Earth Day 2014: Mixing Music and the Great Outdoors

In honor of Earth Day, go outside and relish the natural surroundings of your own back yard. Are you enjoying it? Are you having fun? After you’ve gazed at the trees and clouds for a while and have wandered barefoot in the grass, are you craving something else? Something, well, more entertaining?

Although electronic systems may seem like the last thing to advocate on Earth Day, when designed and installed appropriately, they can become a natural part of your home’s outdoor environment, enhance your enjoyment there, and inspire you to spend more time in the fresh air than you ordinarily would.

Music can complement just about any outdoor activity, whether you’re relaxing in a lawn chair or grilling burgers. Sure, you could cart out a wireless streaming music player, but a more elegant and effective solution is to pepper the property with several outdoor-rated speakers. This will blanket the entire area with nice, even sound; you can keep it at a reasonable volume level and hear the music as clearly in your garden at the far corner of the yard as you can from the patio connected to your house. Your neighbors will love you for not blaring the music.

An audio/video receiver with dual-zone capability can support the back yard speakers as its second zone (the first being your media room inside), so you can play different music inside and outside … at the same time. Many manufacturers of AVRs offer downloadable apps so you can control the volume, switch stations or skip to a new track from a menu on your smartphone.

Of course, you’ll also need outdoor speakers, and these come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. There are those that can be mounted to the exterior of your house, models that can be tucked within the landscape, and others that can masquerade as decorative rocks or functional planters. If you’re super serious about outdoor audio, you can beef up the bass by having subwoofers planted beneath the ground.  They’ll raise no issue with the landscape so you can feel good about preserving the natural beauty of your yard adding audio that’s easy to control and enjoy.