The days are getting longer, and many of us are looking forward to spending more time outside. Here are five favorite smart outdoor updates.

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The days are getting longer and many of us are looking forward to spending more time outside. Here are my five favorite smart outdoor updates, either for you or for adding value to an upcoming listing.

No. 1: Smart sprinkler system

When we first got our house, we had a sprinkler system that was already installed; they did some programming but it never seemed to really work well. It was like it was over-watering or it wasn’t watering enough.

That’s when I upgraded to the Rachio which has Wi-Fi connectivity. Everything is controlled through the app; it is weather intelligent and so it can skip watering when needed.

The setup was a breeze, I just replaced the unit, plugged the wires in, and then the app asked a series of questions about my area, and it created a schedule for me. If there is a lot of rain in the forecast, it will automatically skip over the normally scheduled runs.

No. 2: Security cameras

Security is very important to us, so we have a number of cameras outside our home, including some that notify us right on our phones. We also have point of entry cameras that record locally 24/7 to our NVR system, which is kept in a secure location for backup. Whenever possible I recommend hardwired cameras over battery-powered and wireless options. 

No. 3: MyQ smart garage door opener

Smart locks are great because you can remotely check on your doors and let people in if needed. The MyQ smart garage door system does the same for your garage. That way if we have someone come over to drop something off — maybe it’s a contractor, for example — they can just go in through the garage.

We can also monitor to see if the garage door is closed from wherever we are with the included app. Ours is actually built right into the garage itself, but MyQ does have conversion kits available that can be added on. 

No. 4: Electric mower and lawn equipment

At first, I was skeptical that an electric mower would be powerful enough, but I have been happy with how well our Ego mower performs. It’s very quiet, has plenty of run time to finish our yard and it is easy to swap out batteries for charging. It uses the same batteries as our other Ego yard tools, including our leaf blower and trimmer, so it is easy to switch between them. 

No. 5: Smart lighting

Whether it’s for security or for entertainment, smart lighting on your exterior is a great option. We have some smart bulbs from Philips Hue that can light up the night, sync with music and do fun holiday themes. We also added a few floodlights with motion sensors which help deter criminal activity and illuminate the scene for our security cameras. 

Bonus: Sonos Move

The Sonos move is a portable smart speaker with great sound. It is battery-operated so you can bring it outdoors with you and then bring it back inside when you’re done. That way you don’t have to worry about having an exterior-mounted speaker system. It has both Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant built right in. It connects via Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth, so if a friend wants to play a song, they can just hit a button to quickly connect. 

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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