Outdoor security is an issue any time of the year, but there’s just something about summer that makes the thieves come out in droves. Whether you’ve put the time and effort into setting up your outdoor space with a fire pit and patio furniture, or you have a shop full of valuable equipment, you want to make sure you’ve got smart home devices set up to protect your outdoor space.
Why do smart home devices improve your outdoor security?
Imagine you’ve left for a weekend away and you don’t have an outdoor security camera set up in your yard. Once you drive out of the driveway, you won’t be able to check in and see that everything is where it should be. You won’t get alerts sent to your phone that someone could be in your yard, and you’ll have no idea if someone is walking in and walking away with anything you’ve left outside.
With Wi-Fi cameras, wireless gate controllers, outdoor smart lighting, and a main hub to control everything, you’ll have eyes and ears on every corner of your home and property. If you set up motion and sound alerts, you’ll know instantly if someone is there when they shouldn’t be.
5 tips to improve your outdoor security
I get asked about smart home devices, how to set them up, and how they work almost every day. I always offer these 5 tips to anyone who’s interested in improving their outdoor security. We’re just at the tip of summer, so now is a great time to set everything up.
Set up Wi-Fi cameras to improve outdoor security
It might seem like an obvious tip, but setting up Wi-Fi cameras really is the best way to improve your outdoor security. The latest Wi-Fi cameras don’t just let you log in and stream your video; They offer you motion and sound alerts sent straight to your phone.
If you have a shop door you’d like to keep an eye on, you can narrow in on an area to trigger alerts for that one specific spot. The latest Wi-Fi cameras also offer streaming in 4K, facial recognition (so they will tell you exactly who is in your yard), and either free or low cost plans to store all of your video clips in a Cloud.
I’ve reviewed the Arlo Ultra Wire-free security camera, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Outdoor security cameras, and Ring Stick Up Cams as part of the Ring Ecosystem. Take a look at my reviews to help you choose which one is right for your home. All three cameras are easy to install and use, offer motion and sound alerts, and are weatherproof (so they work in all types of Canadian weather).
Light up your yard so there’s nowhere to hide
Adding lights to your yard is one of the easiest ways to improve your outdoor security. Rather than just leaving a single light on your porch or door all weekend—an instant sign that you’re not at home, you can add smart lighting to your pathways, brighten up dark corners under trees and shrubs, and shine a light overhead via a motion activated spotlight.
I’ve reviewed several different kinds of outdoor lighting from Philips Hue. You can turn your lights on and off via an app on your phone, change them to any colour combination you can imagine, and set up a schedule so they will turn on and off at a set time.
When your yard is bright (and it looks like someone is home), intruders will think twice about walking onto your property.
Keep your property locked up tight with a Wi-Fi gate controller
Not everyone has a gate, but if you do, you know that keeping it closed is one of the easiest ways to keep intruders from entering your yard. The problem is that you might want to let in a delivery person, or you don’t want to get in and out of your vehicle to constantly open and close the gate.
With a Wi-Fi based gate controller, you can access your gate from anywhere. Just tap on your phone screen and you can open, close, or just check the status of your gate. The gate controller I tested out works with Google Home, Alexa, and IFTTT, so I can set up an applet that will close my gate at a certain time every night.
I always feel so much better knowing that my gate is closed, and I love how I can just open an app and see that it’s closed no matter where I am.
Wi-Fi door locks aren’t just for your house
I always tell friends and family to add a Wi-Fi door lock to any shops or sheds they have on their property. By locking it up tight with an app-based door lock, you’ll always know whether it’s open, locked, or who was the last person to access it.
Wi-Fi door locks are easy to install and easy to open and close via the app. My best advice when installing one of these locks is to ensure your dead bolts line up perfectly. I’ve reviewed the Yale Lock as part of my Nest Hello install. If you find (like I did) that you have to pull on the door to properly lock it, you’ll want to etch out a larger spot for your deadbolt to slide into—that way there’ll be no hiccups when you’re tapping the app to close the door.
One Smart Hub to control them all
When you have smart home devices, you need to use different apps to control them. But with a smart display, you can control everything on a single touch screen. I just reviewed the Google Nest Hub, and I was able to access and control every one of my smart home devices.
My favourite feature was how I could stream my outdoor cameras to the Hub via voice control and see exactly what was going on outside. That way, if you’re in your living room (or some area of your home) and you get a motion alert, you don’t even have to grab your phone. You can get a window to the outside without moving an inch.
It connects to smart lighting, smart gates, door locks, and Wi-Fi cameras, and you can set up a room called “Outside” to keep all of your devices in one area.
My 5 tips to improve outdoor security will work in any yard. For peace of mind in every season, harness the power of smart home devices and keep your yard (and everything in it) safe and sound.