Outdoor Speaker and Entertainment Systems
Summer means a lot of things. For some, it means summer vacation. For others, it means summer hours at the office. It also means summer projects. A great summer project that combines friends, family, and fun is installing an outdoor speaker system. We all know that summer music provides some great memories, so add to the stories and add a great audio adventure to your yard. Listening to music outside is one of the best ways to really embrace the #RelaxPlaySwim attitude. The classic summer BBQ is turned up a notch with a great sound system to play music as everyone enjoys the summer sun.
One of the great things about this summer project is that once the sound system is installed, then it will last for years. This is a project that takes some time to do right but is worth the investment as it provides years of enjoyment for future springs and summers. The sound system should provide a high-quality audio experience, but also fit into your existing landscape.
Step 1: Preparation
To provide a great surround sound experience, the first thing to do is take a look at your backyard. All of the decisions on the type of speakers relate to how much of the yard should hear the music.
There are some starter landscape questions to ask, such as:
- Where do people congregate during parties?
- Is there a deck or patio?
- Do you have a pool?
- Are there any areas to avoid?
These questions will help you think about what type of speakers fit your yard. For example, if you have a small yard, but a nice deck, then that simplifies your decisions. People will likely stay on the deck, which means you can likely use standard outdoor speakers and mount to the deck or house.
Alternatively, if you have a pool, then you’ll want to consider speakers that fit into your pool deck area. There are some great speakers designed to fit into poolside planters or disguised as rocks that really meld into the surroundings.
Also, some yards are seemingly limitless. If you have a yard with room for folks to roam, then you may want to consider some more in-depth options. One key component of a great outdoor sound system is ensuring the music reaches all points in the yard that guests will wander.
Step 2: Look Around
Once you have an idea about how much of your yard to cover with sound, then the next step is scout out some ideas. It is perfectly reasonable to take some inspiration from some luxury homes. You may find a great way to incorporate a speaker by the pool. However, it may make sense to take an extra look at yards and landscape designs that most resemble your home. Keep an eye out for other visuals as well. There are some nice ways to integrate speakers into the outside of your house.
And the best part of this technique…you can do it from your own home!
Step 3: Set Your Budget
Like all home projects, designing an outdoor speaker system involves many different price points. The quality of speakers vary, so setting a budget is a great step to ensure the project remains under control.
It is important to set a realistic budget and keep the speakers at the top of the list. If you find really great mounts and ways to blend the speakers into a poolside plant, but find below average speakers, then guests won’t be able to hear the music.
The planning stage is crucial because you’ll need to know how many speakers to buy so the music reaches the desired parts of your yard. If you have a set budget and know you’ll need 2, 4 or 8 speakers, then that will factor into the quality speaker and additional products.
Step 4: Installation And Finding The Right Tech
After all the planning and testing, the next step is installation. At this point, you know if you’ll need to wire the speakers throughout the yard or have a smaller area to cover.
However, make sure to attach the speakers to a sturdy fixture. A small speaker may fit nicely attached to a gutter, but the gutter will bend over time. The surface where you chose to mount your outdoor loudspeaker needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the bracket and loudspeaker, so stick with drilling into solid wood or masonry. Do not mount outdoor loudspeakers to cedar or aluminum siding. An experienced tech will be able to suggest locations based on your personal needs and wants. In most cases, it is easier to do this during construction, but can be done fairly easily on existing homes.
Another installation tip is the speaker position. For the best results, try affixing the speakers between 6 and 10 feet from the ground. This will cover the most area. Also, point the speaker downward. The speaker direction helps two things. First, the sound will be directed at guests. Second, although outdoor speakers are weather resistant, facing down helps prevent water from pooling at the bottom of the speaker.
For folks that want a little more bass, then place the speaker near a wall to provide some bass reinforcement. Just note, if you attach to the house, then depending on the speaker quality, the bass may shake the walls a bit.
Although this may seem a little daunting, rest assured, most of the products should work out for the box. It may take some time to determine where and how to place the speakers. Today’s rugged, all-weather sound systems are easier than ever to incorporate into your landscape, whether it’s a couple of box-type speakers mounted on the outside of the house or cleverly disguised versions hidden in planters at poolside.
- Do outdoor speakers need power?
- Can outdoor speakers be concealed?
Yes, in many ways. They can be mounted under decks or in many other discrete areas.
- Are outdoor speakers water resistant?
Yes, most are.