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Update your backyard lighting to LED the practical way

One of the last dumb things in your smart home might be your outdoor lighting. If you need a smart outdoor lighting system for your garden, you could scrap together an array of smart home lighting items from various makers or use items from one brand, such as the Philips Hue outdoor line. But I suggest a different route: Upgrade the bulbs in your current outdoor fixtures to LED and use an outdoor plug adapter to make your garden lights part of your home control technology. You won’t get all the fancy tricks possible, but if you can live without nightclub color scenes or speakers built into lights, you’ll like the results of my cheap and straightforward upgrade.

Bulb type

The very first thing to determine is what kind of LED bulbs will fit the sockets in your fixtures. Get rid of your current bulbs and inspect the base: It will most likely be a bayonet, bipin or wedge.
Bipin bulbs are particularly popular and come in a wide variety of sizes that look almost the same. The crucial differentiator is the spacing between the pins. A G4 bipin has 4mm spacing, a G5.3 has 5.3mm spacing, and so on.

Bulb brightness

We’re all used to expressing bulb brightness by wattage, but that’s simply a misconception baked in tradition. Wattage tells you how much energy a bulb uses, not how much light it puts out, though the two are at least directionally related.
As you pull each incandescent bulb from your garden lights, try to understand the wattage rating printed on it. Then shop for LED bulbs whose wattage is promised as equivalent. For example, you may find that a 1.5-watt LED bulb promises to replace an 11-watt incandescent bulb while delivering as much or more light, so much greater is LED’s efficiency.