When looking to improve the outdoor spaces at home, naturally plants and furniture is what first comes to mind. But in recent years, with smart lighting technology becoming more advanced and affordable, creating an ambient setting in your garden has fast become one of the most innovative ways to upgrade your outdoor sanctuary.
At the forefront of this shift has been Philips Hue with their expanding offering of connected LED lighting and lamps. Since their first product lines launched back in 2012, the brand has fast become synonymous with smart lighting in the home, giving you more control than ever. From adjusting the levels of lighting, setting when they can automatically be turned on and off, to the shade of colour they omit, it can all be set with a few taps from the Philips Hue app on your phone.
Philips Hue has revolutionised the way we think of brightening up our personal spaces, whether it’s creating lighting settings for reading, watching a movie, dinnertime with friends and family, or even having the lights slowly turn on in the mornings to help us wake up naturally.
As the Philips Hue line of products has grown, it was inevitable that it would head outside. There are now lighting solutions for all sizes of garden, different terrains, and multiple options to create a glowing environment for a warm summer’s evening.
The Philips Hue Lily XL Outdoor spotlights are the perfect starting point. The product is sturdy and waterproof, with a sleek, simple design that complements any exterior elements of your home and the features you have in your garden. They can be adjusted to shine upwards or down, can be fixed to walls or pegged into the ground with a garden spike, giving you full flexibility on how you’d like them brighten up your environment.
They are incredibly simple to set up too. The first device needs to be connected to an electrical mains within your home, but with specially designed 5-metre-long extension cables you are able to place the spotlights anywhere in your garden. As you add each extra lighting option via T-junction connectors, each lighting device continues the WiFi range by a further 20 metres meaning you can be incredibly ambitious with where you’d like to place each of the lights without fear of it being too far out of range. The cables attach to the T-junction connectors through a simple screw mechanism that ensures they don’t disconnect or get water damaged.
It all goes through the Philips Hue Bridge which is a small white box that plugs directly into your router. As well as plugging it into a power mains, that is quite literally the set up process. Within seconds it will show up within the app and connect all of your Philips Hue smart lighting devices together. They show up quickly and you can add them to your home very easily. Once you have this installed you will have full control over any compatible devices inside and outside your home.
For our set-up we used four spotlights all connected to each other that extended across our fence at the end of the garden. Once they were plugged in, we quickly synced them with the Philips Hue app which, you’ll be glad to hear, was a quick and painless installation process. Once they all appeared within our app, we had full control over the brightness of the lighting, as well as having the option to choose from 16.8 million colours. You can keep it simple with white and yellow glows for a softbox-style lighting set-up, giving you a sophisticated and warm ambience.
However, for different occasions you may want to mix it up. For our Pride party we went for a multi-colour set-up to represent different colours of the rainbow flag. If you’re having an outdoor barbecue for a sporting match, you could turn the lights to your team colours. Or if it’s a themed birthday party then the lighting design can reflect the decoration. The best thing is, if you spend the time ahead of the occasion to set up different lighting cues using the straightforward process in the app, you can toggle between the various lighting options with a tap of your mobile device when you’d like to switch. That goes for simply switching the lights on and off too – as well as having the ability to time them to come on in the evening automatically and turn off at a set time too. If you don’t want to pick up your phone, then use can use the voice command functionality to in the app to control it instead.
This is where the Philips Hue technology becomes really impressive. The lights are incredibly responsive to the touch controls within the app and you see the changes happen almost instantly when you are adjusting them on your screen. You can slide your thumb across the colour chart in the app to find the perfect shade in seconds.
We also added two 5-metre outdoor lightstrips to our set up, using the provided clips to attach them to our fencing and provide a down-lit glow along the panels. The lightstrips are remarkably durable, and can be dangled through any greenery you have in your garden, allowing you to have lighting shine through hedges or trees.
As for the more statement pieces in the Philips Hue smart lighting outdoor range, we have a pair of Calla Large Outdoor Pedestals to flank our doorway. However, in bigger gardens they could be positioned in plant beds, used to frame gateways or placed around water features to add extra style to the design. Again, like the spotlights they have full ability to emit more than 16 million colours and be controlled in sync with your wider smart lighting system.
Each of these outdoor smart lighting lamps are incredibly robust, designed to withstand most weather conditions and will bring various outdoor spaces to life – from smaller inner-city backyards to larger suburban gardens.
As our homes get smarter, there’s no reason why our garden can’t too. For years more and more of us have enjoyed the benefits of how smart lighting can create relaxing and comfortable settings inside, but with this expanded range of outdoor lighting we can create the same effects outside.
If you’ve yet to install smart lighting in your home then this summer, with more of us having to social distance, is the perfect time to invest in making your home and garden more connected.