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RMS Creates Lush Outdoor Terrace Filled with Smart Home Tech in Pennsylvania

Providing the owners of an outdoor entertainment space in Central Pennsylvania the opportunity they had always dreamed of, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based integration company RMS elevated this homeowner’s backyard home entertainment experience experience through new smart home components from Snap One’s family of brands.

Serving as the foundation for this smart home system is a Control4 automation system that RMS extended from the inside of the home to the outside, with certain bespoke embellishments to meet all the homeowners needs.

According to Snap One, 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, the family looked no further than RMS, located to handle the design, installation, and integration of outdoor AV, Wi-Fi, surveillance, lighting and more.

Old Control4 System Provides Building Blocks for Outdoor Additions

Fetter notes the project was massive, 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 made matters slightly easier for RMS, however, was the owners’ decision to stick with their existing Control4 system as the basis for a larger smart home system that included the outdoor zones.

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“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 Caleb Fetter, president and managing partner, RMS.

For the installation RMS extended the Control4 system using an assortment of products from Snap One’s catalog, as well as several third-party manufacturers. In addition to the usual outdoor fare—displays, speakers, lighting, Wi-Fi access, and surveillance cameras, RMS also integrated gas lanterns, infrared heaters, a ceiling fan and more.

Addressing the video side of the smart home outdoor system upgrade, RMS utilized SunBrite displays and third-party outdoor speakers for the backyard transformation. RMS explains the client’s 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 homeowners can 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 distributing the chosen content to the appropriate zone.

RMS Takes Special Provisions to Accommodate Extensive Outdoor Lighting

Elaborating on the infrastructure required for the expansion of this smart home, RMS needed to address electrical power requirements because the exterior lighting often impacts integration projects. To properly meet these requirements RMS admits that schedules must be coordinated and collaboration must be executed with licensed electricians.

Fortunately, RMS has its own in-house electricians, which streamlined the installation of the numerous light fixtures, water pumps, ceiling fans, and electric igniters of gas fireplaces and firepits on this smart home 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 was able transform an underutilized outdoor area into a total living space complete with the latest components. Fetter stresses that from casual barbecues and pool parties to movie nights at the pool house, RMS made sure the smart home space could transition easily from one activity to another.

“Simplicity was our overarching mission, and Control4 helped us successfully deliver on this promise,” adds Fetter.

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