You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so this spring, focus on the entry of your house to create the right vibe for what’s inside. Sure, new shrubs and fresh mulch can go a long way toward establishing excellent curb appeal, but also consider adding a few electronic amenities to make a long, lasting impression that’ll have the whole neighborhood buzzing.
Exterior lighting is a good place to start an electronics spruce-up. Like the fixtures inside your house, landscape lighting can be tied to a home automation system. Sure, you can stick with basic plug-in timers that will turn the lights on at dusk and off at dawn, at the same time every day. A connection to a home automation system, though, adds an element of convenience and elegance day that no timer can match. For example, as a car pulls into the driveway (you’ll need to install a driveway sensor) the system can trigger a pathway of lights to the front door. The system could also activate the light in preset groups based on a button you press on a keypad inside the house, or remotely from your smartphone or tablet. For example, a button labeled “Welcome” could instruct only the lights lining the walk and around the front door to activate, while “Entertain” adds fixtures to showcase the garden, pergola and other eye-appealing parts of the yard. Another benefit of tying the exterior lights to an automation system: They will be able to operate in synch with outdoor speakers (yes, these are a good addition, too). Now, when you touch a button on a smartphone, tablet or a keypad, the lights can set themselves in a way that accentuates the architecture of your home and the beautiful music can travel to speakers tucked within the landscape. Fountains can join in, too, making the entry of your house elegant and inviting.