Do you love a good summer barbecue? How about an evening glass of wine by the fire pit? Or even a warming cup of coffee on a crisp fall evening!
Perhaps you love to meditate beside your waterfall until the sun comes up, get your hands dirty in your favorite flower bed, or lounge on the patio with a good book.
Whether you’re relaxing, entertaining, or enjoying the outdoors in your own way, there are plenty of landscape elements that can enhance your experience – great lighting, comfortable seating, gorgeous gardens, and a welcoming patio to name a few.
But what ties it all together into a beautiful symphony? Music, of course!
It may be tempting to turn up the volume on your living room stereo so it can be heard in the back yard, or you may connect your smart phone to a wireless speaker and plunk it down in the center of the action.
The problem is that neither of those exactly works – for a lot of reasons! We’re about to explore why – and share a better way to enjoy the soundtrack of your own outdoor experience.
Whether you have a portable wireless speaker or you lug those stereo speakers out onto the patio, they aren’t made to withstand heat, cold, rain or even wind.
While you’re not likely to bring the party outside in a downpour, indoor speakers have delicate electronics that can still be easily damaged by humidity or enthusiastic pool play. Any contact with water can be bad news for speakers, and reason to turn them off and dry them out immediately – not a whole lot of fun in the middle of a party!
They can also overheat and be damaged by excess heat, especially if they are exposed to direct sunlight. Cold may not directly affect speakers, but combine it with moisture or humidity and you’ve got a recipe for turning a great set of speakers into an expensive doorstop.
Even in ideal weather conditions, you’re still left moving speakers outdoors, setting them up, and then moving them all over again when it’s time to return indoors.
You can solve all those problems with outdoor speakers, which are designed to stand up to everything from rain to snow, sun and wind, even the occasional whack with a garden shovel!
They’ll even sound good on a windy day, without the distortion that’s likely to happen with indoor speakers.
Not Designed To Work In Open Spaces
Indoors speakers are at their best when there are surfaces for the sound to bounce off of. Room acoustics is important for sound quality, which means not only do you need surfaces, but you need the right kind of surfaces – too many hard surfaces, for example, can muffle sound and make it harder to discern words or pick out instruments.
That’s why entire industries exist around setting up home theaters and surround sound systems. Placement and environment matter. So what happens when you disturb that environment and bring your speakers outside?
Terrible sound, that’s what. Sound energy dissipates very quickly when you’re outside, and there are fewer or no reflective surfaces for sound to bounce back to you when you’re out on the patio or near the pool or pond. You probably find the volume seems much lower, which means you crank it up, which compromises sound quality even further.
Indoor speakers also tend to be bass-forward, which can sound pretty unpleasant outdoors, not to mention even worse the higher the volume.
If you want to actually enjoy the music, without waking the neighborhood, you’ll want to choose outdoor speakers instead. They tend to be more treble-forward, and have more internal reflective surfaces to improve bass.
They also have the capacity for higher volume without distortion. Even more importantly, they can be designed into your landscape so that you’ll have sound surrounding you from multiple directions, which means you can play music at a lower volume and get far better quality.
Can Pose A Safety Concern
If you’ve lugged your stereo speakers outside, you’re going to have to figure out how to wire them up. Chances are, that means you’re going to have cables snaking in and out of doors or windows, across patios or lawns, and stretching from your indoor to outdoor space.
None of this is conducive to an active party or an evening in dim light outdoors. Cables can pose a tripping hazard, and are unsafe around a pool or kitchen area where spills can cause electrical shorts.
Plus, quick speaker setups aren’t meant to be permanent, which means you may have large speakers set precariously on uneven surfaces, or up on folding tables or other temporary platforms. Add a couple of kids to the mix and you could be looking at an injury waiting to happen.
Outdoor speakers are meant to be a permanent, integrated component of your outdoor space. They can be mounted on walls, under overhangs and pergolas, embedded in gardens or flower pots, even hidden within faux stone covers and disguised as tree stumps.
They’re water resistant and can safely be placed around pools, hot tubs, ponds or kitchen areas, and they’re chip resistant, too, so they won’t be bothered by the occasional kicked stone or fallen twig.
Won’t Create Evenly Distributed Sound
Remember how we mentioned that sound doesn’t carry the same way outdoors? That can result in distortion and poorly distributed sound. But it gets worse.
Since you’re likely only using one or two speakers, that means sound will be concentrated around those speakers. If you want to hear the music from across the patio or in another area of the yard, you’ll have to turn it up so that anyone near the speakers probably won’t be able to hear themselves talk, while everyone else will get whatever garbled leftovers traverse the space.
Ideally you want everyone to experience the music equally, without dramatic surges and dips in volume and sound quality as you walk around. The way to do that is with strategic placement of outdoor speakers, so sound can be delivered from numerous locations at moderate volume instead of blasted from a single one.
As an added bonus, you can create multiple listening zones so that you can play one type of music for the rambunctious pool crowd, and another for the conversational patio loungers.
In a pinch, sure, you can pull your indoor stereo outside, but if you truly want to enjoy music and sound, whether you’re relaxing, doing yard work, or having a party, then outdoor speakers will serve you far better.
They’re weather-resistant, durable, sound great, blend seamlessly into your landscaping, and will enhance your outdoor experience day and night, any day of the week, through all four seasons.
If you want to explore how music can set the backdrop for your time outdoors, contact us for a consultation. We’ll evaluate your space, listen to your needs, learn about your lifestyle, and make recommendations for creating the harmony you crave.