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Case Study: British Countryside Manor Levels Up Outdoor Audio Experience

Historic home features an upgraded indoor Control4 system as well as Episode and Triad speakers that blend seamlessly into landscaped grounds surrounding the property.

Essex-based Snap One Partner Elements recently completed an extensive outdoor audio installation for a huge 3-acre garden as part of a whole-home integration solution. Set in a small village in Essex, U.K., the stunning period property has been refurbished by its owners into a magnificent, modern family home. After upgrading the existing interior Control4 system, which includes audio, TV, lighting, and security control, the homeowners are continuing to work with Elements on the extensive outdoor space.

Case Study – Snape One - Essex Home - Outside

“The client and his family spend a lot of time in the grounds and want audio to enhance their outdoor living experience ranging from an intimate chat on the patio, a pool party, a family dinner or a peaceful stroll around the gardens,” explains James Hollis, integrated systems business manager at Elements. “To meet the family’s expectations, we partnered with Snap One to design a customized solution that would be easy to operate, provide high quality sound for different applications, and be scalable for additional zones in the future.”

Elements worked with Snap One to divide the vast space into five dedicated audio zones — two patios, a pool area, a temple walkway, and an island set on a lake. Each space has the functionality to operate as an individual audio zone or, collectively, to play synchronized audio throughout the entire garden. In the planning phase, Elements also worked closely with the in-house gardening team who helped design flower beds and topiary for speaker and subwoofer placement to help the technology blend into surroundings.

The Episode range of outdoor speakers and subwoofers from Snap One offered the flexible options and durable products needed to make this project a success. Now completed, phase one of the project features 26 Episode Landscape Satellites and two Episode Landscape 360-degree speakers as well as five Episode Landscape Subwoofers to enrich the bass. In the pool area, which doubles as a night-time entertaining and party space, Elements installed a 10:2 system to deliver plenty of field volume. In the two patios and the temple walkway, four Episode Landscape Satellite speakers were carefully positioned and concealed by foliage with Episode Landscape 10-inch subwoofers partially submerged. Four additional Episode Landscape Satellite speakers were installed in beds along the far edge of the garden to ensure a consistent blanket of sound. Episode Landscape Series 360-degree speakers are also installed on the island to deliver a wide dispersion and a uniform coverage without “hot spots.”

This install is powered and delivered on Control4 using premium quality equipment from Snap One brands, including Triad matrix switchers, Episode amplifiers, and Araknis network switches, all neatly housed in two rack enclosures in purpose-built outbuildings. Underground fiber optic cables link back to the main house to unify the house and garden into one easily controllable system. The homeowners can manage all connected technologies, indoors and outdoors, via their existing Control4 interface on touchscreens or mobile devices. Finally, Elements monitor and manage all the technology inside and outside the house using the OvrC remote platform.

“Episode was the perfect choice for this project,” adds Hollis. “The audio quality and flexibility is great and, with the main house already being Control4 operated, we could seamlessly extend and retain the familiar, easy-to-use control platform for the family. Episode Landscape Satellite speakers blend well with the surroundings and are robust enough to be cleaned by the gardeners’ power wash every day. This is an on-going project and will develop further as more areas of the garden are landscaped, so it was vital that the solution was scalable to add more zones in the future. It’s already a large-scale outdoor integration, yet easy to use, update and monitor — ticking all the right boxes for me, the client, his family, and friends.”

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