Preparing Your Outdoor Entertainment Space
I simply love the Lowcountry and the weather it brings in this time of the year. Spring is already here and Summer is right around the corner. With that in mind, I know many of you love hosting family and friendly get-togethers outdoors and in the comfort of your own home. Our backyard space is a perfect entertainment space we like to utilize for those breezy summer evenings spent in the backyard hosting lively barbeques and bonfires. Here is your chance to become the ultimate party host! Here are a few ways you can prepare your outdoor entertainment area.
Alexa, play “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. Outdoor speakers are a great way to jazz up your backyard space. With outdoor speakers, you can easily connect and play your favorite jams in the palm of your hand. You can set the mood an atmosphere by playing classic songs for a relaxing evening watching the sunset or spice it up with some pop for those pool days spent soaking up the sun with friends. You have plenty of outdoor speaker styles to choose from. Landscape speakers are small and sit among your shrubbery almost completely hidden from plain sight. If you’re going for a completely camouflaged effect, there are a variety of speakers designed in the shape of rocks and flower pots. If you have an outdoor patio or deck area, in-ceiling and in-wall speakers are a perfect way to include a quality audio system hidden from sight. That way, you can have the benefit of outdoor audio without the chunky equipment getting in the way of your style components.
While there are some great Bluetooth speakers on the market, the range is relatively small, so at most you’ll get up to 30 feet. Go for two-way speakers for a better listening experience and look for 6-8” subwoofer for the best overall bass performance. Installing an audio system outdoors can save you from carrying around or moving to your speaker just to change the song. For a more stealth installation, be sure to run outdoor speaker cable through Hi-fi or multiroom audio system in the house for traditional outdoor speakers.
If you decide on choosing wired speakers, you’ll need either long speaker wires or an amp or receiver to power them. Most home theater receivers allow you to connect to your home network and control your system with a smartphone or tablet device. No more having run inside your house to change the volume. If you want to go wireless, you can opt for a wireless music player with a built-in amp like the Sonos Connect Amp. These are great for multi-room audio systems in the house. If you have an amp you want to use for your outdoor speakers, make sure that your ohms ratings match up. The ohms is the measure for impedance, which has to do with electrical resistance. When buying outdoor speakers, make sure that the ohms numbers are exactly the same. This is a fairly simple task and the information should be located on the manual of the device. This is extremely important because if you go up too high, it can weaken volume levels and overall sound performance and if you go too low, it can do some serious damage to your equipment like blowing out your speaker.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the bass. If you’re a bass-head, this might be an important detail to take note of. The location and size of your outdoor living area sets you up for the type of speakers to buy. If you have a large backyard, choose speakers with a good low-frequency response. These are generally larger speakers that carry 6.5-8” cones and higher wattage. I’m talking in the 150-175W range; which are great for areas that are 600-800 sq. feet. For smaller spaces, 60W is great for spaces that are less than 300 sq. feet and 80-100W is substantial for coverage of areas 300-500 sq. ft.
It’s Movie Time!
If you love the outdoors like me, you’ll want to bring as much entertainment and activities as you can into your own backyard. We love putting the game on and creating our own little tailgate in the comfort of our own home, especially during football season. For a more relaxed evening, I like to gather around my friends and family and put on a movie. When it comes to outdoor video equipment, we’ve installed a number of outdoor TVs in our clients’ homes and they absolutely rave about them. I’ve noticed this detail to be an essential entertainment area of the home that our clients want to capitalize on. I am blown away by the accessibility and functionality of some of the outdoor spaces we have designed and finished.
Now before installing a TV in your outdoor space, you want to make sure that it is built to last outdoors, meaning it’s weatherproof and waterproof. Many people make the mistake of using an indoor tv and placing it outdoors. Indoor TVs simply cannot withstand the harsh weather conditions the Lowcountry brings in. From thunderstorms to intense high heat in the summer, you’ll need something a bit more sustainable. This is why we have partnered with Sunbrite, the number one company that specializes in outdoor TV solutions. These TVs last for years to come, due to the fact that they are built with weatherproof and waterproof technology, unlike your standard TV.
Let’s not forget one of my favorite ways to enjoy movies: projectors. For this, you’ll need an outdoor projector screen with a separate projector. These are fantastic for large gatherings and giving off that movie-theater vibe outdoors. Soon enough, you’ll have the whole neighborhood anticipating an invite to your one of a kind movie nights. For a vivid movie-like experience, I highly recommend an HD or 4K model for higher picture quality. What about the video source? Some options are using a streaming device like Roku or Apple TV, a portable Blu-ray player, laptop with HDMI input, or some lengthy cables that can connect to your indoor entertainment system.
By: Wendy Wang