A combination of the artistic and the practical, Philips Hue outdoor lights can transform your garden
- Easy to install
- Brings outside spaces to life
- Excellent app and voice-assistant control
- Relatively expensive
- Needs an outdoor power socket
- Review Price: £230
- IFTTT, HomeKit, Amazon Echo and Google Home support
- Wall- and spike-mounting options
- Colour-changing lights
- Android and iOS apps
What are the Philips Hue outdoor lights?
Not content with dominating the colour light scene inside your home, Philips Hue outdoor lights move the system into your garden. It comprises of a range of products, including the Outdoor Spot Lily on review, plus Outdoor Lightstrips, Tuar and Turaco wall lights and pedestals.
Simple configuration and integration into an existing Hue setup enables you to blend indoor and outdoor lighting, but none of the systems is particularly cheap.
Related: Philips Hue Black Friday deals
Philips Hue outdoor lights – Design and installation
The Lily can be bought as a three-pack, with additional extension lights available if you want to expand your system up to five lights. The outer casing of each light is finished in matte black, which makes them unobtrusive, and the lights can be both wall mounted or set in the ground via a garden spike. They can be angled vertically up into the sky, or down to the ground, offering a huge amount of flexibility.
Inside the box you get the IP65-rated power adapter, which needs to be plugged into IP65-rated outdoor power sockets and screwed to wall or fence above the ground. You get 3 metres of cabling to the power adapter.
From this, you can run the three lengths of 5-metre extension cable, which hook up to the T-junction boxes into which the lights plug. Running the lights in a line gives you 28 metres of coverage, which should suit most homes.
Cables screw firmly into the junction boxes, sealing them against water and dust. I wouldn’t bury the connectors, but you can hide the cabling in a shallow trench, in particular where it crosses lawn.
Philips Hue outdoor lights – Features and performance
Once the lights are plugged in and turned on, they’re discovered as normal using the Hue app. This should take just a few minutes, joining the Hue Bridge.
Thereafter, the Lily lights became part of my current Hue system. I could add them into the Garden room, which initiated control via the Hue Dimmer Switch I have set up for controlling standard GU10 bulbs screwed into weather-proof external lights. That’s powerful, since it meant I could extend my Hue system and have the new outdoor lights become functional as well as decorative.
The full Hue review has more on the app and how lights can be controlled, but the basics are that you can dim the lights, pick from 16.8 million colours, or colour temperatures between 2000 and 6500K. That’s basically the same range as the White and Colour Ambience internal bulbs.
Philips rates the lights as equivalent to a 49W traditional bulb. That’s enough light to see by, producing a gentle and pleasing glow, rather than full-on floodlights. The Lily lights are definitely more about mood lighting.
The effect of the bulbs is excellent. A dull and dark garden, previously only lit by GU10 up/down lighters at either end, came to life with the Lily lights. Being able to pick from a huge variety of colours and scenes let me change the look and feel of the garden with ease.
Using the Zigbee protocol, the lights are quick to respond and change to the app, too.
Philips Hue outdoor lights – Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Works with Nest and IFTTT
It should come as no surprise that the outdoor lights support the same range of features as the indoor units. There’s support for every voice assistant, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri. All give roughly the same level of control, letting you set brightness and colour with your voice, or invoking a scene.
With Apple Home support, you can control the lights from Apple’s app on your smartphone, or make the lights part of an integration, such as turning on your garden lights when a compatible camera detects motion. A similar trick can be done with IFTTT or SmartThings, too.
Works with Nest support is welcome, and the lights can be part of one of the automatic rules. For example, if you’re away for more than 24 hours and a Nest Cam Outdoor IQ spots a person, the outdoor lights can be turned on and off with a random delay to mimic someone at home having a look to see what’s going on.
Why buy the Philips Hue outdoor lights?
Moving into the garden extends what Philips Hue is capable of. While it’s possible to install the current range of indoor lights into weatherproof housing, the Hue outdoor lights (see how to build a smart home extension), such as the Outdoor Spot Lily, offer more flexible placement.
The excellent choice of colours and temperatures makes the outdoor lights brilliant for adding ambience, or simply lighting up the garden to make it easier to navigate at night. Products are expensive, but with a lifetime of up to 25,000 hours, they’ll last for more than eight years if you used them eight hours a day.
A combination of the artistic and the practical, Philips Hue outdoor lights can transform your garden.