Pennsylvania home gets Control4 backyard makeover

Snap One partner RMS recently delivered customers the ultimate outdoor experience by decking out a newly designed backyard with one-touch control over exterior lighting, AV, water features, infrared heaters and surveillance cameras.

The owners of the outdoor entertainment space in Central Pennsylvania had always dreamed of elevating their backyard experience. It wasn’t until they experienced a Control4 automation system inside their home that they considered extending the smart ecosystem from the inside to the outside, with certain bespoke embellishments to meet all their needs.

The Control4 system and its various connected subsystems inside the house had served the family well for more than five years, so when it was time to turn their attention to the renovation of their backyard, they looked no further than RMS, located in Lancaster, to handle the design, installation, and integration of outdoor AV, Wi-Fi, surveillance, lighting and more. 

“No ripping out and replacing of products would be required; extending the Control4 experience to the renovated outdoor area would be like stacking a new block of Lego onto the current infrastructure,” says RMS President and Managing Partner Caleb Fetter. 

Make no mistake, however. This project was huge, involving major excavation of the property; construction of an elaborate swimming pool, pool house and full-scale outdoor kitchen; professional landscaping, and laborious trenching of essential electrical and low-voltage cabling. 

What’s more, RMS would unite under the extended Control4 platform a wide assortment of products not only from Snap One’s catalogue but also from several third-party manufacturers. In addition to the usual outdoor fare – displays, speakers, lighting, Wi-Fi access, and surveillance cameras – RMS would weave in gas lanterns, infrared heaters, a ceiling fan and more. 

Thanks to Snap One’s line of high-quality, weather-hardy AV solutions, RMS quickly settled on SunBrite displays and third-party loudspeakers for the backyard transformation. The yard is segmented into four audio zones composed of visually discrete landscape architectural speakers placed strategically in the planting beds and speakers mounted flush in the ceiling of the open-air pool house. 

A 65-inch SunBrite TV in the pool house rounds out the complete entertainment experience.  The owners select and direct music and video for any and all AV zones via a custom-programmed Control4 SR260 remote or smartphone app. 

They can also use any of the Control4 touchpanels inside the house to kick start the party before they walk out the back door, with Atlona OmniStream distributes the chosen content to the appropriate zone.

Given its electrical power requirements, exterior lighting often throws integration projects through a loop. Schedules must be coordinated and collaboration executed with licensed electricians. 

Fortunately, RMS has its own in-house electricians, which streamlined the installation of the numerous light fixtures, water pumps, ceiling fan, and electric igniters of gas fireplaces and firepits on this project. With the necessary electrical wiring installed, RMS coordinated the operation of these amenities with the AV systems. Nearly 40 zones of DMF architectural and various landscape fixtures, as well as hurricane lanterns, accentuate the beauty of the outdoor design. 

Under the Control4 system’s built-in astronomical time clock, all lighting switches on and off automatically based on the time of day. Each zone, however, can be independently controlled on the fly via Control4. For example, the owners might choose to illuminate only the canopy of the trees for dramatic impact, or only brighten the area in and around the pool house for an intimate gathering. 

Rolling the gas firepit, fireplace and infrared heaters into the scenario is just as easy. At the end of the night, the owners can put the outdoor area to bed with just a single tap of a button on a Control4 remote, mobile app or touch panel.

By leveraging the integration capabilities of the Control4 platform, RMS helped transform an underutilised outdoor area into a joyous living space replete with all the high-tech bells and whistles. Despite the vast assortment of smart products and systems populating the renovated backyard, no more than a tap of a button brings the entire area to life. 

From casual barbeques and pool parties to movie nights at the pool house, RMS made sure the space could transition easily from one activity to another. “Simplicity was our overarching mission, and Control4 helped us successfully deliver on this promise,” Caleb says.

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