It’s no secret that outdoor living is becoming a huge trend. “It’s exploded over the past five years with homeowners wanting resort-like backyards,” said Reno landscape architect and franchisee Ron Duhamel, president of FireSky. He thinks that “a simple old-fashioned patio and lawn area can’t be compared” to the new home’s paradise.
Not surprisingly, the ability to protect and enjoy these enhanced amenities—including outdoor kitchens, media centers, fire pits, fireplaces, water features, pools, and spas—in privacy and security has stimulated the related industry. According to the results of a recent Houzz home improvement survey, security for these spaces was three times more popular last year than the previous six.
Covid has played a role, too, which has kept the past two years particularly busy for outdoor improvement professionals as homeowners have sought to make their properties more convenient to stay in. “The pandemic has prompted everyone to embrace their outdoor space, and Houzz research data shows that people want their backyards to be comfortable in their indoor living rooms,” reports Ann Colby, the popular US editor of the home improvement platform.
“It follows that homeowners will also invest in securing their home perimeters and those private spaces, spending a quarter on home security systems in 2021 compared to 2020,” she adds. A Houzz & Home study found that more than half of homeowners upgraded their outdoor spaces.
Colby notes that “brands also support this interest in innovations in new devices, which connect to phones and voice assistants via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi,” “We’ve seen that the emergence of smart security technology expands people’s motivation for home security beyond just security, to the ability to monitor Remote home and loved ones. Customers enjoy the convenience and peace of mind provided by remote monitoring, which tells them everything from who stopped at their home to the packages they received.”
Desirable technologies include wireless doorbell cameras, outdoor and indoor security cameras, motion, glass, and other sensors, and wireless door locks, the editor reports. What protects homeowners with all that extra security? The answer may surprise you.
“Sure, expensive items that are stored outdoors are important for monitoring, but also keeping an eye on people coming into the home, such as service workers, is a big plus,” said Mark van den Broek, CEO of Sarasota-based SmartHouse Integration. “Our camera systems act as active security. Whenever there is any activity, our customers are notified wherever they are so they can act immediately.”
The role of privacy
For high net worth clients, privacy is a big focus. Van den Broek prefers cameras with local storage, rather than cloud storage, to keep data safe, he says. They also use facial recognition to identify homeowners and grant access to vendors and guests. “A professionally installed and strategically placed camera system can provide coverage and peace of mind over an entire property,” notes the tech professional. He adds that they also relate to the rest of the proprietary technologies. “Today it can be seamlessly integrated into the overall home platform to give people the greatest amount of control, comfort and convenience.”
Privacy extends beyond technology, too. “The homeowners we work with are looking for a specific space that gives them privacy from their neighbors and a space in which they feel safe,” Duhamel notes. “To achieve this, the design often includes walls, fences, blocking plants, and lighting.”
“Animal security is also important in areas adjacent to open spaces where wolves and other animals may hunt small prey,” Duhamel adds. “Lighting throughout the home allows homeowners to walk safely on the ground at night and be able to see.” This can help keep them, their children, guests, and pets safe from wildlife.
He notes that falling into the dark is also a hazard, and landscape lighting that enhances aesthetics can enhance safety as well. “A well-designed plan should not over-illuminate the space, but rather create a rhythm or a series of pools of light that gently guide the person through the landscape.”
Weather is another factor associated with external security, van den Broek comments. “We install a lot of motorized hurricane screens.” These allow homeowners to operate them remotely without the need for a care. “The ability to not have to rely on someone else can be a huge advantage,” he adds, especially if they are involved in securing their own homes or the homes of other clients as well. Supports self-reliance remote control technology. It also supports other functions. “An appropriate outdoor security solution is to incorporate features from cameras, landscape lighting, fences and gates,” he explains.