Smart Lighting 101: Upgrade Your Outdoors With Smart Bulbs

Smart lighting unleashes new possibilities for your home's exterior that go far beyond the capabilities of traditional bulbs. By installing innovative smart bulbs outdoors, you can set the perfect ambiance on your patio, highlight architectural features, improve security, and save energy while controlling it all from your phone. Read on to explore how LED smart bulbs can transform your outdoor areas through adjustable lighting effects, colors, automated scheduling, and remote access from anywhere. We'll cover the leading weatherproof smart bulb models and smart lighting ideas to illuminate and upgrade your outdoor spaces by leveraging these new wireless lighting technologies.

What Are Smart Bulbs?

Smart bulbs are LED light bulbs that connect to your smartphone or other devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other wireless protocols. This connectivity allows you to control them from an app or with voice commands. Key features of smart bulbs include:

  • Dimming - Brighten or dim the lights via an app or voice control. This creates ambiance and saves energy.
  • Color Changing - Select from a spectrum of colors to set a desired mood or match your decor.
  • Color Temperature Tuning - Adjust the shade of white light from warm (2700K) to daytime (5000K).
  • Scheduling/Automation - Create schedules to turn lights on or off at certain times. Geofencing can activate lights when you arrive home.
  • Remote Access - Control lights when away from home.
  • Voice Control - Use smart speakers or voice assistants to control lights with your voice.

Smart Bulb Options for Outdoor Spaces

When selecting smart bulbs for outdoor use, you need to consider factors like weather resistance, brightness, wireless connectivity, and compatibility with smart home platforms. Here are the top options to consider:

Weather-Resistant Bulbs

Bulbs meant for outdoor use have ratings like IP64 or IP65, signifying resistance to dust and moisture. Top weather-proof bulbs include:

smart lighting philips hue
Philips Hue Calla - image: Amazon
  • Philips Hue Calla - This elegant bulb is completely weather sealed. It connects to the Philips Hue ecosystem and Bluetooth. (Check the price on Amazon)
  • Sengled Smart Outdoor Floodlight - With a 650-lumen output, this floodlight bulb provides bright illumination. It doesn't require a hub and works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and SmartThings. (Check the price on Amazon.)
  • GE CYNC Smart Bulb - Affordable and rated for wet locations, this bulb links to Alexa, Google Home, and the Cnyc App by GE smart home devices. (Check the price on Amazon.)

Bright Spotlights and Floodlights

For bright, focused light on pathways, gardens, or architectural details, consider smart spotlights and floodlights. Look for ones with 800+ lumens.

  • LIFX BR30 - This bulb provides 800 lumens of tunable white light. It also produces full-color light. Control it from the LIFX app or multiple smart home ecosystems.
  • Sylvania Smart+ Floodlight - The adjustable angle spotlight shines 800 lumens. Use the Sylvania app or integrate it with smart speakers and hubs.
  • Ring PAR38 Smart Bulbs - Part of the Ring smart lighting lineup, these bulbs reach 1500 lumens. Manage them with the Ring app or Alexa's voice commands.

Smart Bulbs for Accent and Ambiance

For softer, accent lighting of landscape features or ambient light, smart bulbs in the 500–800 lumen range are ideal.

  • Philips Hue White Ambiance - Adjust these bulbs from soft white to bright daylight. Add color if desired. Features integration with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Home, and more.
  • C by GE Full Color - This decorative smart bulb creates colorful effects or soft white light. Use simple Bluetooth control from the C by GE app.
  • TP-Link Kasa Filament - For vintage-style lighting, this smart bulb mimics old-fashioned filament bulbs while providing app and voice control.

Smart Step/Pathway Lights

Integrated step lights take the hassle out of installing wiring. Just place the light wherever needed.

  • Philips Hue Outdoor Lightstrip - This weatherproof LED strip cuts on and adheres to steps. Extendable up to 33 feet, it produces a nice ambient glow.
  • Brilliant Smart LED Step Light - This sturdy metal step light fits pathways, decks, and driveways. The Brilliant app and Alexa allow wireless control.
  • Paradise GL23832 GloPath Light - For a quick DIY pathway solution, this solar-powered ground stake light automatically turns on at night.

Smart Lighting Ideas for Outdoor Areas

The versatility of smart bulbs unlocks all kinds of creative lighting possibilities outside your home. Here are some lighting ideas for enhancing different areas:


Create an inviting ambiance on your patio or deck with smart bulbs in fixtures or integrated into the architecture.

  • Line the patio with smart LED strip lights stuck to railings/walls to cast a soft glow for evening gatherings. Control the color.
  • Install vintage-style smart filament bulbs in pendant fixtures for warm light that sets a relaxing mood.
  • Place color-changing floodlights in the ground or on walls to wash the space in your choice of festive hues.


Illuminate the natural features of your yard and gardens with smart lighting:

  • Accent trees and shrubs with smart spotlights aimed at the foliage. Use dynamic color scenes.
  • Mark a winding garden path with smart pathway marker lights to safely guide visitors at night.
  • Stick smart LED strip lighting under railings or steps for a modern look with programmable glow effects.
  • Solar-powered ground stake lights can automatically provide practical light along paths and driveways at night.

Front Entry

Welcome guests with smart lighting at your front door and entryway:

  • Greet visitors with color-changing floodlights illuminating the front of your home. Adjust for seasons or holidays.
  • Install smart step lights along walkways and paths leading to your entry for visibility and style.
  • Brighten your front door with smart bulbs in existing fixtures or new sconces. Program them to turn on at dusk.
  • Add sophisticated ambiance with smart post lights lining driveways or walkways. Change their colors for fun effects.


Smart lighting extends daytime fun into the nighttime hours:

  • Highlight specific areas, like kids' play areas or dining spaces, with smart spotlights. Control their brightness remotely.
  • String smart LED strip lights along fences or poles for ambient light during evening activities.
  • Use extra bright smart floodlights to fully illuminate a patio or sports court for nighttime use.
  • Create a festive ambiance by stringing smart filament bulbs on lines or in trees. Make them twinkle!


Smart lighting along the driveway improves visibility and security:

  • Install smart step lights along any steps or changes in elevation for better nighttime visibility.
  • Use extra-bright smart floodlights or spotlights to fully light up a long driveway at night.
  • Line the driveway with smart post lights for visibility. Program them to automatically turn on from dusk to dawn.
  • Position smart floodlights to shine on vehicles as they arrive. Connect them to motion sensors.

Get Started with Smart Outdoor Lighting

With proper planning and smart bulb selection, it's easy to implement intelligent outdoor lighting. Follow these steps to get started:

1. Decide on lighting goals - Determine what you want to accomplish. Options include accent lighting for landscaping, illuminated pathways for safety, task lighting for cooking areas, or dramatic lighting displays for parties. Prioritize the areas that would benefit most from smart lighting.

2. Survey electrical and connectivity - Note light fixture locations and available power outlets. Smart bulbs can go in existing fixtures or new plug-in lamps. Check WiFi coverage if you're going with a connected smart bulb model that requires a hub, look into adding an access point or an extender.

3. Pick bulb types and models - Select weatherproof bulbs that meet your specific lighting needs. Opt for colored, color-tunable, or bright white bulbs depending on the effect you want. Choose connected or standalone bulbs based on connectivity and preferences for your control method.

4. Install bulbs and necessary hardware - Screw bulbs into sockets or plug lamps into outlets. Follow the instructions to connect to WiFi and install any hubs if needed. Connect bulbs to your smart home ecosystem if desired.

5. Set up controls and automation - Use the bulb's app to adjust settings like brightness schedules, themes, and automation triggers like motion sensors. Add voice control for hands-free access.

6. Enhance with accessories - Consider smart switches, outlets, power strips, or sensors to expand control options. Use a smart dimmer switch to control both non-smart and smart bulbs from one place.

Some real-life examples:

  • Accent a focal tree with a Phillips Hue White Ambiance bulb screwed into an outdoor plug-in lamp directed at the canopy. Use the Hue app to dim and brighten the bulb to highlight the tree at night.
  • Stick weatherproof LIFX LED strip lights under deck railings and control them from your phone or Google Home to set colorful lighting scenes for evening get-togethers.
  • Install Sengled Element Classic smart bulbs into existing porch sconces. Use Alexa routines to turn the lights on at sunset and off at 11 p.m.

With smart bulbs flanking your front walkway or illuminating your backyard gatherings, you'll wonder how you ever lived without the ability to control your lights from your phone. Welcome to the world of smart outdoor lighting!

Further Reading:

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