in the sound quality department, especially if you have invested in a good quality system inside.
A much better idea is to look toward home automation. It used to be out of reach for the average homeowner, but in recent years it has become more affordable – and highly desirable.
When you’re planning your build or renovation, allow for an audio system with the capability to transmit to multiple zones – and, most importantly, outdoors.
The overall quality of your system will depend on the spec of equipment used with it. Entry level automation systems start with plug-and-play devices that have their own in-built applications, such as Integra home theatre amplifiers, Axium multi-room systems and Philips Hue Lighting. Mid to high-end systems are custom-designed, such as the Axium Control system that uses various connecting componentry.
We recommend that you get quality speakers designed for outdoor use. There are three main types: box (surface mounted), recessed (eave or soffit mounted) and simulated rock (which sit in the garden). There are many amplifiers that can be controlled via a mobile device app over Wi-Fi, which is a great solution and provides easy control.
Whatever your plan, NZTG recommends you first talk to a specialist installer to ensure you end up with the right system for you. This is key to ensuring your expectations are met and the best products are supplied and installed correctly. And, if you can’t stretch to all the equipment straight away, at least allow for the correct cables to be run to your outdoor area: many people overlook this and regret it big-time down the track. Remember there’s no substitute for experience and product quality.
Outside audio isn’t the only thing to consider: automation can control outdoor TVs and lighting too. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to home automation in general – think alarms, heat pumps, home theatre, multi-room audio, CCTV, blinds and fireplaces – and all can be controlled via mobile device apps.
So, when you’re building or renovating, plan for the new technology that’s available and put the required wiring in place at least. Innovative home technology is here to stay!
For a list of nationwide automation specialists visit the NZ Trade Group’s find a tradesperson tool.