The "smart home" often conjures up images of stuff that goes inside a house -- an , a , a . But increasingly we're seeing weatherproof connected devices specifically for the outdoors. You can use some of these outside gadgets year-round, like a or an ; others are seasonal. Since Tuesday officially marks the first day of spring 2018, we're compiling all of the latest tech for your yard, your garage and beyond. Here's a preview of the products and stories you'll see throughout the week.
The stories, so far
Smart gardening used to be focused on standalone. Buy a or an , stick it in a pot -- or directly in your yard -- and wait for it to tell you when to water your plant. These small devices were fairly limited, especially for folks interested in monitoring larger gardens.
Enter: connected irrigation systems. From Rachio's latest smart sprinkler set up to CNET's own homemade drip irrigation system, which we're using to grow lettuce, jalapeños and Carolina Reapers, these systems help you track a larger space remotely.
Outdoor cameras aren't new, but the variety of options have increased a ton in recent years. Where it was once limited to a, we're now seeing , and even .
We're most excited about the new Wi-Fi range.that work over a cellular network, which effectively monitor garden pests outside
Extending your Wi-Fi range
A wireless access point, also called an extender, is a great way to get your Wi-Fi network outside, if you don't want an LTE camera or simply want to get internet out in the garden.
An outdoor extender, like the how to cover your yard in Wi-Fi here., can easily handle this. Read our in-depth look at
LEDs and light fixtures
We've covered indoor lighting extensively, but smart outdoor lighting is a relatively new space. Sure, you can control an outdoor light with an indoor wired, but what about smart LEDs that combat the elements?
There's good news on that front -- Philips is leading the charge this year with a complete series of . We'll have a story later this week about the very best options for outdoor lighting.
Garage door openers
Yes, a garage isn't technically "outside," but it covers that space between your driveway and your home, and for a lot of us it's where we store the lawn mower and the garden tools. Smart garage door openers let you open and close your garage doors from an app and some even let you use voice commands; they can also send reminders to your phone to let you know when you've left a door open. A complete roundup of the latest garage door openers is coming your way at the end of the week.
You can track the weather in your area with a quick Google search any time, but smart weather stations are more customized. The tracks temperature, wind speed and rain and air pressure right in your backyard. Whether you're a weather geek or want to monitor the latest forecast to determine when best to plant, water and harvest plants in your garden, products like this might be a smart investment.
That's just an overview of the categories we're excited to cover this spring, but there's so much more to come -- including a. I'll update this page to include all of the outdoor tech-related stories we cover this week, so watch this space.