The range of smart lighting for balconies, gardens and terraces is constantly expanding. We present powerful options and explain what you need for them.
Setting the scene for the home with networked lighting is becoming popular with more and more people. According to Bitkom, 41 percent of people in this country will be smart home users by 2021. 29 percent use the smart technology for lighting, an increase of 6 percentage points compared to the previous year.
Smart light has long since ceased to be limited to the interior. If you also want to conjure up impressive lighting moods outside, you will find a growing selection. More and more manufacturers have wall, path and pedestal lights as well as LED strips, luminous spheres and adapter plugs with weather protection in their range. They are sealed against coarse dirt and water at least according to protection class IP44, better still according to IP65 or IP67. We have already described in detail how this smart outdoor lighting can be retrofitted in our Smart Outdoor Lighting guide: Retrofitting is so easy. Now let's cut a path through the current product range.
Radio and electricity must reach outside
The Hue Bridge from market leader Philips Hue has de facto established itself as the universal control center for Zigbee lamps. There are also corresponding Zigbee gateways from other manufacturers such as Innr. But if you already use a Philips Hue Bridge, you don't need it in many cases. Finally, large parts of the lighting from Innr, Ikea (Tradfri), Ledvance (Osram), Lidl Livarno Lux, Paulmann and Tint are compatible with the Philips solution and can be connected to it.
If you use WiFi lamps instead, you don't need any other radio control center apart from the WiFi router. Instead, the radio network may have to be expanded with separate repeater boxes. We clarify what is important in our WiFi in the garden guide: WiFi amplifier, outdoor access point or mesh.
But what still cannot be transmitted by radio is electricity. A 230 volt connection must therefore be available for wall, path and other outdoor lights. There are hardly any battery-operated lights that can be used temporarily independently of the mains power supply. The Eve Flare model designed in this way is the absolute exception.
Of course there are also solar-powered garden lights, but they are often not of high quality, not smart and do not even last through the night. If you want to illuminate your outdoor area properly, you cannot avoid a permanently installed power supply.
Operate and plan smart outdoor lighting
The lighting can be switched on via an app, via Alexa, Google or Siri voice commands or via smart home software. It is also possible to use classic radio-based wall switches, mobile mini-switches or radio remote controls. Battery-operated wireless motion detectors are also practical, which can be attached to the masonry or simply placed anywhere so that the light can be controlled via smart routines. If you already have garden lighting, you can also make it smart with the appropriate outdoor radio-controlled sockets – or use correspondingly smart "light bulbs".
If you prefer to operate your smart devices with a switch, you can easily retrofit them. Simple on and off switches, switches with a dimming function or color selection and multiple switches are available. Conventional light switches can be completely replaced with flush-mounted modules. However, they are not as easy to install as battery-operated wireless pushbuttons. You either stick these to the wall with double-sided pads like a normal light switch or place them on the table or sofa. If you would like to find out more about smart light switches, you will find valuable information in our guide to retrofitting WiFi switches and dimmers: How lighting becomes smart.
Smart outdoor wall lights
When it comes to wall lights, Philips Hue, Ledvance and Paul Neuhaus are the major brands that are active. First to Philips Hue (price comparison). If warm white light with a color temperature of 2700 Kelvin is sufficient, interested parties should consider the Hue models Fuzo (65 euros), Lucca (60 euros), Tuar (55 euros), Turaco (65 euros) or Welcome (110 euros). The Lucca, Tuar and Turaco models come with a replaceable E27 bulb in the box. The others have built-in light-emitting diodes. The outdoor wall lights Appear (EUR 110), Attract (EUR 130), Daylo (EUR 100), Econic (EUR 100), Discover (EUR 125), Impress (EUR 125), Nyro (100 euros) and Resonate (113 euros).
When it comes to wall lights, Osram Ledvance Smart+ (price comparison) also has a wide range and has, for example, floodlights with RGBW LEDs called Smart WiFi Flood in its range. For the variants with an output of 10 and 30 watts, the manufacturer charges between 20 and 30 euros. The models Smart WiFi Cube Wall (40 euros) and Smart WiFi Cube Wall Updown (48 euros) are more decorative. They all emit either white or colored light and can be controlled via WLAN in the home network. Zigbee alternatives are the wall light models Smart+ Flare Multicolor Wall (42 euros) and Smart+ Outdoor Lantern Multicolor Wall (140 euros).
The splash-proof outdoor wall lights by Paul Neuhaus (price comparison) transmit with Zigbee and all offer the choice between white and colored light. The high-quality designed models cost between 130 and 220 euros and are called Q-Amin, Q-Albert, Q-Darwin, Q-Erik, Q-Lino and Q-Sascha. Q-Erik and Q-Lenny can also be mounted on the ceiling instead of on the wall.
Smart garden lighting
Smart garden lighting
Spotlights that illuminate bushes and trees in color and lighting effects for the lawn: the options for shapes and colors are almost endless, but the cost of finished products is high. We have put together a few exciting lights from different manufacturers. Let's start, for example, with the Lily from Hue; Colorful mini spotlights with a ground spike that are just as suitable for flower beds as they are for raised beds, flower pots or for illuminating trees and bushes.
Smart path, ceiling and floor lamps as well as garden spots
Further solutions for outdoor lighting (price comparison) are available with path (price comparison), ceiling (price comparison) and floor lamps (price comparison) as well as garden spots (price comparison). Users can use it to illuminate paths, driveways, vehicle parking spaces or other areas of the garden and terrace. Here, too, Philips Hue (price comparison) is particularly broad. The names of the models overlap with those of the wall lamp range. The Lucca, Tuar and Turaco models (all 130 euros) are available as outdoor path lights including the supplied warm white E27 bulb. The trio is also available as a shorter, 30 euro cheaper pedestal light. The path and pedestal lights of the Fuzo type come with permanently integrated white LEDs. The Econic, Impress and Nyro path and pillar lights provide a choice of white or colored light. They cost between 120 and 170 euros.
Ledvance also has a wide range of floor lamps (price comparison) and garden spots (price comparison). The brand offers the RGBW path lights Smart WiFi Cube with a height of 50 centimeters (53 euros) or 80 centimeters (56 euros). If you want to put something in the limelight, you can use the Smart+ WiFi Garden Spot (38 euros) that shines in the RGB spectrum.
In the manufacturer's Zigbee range, the Smart+ Garden Pole, which is available in a set of five, provides a standard height (59 euros) and a "mini" version (27 euros) for a subtle white decorative light. The mini version is also available with RGBW LEDs. The Smart+ Garden Dots, which are available in sets of three (30 euros), nine (80 euros) or 18 (130 euros), have an even lower overall height.
The 60 centimeter high Smart+ Flare Multicolor Post (100 euros) is much more present. The curved Smart+ Curve Multicolor base light (80 euros) catches the eye with its unusual shape. Both lamps light up in the RGBW spectrum, as the name suggests.
Paul Neuhaus (price comparison) offers three post-shaped Zigbee path lights with RGBW LEDs under the names Q-Amin, Q-Albert and Q-Lino at prices between 120 and 220 euros.
At Tint, the Müller-Licht brand, there are three RGBW path lights to choose from (price comparison). The Petunia model, which is supplied as a three-pack from just under 100 euros, is a classic pedestal light. The Calluna garden spots are also available in a pack of three for just under 100 euros. And the spherical model Calluna is available for around 70 euros.
Smart outdoor LED strips
Flexible LED strips in a waterproof outdoor version are suitable, for example, for marking paths, for illuminating the edges of raised beds and flower pots, but also for mounting under eaves, between paving stones, under stairs or on garden furniture. The strips themselves require a low-voltage power supply; the respective starter kit comes with the appropriate power supply unit. Additional strips for expansion are then cheaper.
Important: Some manufacturers offer LED strips in both indoor and outdoor versions. The variants for outside are usually more expensive because the manufacturers seal them against dirt and water. Anyone who discovers a supposed bargain should better check again whether the corresponding variant can also be used in the rain. It should be noted that often only the strips themselves, more rarely the switching units and the power supply units are equally well sealed against dirt and water. The components are often only certified according to a lower IP protection class. If that's the case, don't let them face the same adversity as the strips themselves.
A weatherproof LED strip called Smart+ Outdoor Neon Flex is available from Ledvance for 50 euros (three metres, 15 watts) or 64 euros (five metres, 20 watts). The Philips Hue Lightstrip Outdoor is available in a two-meter and five-meter version for just under 80 euros and 155 euros respectively. The high price can be justified, among other things, because all of its components are sealed against environmental influences according to IP67. Tint's Outdoor Lightstrip shines particularly brightly with up to 1200 lumens. It is only available in a length of five meters and costs 130 euros. You should decide on the right length when you buy it. Unlike indoor strips, the outdoor versions cannot be shortened or lengthened. Otherwise they are no longer waterproof.
Smart garden lighting
Smart garden lighting
Cololight and Ledvance use WiFi, while Philips Hue, Innr and Tint use Zigbee. Alternatively, the Hue strip can be controlled via Bluetooth without the need for a hub. The radio range is then much shorter. A detailed comparison of the above and other LED strips for indoors and outdoors can be found at Heise+ (€).
Smart light in a roundabout way with outdoor sockets
Anyone who has fallen in love with the fairy lights inherited from grandma does not have to remove them from their smart outdoor lighting concept. Even older lights can be “made smart” with weatherproof radio adapter plugs. Anyone using a Fritzbox with a built-in DECT base station should consider the AVM FritzDECT 210 outdoor socket (60 euros). Two instead of just one consumer device can be controlled with the WLAN model Meross MSS62 (40 euros). It offers two slots. The Ledvance Smart+ Outdoor Plug model transmits via ZigBee. These and other outdoor sockets are presented in detail at Heise+.
Light in the garden is cool, smart lighting is even better: just a few colored spotlights transform a dark, standard garden into a truly magical world. It's important to do it right: Don't skimp on the power supply; Isolated solutions with solar cells are always only a compromise.
If money isn't an issue, Philips, Ledvance and other smart home brands have top-of-the-line outdoor lighting on offer. If you have to pay attention to the euro, you can make existing lighting, which is operated with a Schuko plug, smart with outdoor sockets. Either way, you can enjoy smart control via voice command, motion detector or app.