Smart Home: 14 Backyard and Patio Ideas & Tips

Hand holding drink outside.Hand holding drink outside.

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Smart technology is no longer just for indoor use — there are tons of smart home devices you can use to bring home automation outside!

Here are 14 ways you can smarten up your backyard or patio.

Automate Yard Work

Every homeowner prides themself on a neatly-trimmed, lush, green lawn. But, not every homeowner actually enjoys performing lawn care.

Lucky for you, there are ways to automate yard work and keep your lawn or garden looking its absolute best.

1. Smart Irrigation Systems

According to the EPA, as much as 50% of outdoor water use is inefficient. Using a smart device to control your irrigation system is not only eco-friendly — it can also save you money. 

Automated irrigation systems have been around for decades. They can turn your sprinklers on and off at specific intervals, but what if it’s been unusually hot and sunny all month? Or it’s been raining for the last three days? 

 Rachio 3

That’s where smart irrigation takes things to the next level. The Rachio 3, a smart sprinkler control system, monitors the weather for you and automatically skips unnecessary watering.

You can choose between a four, eight, or sixteen-zone system, ensuring each area gets the water it needs and stays dry when it should. The app will even give you detailed information on how much water you’re saving in different zones!

Eve Aqua

2. Robot Lawn Mowers

Why mow the lawn yourself when you could have a robot do it? Robot lawn mowers work similarly to Roomba vacuum cleaners. They take care of 90% of the job — all that’s left for you is to clean up the edges.

We recommend the Husqvarna Automatic Lawn Mower. It offers cordless smart mowing and can be controlled through your smartphone, Alexa, or Google Home.

3. Bring Smart Lighting Outdoors

Smart lighting makes a huge difference in an interior space, and it can make a similar impact on the outdoors. 

Exterior Home Lighting

 Hue Lucca

Smart outdoor lighting can take many forms. You can replace your regular light bulbs with Philips Hue smart bulbs, or you can use smart lighting fixtures like the Hue Lucca

Philips Hue is one of the top names in smart lighting, for both indoor and outdoor use. The Hue Bridge connects all your lights together, allowing you to control them through:

  • The Hue app
  • Alexa
  • Google Home

Landscape Lighting

Backyard landscaping disappears in the dark of night. But, smart outdoor lights can make your backyard come alive with unique beauty and drama.  

Philips Hue’s Lily Outdoor spotlights offer a great way to light up your backyard garden or any other outdoor focal point you want to pop at night. 

Want to add some smart ambiance to the walkway leading up to your home? Pathway lights like Philips Hue’s Calla lights will enhance the look and safety. 

Smart Light Strips

Smart light strips and string lights can be placed almost anywhere. Place them along the roof line during the holidays, or attach them to your fence for year-round illumination. 

Some of our favorite smart light strips include:

Hue Lightstrip Outdoor

Automate Your Backyard Barbecue

One of the great joys of summer is entertaining family and friends with a backyard barbecue. Smart home devices help the host spend less time on the details and more time enjoying their company.

4. Smart Grills

Tired of missing out on the party because you’re too busy manning the grill? Get a Traeger Grill that’s compatible with WiFIRE. 

Traeger’s WiFIRE feature lets you connect your phone to your smart grill through the Traeger app, allowing you to remotely monitor the temperature of your grill and the temperature inside your food.

WiFIRE is available on:

5. Smart Fire Pits

Not only do fire pits provide nighttime glow and ambiance, but they also deliver great warmth on those colder summer nights. Fire pits keep the party going long after the sun goes down. 

But, one huge downside of an outdoor bonfire is the smoke — And the BioLite Smokeless Fire Pit is the smart solution. It runs for up to 30 hours on a single charge and allows you to control the flames through a smartphone app. 

Even though this portable fire pit can burn wood logs or charcoal briquettes, the airflow system and four-speed fan keep smoke from getting out of control

Don’t want to mess with buying wood? Impress your guests by building a smart fire pit you can control from your phone. 

If you have some basic electrical knowledge, you can build one like this with:

6. Smart Coolers 

Stop fishing through freezing water to grab a drink at your backyard barbecue! Iceless smart coolers ensure your drinks stay cold no matter what. 

The Dometic CFX3 75DZ is our favorite. It has two compartments with differing temperatures, a simple interface, and even a USB charger. 

7. Smart Speakers

It’s not a party without some good tunes playing! If managing your playlist on the fly is an absolute must, bring your portable Bluetooth speaker outside. 

My favorite is the Bose SoundLink Revolve+. It features:

  • Water resistance
  • 360° sound
  • Up to 17 hours of battery life

You can even connect it to Alexa and change the song with a single voice command.

Bring the Indoors Outside with Smart Tech

8. Nebula Projector

Don’t just get an outdoor smart TV — project your favorite movie onto the side of your house or garage!

Projectors like the Nebula Capsule offer an exciting entertainment option. It’s completely portable, and you can download your favorite streaming services from the Nebula app. 

Want to play a video directly from your phone? The Nebula Capsule also supports AirPlay and screen mirroring

9. Smart Coffee Tables

Every patio needs a coffee table. But while you’re in the market for outdoor smart technology, it might be better to go with a smart coffee table. 

Depending on which you go with, your smart coffee table might do things like:

  • Charge your phone
  • Light up the space
  • Play music

This smart coffee table even includes refrigerated drawers

Generally, it’s best to use these coffee tables in a protected outdoor space, like a covered patio.

10. Automated Awnings

Speaking of covered outdoor spaces, automated awnings are a great option for big and small backyards alike. 

No one likes having to pull down and wind up their awning over and over again. Automated awnings take all the hard work out of the equation. 

This automated awning can cover an 8’x7’ patio. You can cover and uncover your patio with a touch of a button through the included remote control.

Automate Your Pool Maintenance

A backyard pool means tons of summertime fun. But as much as everyone else loves your pool, you know how much goes into maintaining it!

Instead of hiring a pool service to maintain your pool all summer long, invest in some smart pool equipment

11. Smart Pool Monitor

How often are you testing the pH of your pool? Maybe once per week? A smart pool monitor means no more test strips — you will always know your pool’s exact water quality.

The iopool Smart Water Monitor connects to your smartphone, then tells you exactly how much chlorine to add

Going on vacation? You can share access to the app with your neighbor so you don’t come back to a murky, green mess.

12. Smart Pool Vacuum

If you love using the Roomba to vacuum your home, you’ll love having a robotic vacuum cleaner for the pool! 

The Polaris Sport Robotic Vacuum Cleaner can clean your pool’s floor, walls, and waterline. You can schedule regular cleanings in the app or tell Alexa to start a cleaning session when you notice the pool looking dirty.

Need to take the vacuum out of the pool? Just use the app’s “Lift” option and watch your vacuum climb up the pool wall for easy retrieval. 

Secure the Outdoors

Want to make sure your packages are delivered safely? Forget to turn the outdoor lights on before you left in the morning?

Smart security devices make the outdoors safer for everyone.

13. Smart Security Cameras

Smart security cameras and video doorbells are one of the best ways to keep your smart home safe. 

The Ring Video Doorbell is one of my favorite devices, and the Ring Spotlight Cam is great for adding some extra light around your property. 

Ring devices connect to Alexa, so you can pull up your Live View or recordings on a smart TV or Echo device any time you want to.

14. Outdoor Motion Sensors

How many times have you had to use your iPhone’s flashlight to make your way to the front door at night? With an outdoor motion sensor connected to your smart bulbs, stumbling through the darkness is a thing of the past.

The Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor is my favorite. All you need is the Hue Bridge and some Philips Hue smart bulbs. Connect everything in the Hue app, and your outdoor lights will turn on whenever the sensor detects motion.

Related Questions

How Can I Get Wi-Fi in My Backyard?

If your router doesn’t reach your backyard, you can try:

  • Changing the location of your router
  • Using a Wi-Fi extender
  • Adding an access point to your mesh system 

If neither is an option, try to use 2.4 GHz instead of 5 GHz Wi-Fi. 2.4 GHz tends to have a wider signal.

Can I Use Smart Light Bulbs in My Exterior Fixtures?

As long as the smart bulb is rated for outdoor use, you can use it in an exterior fixture.

Will I Need a Smart Hub for My Backyard Devices?

Whether or not a hub is required will depend on the specific smart home device you’re using. Always review the device information before purchasing anything.  

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