Music In The Landscape
Years ago we always made sure there was an outdoor electrical outlet near patios and pools so folks could plug in a music player of sorts.
As much as we all like peace and quiet when we’re relaxing, sooner or later we’d like some music outdoors, especially if we’re entertaining.
I remember first using outdoor speakers that mounted on the home, usually right underneath an eave or soffit. Today we still use these, but now there are speakers that are installed right out into the gardens.
With the popularity of outdoor audio, companies that specialize in home entertainment systems now offer to include “the outdoors” into their designed systems.
Things To Consider For Outdoor Speakers
Know where all the components are going. This goes back to the basic principle behind a comprehensive landscape plan. If from the very beginning you are aware of every feature, you can then strategically integrate those features during the project. It’s the same with building the home. It’s so much easier to wire and install components as the house (or addition) is being built.
Get some professional advice or do your research. In most cases there is an audio person involved on our projects and typically this technician is handling the entertainment features inside the home too. I’ll meet with this person and the homeowner to hash out the design and details of the outdoor speakers and audio system.
For the do-it-yourselfer, no doubt there’s a ton of information out there to research if you you’d like to come up with an audio system design of your own. I would also think the audio component stores would give advice.
Outdoor Speaker Installation
Stake or mark-out the outdoor speaker locations. It’s always helpful to have visual markers set to show where proposed features are going.
In this project (first picture) we worked with an audio company to bring the sound capabilities of the existing home system to the outside.
The company explained that the outdoor speakers should be located strategically throughout the area so that you can maintain an even volume. This made perfect sense. With too few speakers in one area you would have to crank the volume for sound further away. Not good!
The audio company first suggested outdoor speakers mounted under the eave of the house. But to balance the sound out into the yard they installed “rock-speakers” in the landscape. Rock-speakers are offered in a few different styles and colors, and I assure you they sound better than they look:)
A Landscape Contractor and Outdoor Speaker Installation
Installing the outdoor wiring for the audio should be the responsibility of the landscape contractor. Why? Because each feature within the project integrates and relates to one another. The landscape contractor is the one best qualified in determining where best to dig, when to dig and what other utilities or features must still be installed.
Working together with the audio company the landscape contractor will know exactly what is needed for the audio system, including the outdoor speaker locations, how they are to be zoned and where all the wire runs should terminate for the eventual hook-up.
With this information and guidance from the audio company the landscape contractor can trench and install the necessary components and wires.
All the exterior audio wire I have worked with has been “direct burial,” which means it can go directly in the ground and come in contact with the soil. However, we always try to use conduit as an added layer of protection.
Additional speaker wire is left by each speaker so that it can be moved and adjusted.
The audio companies like the fact that they are technically involved, but not responsible for the trenching and site work.
Once the trenching, wire and conduit work is complete the audio company returns and performs the final hook-ups and technical work. This collaborative approach produces the best final outcome. Each contractor is contributing their core competencies so there are no shortcomings in the process. It is collaboration strategy like this that produces great overall results in your landscape project.