When it comes to outdoor living, the traditional standard patio furniture set and barbeque grill has evolved into a formal dining area, full kitchen (sink included) and entertainment space featuring a bar area and large screen tv with speakers for surround sound, and amazing lighting to set the mood for any occasion. Yes, the outdoor space typically seen at resorts and vacation destinations has become the latest design trend to hit the residential market.
Interested? You’re not alone. If you take a look around your neighborhood or browse the real estate listings, you are certain to come across some impressive outdoor living spaces. Every detail, from “flooring” and décor to appliances and lighting, as well as all the creature comforts we typically enjoy indoors, are slowly drifting outdoors for the latest in luxury living and lavish entertaining.
As you plan your outdoor oasis, you will want to be certain to include all the electrical devices necessary to easily and efficiently power up the outdoor appliances (refrigerator, blender…), entertainment units and outdoor lighting to create the perfect outdoor living experience.
Make it a Safe Space
Start by making sure you have plenty of well-placed Weather-Resistant (WR) GFCI Outlets. Look for the WR symbol on the face to ensure the outlet is rated for outdoor use. GFCI Outlets are required by the National Electrical Code® for use in wet or damp indoor and outdoor locations including decks, patios, and pool areas because they are designed to help prevent people from receiving dangerous shocks due to ground-faults. When a ground-fault occurs and electricity from an appliance deviates from its normal path and passes through the person’s body, the resulting shock can cause serious injury or even death. GFCIs have special circuitry built into them to detect ground-faults, and if detected the GFCI SHUTS OFF POWER TO THE APPLIANCE IN A FRACTION OF A SECOND, to help prevent serious injury to a healthy person.
Additionally, all outdoor outlets should be protected from the elements with While-in-Use Covers. These covers serve to protect the outlet, while simultaneously allowing you access to the outlet to plug-in and power lighting, appliances, and equipment.
Make it a Smart Space
Utilize smart technology to add convenience to outdoor living. You can begin by replacing the indoor switches and/or dimmers that control your outdoor lighting and electronics with Decora Smart® Switches and Dimmers. Decora Smart devices allow you to control lighting and small appliances using your smartphone or tablet using the free My Leviton app. Imagine impressing your guests as you turn porch and patio lights ON/OFF, or dim and brighten lighting elements to create a mood, (from dim low light for romantic ambiance to full-on for a lively party) right from where you are seated outside simply by using your smartphone or tablet. This eliminates the need to keep running inside your home to adjust your lights! Do you have an outdoor ceiling fan on your porch? With a Decora Smart Fan Speed Controller, mounted indoors for safety, you can remotely turn your outdoor ceiling fan ON/OFF and control the fan speed by using the My Leviton app. How easy and convenient is that? App control of interior lights can be helpful as well. Imagine you're sitting around a fire pit and get hungry. Open your
phone and turn on a pathway of lights to the kitchen and the kitchen light itself. This way you don't trip over anything and risk injury or spilling the snacks.
Bump everything SMART up a notch by engaging optional Voice Control compatible with the technology you choose (Wi-Fi°, Zigbee° or Z-Wave°). Use your phone and ask Alexa or Hey Google to turn connected lights on or off; or perhaps to turn ON the (connected) coffee maker just in time for dessert. Do you have a pool house? There is no need to run to the outbuilding in the dark if you realize you left the light on. Just ask Alexa or Google to turn it off for you, set a schedule, or use the auto-off timer function in the My Leviton app. It’s a safe and easy solution!
Take time to enhance your outdoor space as you would your indoor space – with a great color scheme and lots of personal accents like comfy pillows, indoor/outdoor area rugs, plants and artwork – all designed to withstand the elements, of course (check labels!). Make dining outdoors feel extra special by investing in well-crafted, outdoor dinnerware, barware and serving pieces. And don’t forget to include a fire pit for some warmth on the inevitable chilly evenings in the forecast.
At the end of a long day, or a long week, your personal outdoor living space will likely become the serene retreat you need to relax and recharge. And at the end of your evening, don’t worry about turning off the lights when you have Leviton Timers installed. They can handle the job for you. Cheers!