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All You Need To Know About Outdoor Speakers and External Sound Systems

From Interior To Alfresco Audio

More and more homeowners are exploring the ways in which audio can be transported into exterior spaces through the installation of Outdoor Speakers or Garden Sound Systems. Ranging from traditional On-Wall models to more subtle units that can integrate seamlessly into your existing garden setup, there are solutions to suit all needs.

When implementing an External Sound System, it is important to consider the number of speakers needed, their design and placement as well as the size of the exterior space. This article will introduce the different types of Outdoor Speakers available, to help you start to think about which option will work best for your particular set-up.

On wall outdoor speakers


On-Wall Speakers offer the most traditional solution to installing an Outdoor Sound System.

This type of Outdoor Speaker tends to be provided with bespoke mounting brackets. These brackets easily allow the speakers to be fitted onto exterior walls, either vertically or horizontally, and to be angled in the desired direction.

There are also designs available which allow the speakers to be installed across corners, or into the angle between the soffit – the underside of an external surface – and the wall. It is usually recommended that On-Wall Speakers be installed high up under any available eaves. Any higher than 3 meters, however, would limit their ability to provide sound to the area below. This placement will help to protect the speakers from temperamental outdoor weather conditions.

Monitor Audio Outdoor Speaker


In many ways, On-Wall speakers resemble conventional Hi-Fi speakers. The properties of On-Wall Outdoor Speakers are similar to Bookshelf Speakers. One important difference is the adaptations made to the speaker driver – the circular surface behind the front grille that produces the sound – and to the speaker cabinet – or speaker enclosure. These have been specially designed to withstand the higher levels of moisture and humidity typically found in outdoor environments. This ensures that the speakers are durable which is a critical feature when considering Outdoor Audio.

As well as this, it is usually quite easy to de-install On-Wall Speakers over the Winter months if they are unlikely to be used much during this period. This way, they can be stored somewhere dry and reinstalled for use during Summer.

On-Wall Speakers are classified as passive speakers. This means that, as well as the speaker units themselves, an additional amplifier and speaker cable are needed to provide power.

To read more about the difference between passive and active speakers, check out this short paragraph on how How Ceiling Speakers are Powered and Controlled.


Here are a few examples of our most popular On-Wall Outdoor Speakers:

Speakercraft oe5 one

SpeakerCraft OE5 One – With a 5-inch bass driver and a 25mm tweeter, a pair of these will fill your garden with high-quality audio.


Speakercraft 0e6 dt one

SpeakerCraft OE6 DT One – Should you just want to have one on-wall speaker for stereo sound this model features two tweeters for left and right channels along with a 6.5-inch bass driver to guarantee a quality audio experience.


Soffit Ceiling Speakers


A considerably different option for your Outdoor Sound System would be In-Ceiling or Soffit Speakers. In-Ceiling Speakers are a relatively recent addition to the Outdoor Speaker market. Like On-Wall Speakers, In-Ceiling Speakers can be fitted with white mesh grilles to offer a more discreet solution.

These are designed to be fully weatherproof for installation into soffit boards or any other sheltered horizontal outdoor surfaces. In-Ceiling speakers use similar speaker drivers to conventional speakers designed for indoor use. Importantly, these speaker drivers have been adapted to ensure that they can withstand the rigours of external weather conditions.

Much like On-Wall Speakers, In-Ceiling Speakers are also passive speakers. This means that they require a separate amplifier and speaker cable to provide power.

To read more about the difference between passive and active speakers, check out this short paragraph on how How Ceiling Speakers are Powered and Controlled.

A few examples of In-Ceiling Speakers are:

Monitor Audio AWC265

Monitor Audio AWC265 – Featuring a 6.5 inch bass driver and a 25mm tweeter, as well as being IP 55 rated, a pair of these would provide high quality audio for your patio.


Q Install QI 65CWST IPX4

Q Install QI 65CW IPX4 ST – If there isn’t enough room for two in-ceiling speakers in your soffit then this model is able to provide high quality audio through its dual 25mm tweeters. It is also IPX4 rated.


In Ground Outdoor Speakers


A third option for your Outdoor Speaker System is In-Garden and Underground Speakers.

Rock Speakers for Garden Lithe

Many of the Speakers in this category are referred to as ‘rock speakers’ due to their enclosure being disguised as a rock or boulder. Barely noticeable amongst flower beds, their camouflage offers a discreet option that blends seamlessly within your garden environment.

In-Garden speakers are available in a variety of different shapes, shades and sizes, making it possible to integrate audio into any garden landscape. This type of speaker must be connected by a specific outdoor speaker cable. The cable can be buried directly into the ground or protected in a plastic casing which will maintain the illusion of invisible outdoor audio.

Much like On-Wall and In-Ceiling Speakers, most In-Garden Speakers are passive speakers and need an external amplifier and speaker cable to provide power. There are, however, some active models available which simply require a direct power supply. These active models can then be connected to via Bluetooth from any device.

Some great rock speakers options are:

Speakercraft ruckus6 one

SpeakerCraft Ruckus6 One – A speaker designed to blend in visually outdoors and provide quality sound that rivals most indoor speakers.


Q Install QI65LW

Q Install QI 65LW – Featuring an impressive 6.5-inch bass driver and 25mm tweeter this discreet rock speaker is able to provide a full and clear sound even at high volumes, making it perfectly suited for your garden.

Lithe Audio Rock Speaker

Lithe Audio Bluetooth Garden Rock Speaker – Combining the unique rock design with a built-in amplifier, this speaker is perfect as a standalone garden audio solution. With Bluetooth connectivity built-in, all you need to do is connect using your device and you are ready to go!


Subwoofer In-garden in-ground

While active In-Garden models can be used on their own, passive speakers can also be accompanied by an outdoor subwoofer.

Outdoor subwoofer models are also designed to be disguised, or buried subtly into the ground. These Subwoofers provide the lowest frequencies of the audio track to ensure that the full range is diffused throughout the space.

In Ground Planted Speakers

An In-Garden alternative to ‘rock speakers’ are satellite In-Garden Speakers. These can be installed onto trees or any other appropriate surface.

This type of In-Garden Speaker has been designed to work alongside an outdoor subwoofer, as on their own the audio is likely to sound lightweight. Rather than the 8 OHM low impedance system that tends to be used for residential audio projects, some Satellite In-Garden Speakers work on a 100v system. This means that a larger number of speakers can be connected together to efficiently project sound further over a larger area.

Great examples of in-ground and pendant speakers are:

Speakercraft og three

SpeakerCraft OG THREE – A unique speaker that can be hidden anywhere in the garden. Provides great mid and high frequencies but would be complemented by an underground subwoofer due to its size.


Monitor Audio CLG140

Monitor Audio CLG140 – A versatile model that can be placed discreetly in the ground or even mounted on a tree! Guarantees high quality mid/high-level frequencies but would sound best when combined with an underground subwoofer.


Marine Speakers


Marine Speakers are specifically designed to endure the unpredictable water and weather conditions of life on a boat. This type of Speaker is designed with heavy-duty materials such as plastic cones, rubber surrounds and water-resistant metal grilles. These materials ensure that these Speakers can survive the harsh elements of the marine environment. Importantly, the durability of these components does not compromise either the clarity or volume of audio produced.


Portable Outdoor Speakers


The final option for transporting audio outside arrives in the form of Portable Speakers.

With battery life tending to range from 10-20 hours, Portable Speakers offer a versatile and stylish solution to external sound.

UE Wonderboom 2 water resistant speaker

This type of Speaker can be easily connected to via Bluetooth from any device. Given the relative size of Portable Speakers, they boast a surprising high-quality audio clarity. Many Portable Speaker models offer an option to pair with nearby speakers to simultaneously play the same audio track. In this way, a larger sound system can be created.

With Portable Speakers, the possibilities of different shapes and colours are endless.

Some Portable Speakers are specifically adapted to be waterproof – the UE Wonderboom 2, for example, can even float in water.

A few options of our favourite Portable Speakers:

SONOS-MOVE Sonos Move – Featuring a long-lasting battery of up to 10 hours, carry handle, Bluetooth connectivity, voice control over Wifi and IP56 rated weatherproofing, the Sonos Move has everything you need from a portable outdoor speaker. However, if you want a speaker that you can stick in your luggage often, the following products might be a better choice.



jbl charge 3JBL Charge 3 -If you want a big, bold sound and energetic bass the JBL Charge 3 it’s the perfect choice. It features a IPX7 waterproof design and 20 hours battery life.


 jbl charge 4JBL Charge 4 -With a whopping 20 hours of playback, this portable water-reisistant speaker is little five-star performer and it come in many colours.



jbl flip 5JBL FLIP 5 -If you don’t mind the 

lack of aux-in port or inbuilt microphone the Flip 5 is a portable outdoorsy Bluetooth speaker that sounds good and, with its IPX7 waterproof design, will bring fearless outdoor entertainment.



Ears Wonderboom 2Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 -The Wonderboom 2 cements Ultimate Ears’ reputation for creating cute, brilliant-sounding portable speakers. With 13-hour battery life, it’s the ideal portable outdoor speaker for any al-fresco extravaganza, while an IP67 rating means it won’t freak out if you drop it in a pool.

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