Decide how many speakers you might need for great sound coverage.
In your family room, you have four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. However, your outdoor area may not have any walls or ceiling and might be 20x the size of your living room. We find that you can break down outdoor entertaining areas into a few different types, and for each type, one or two outdoor sound applications might work well. If your area comprises different types of spaces, you may even need to combine different outdoor speaker designs to get the best outcome.
Covered or Screen Porch - Outdoor Speakers
The most flexible space for outdoor music is a covered or screen porch. In-ceiling speakers now come in marine versions, so if you are building or remodeling, this might be something to consider for your porch. The primary advantage to in-ceiling marine speakers is that they install seamlessly into your ceiling so they look the best from an aesthetics standpoint.
Another great option is outdoor speakers that mount to the wall, the floor, or parts of your decking. These are box-based speakers that generally have the advantage of better bass and the ability to adjust their orientation so you can point them in any direction. If you go to our full list of outdoor speakers, you will see a host of different outdoor box marine speakers that passed our tests.
Outdoor speakers look similar to an indoor speaker but are made out of plastic with weatherproofing and are usually rounded to allow water to run off. Typically most brands of outdoor speakers are available in a black or white finish. If your porch has walls on three of its sides and is under about 20 ft in length, you will probably be fine with one pair of in-ceiling or outdoor speakers. If your porch is long and open on each end, the sound is going to escape more easily and you may need two pairs to get good coverage.
Another option is something like the Sonos Move. One or two of these can cover an average-sized screened porch very well and they are weather resistant so you could leave them under an outdoor roof. You can run a single Move or use two for a stereo pair. Another great feature Sonos products have is the ability to group zones of speakers, allowing them to play the same song. With this feature, you would actually group several Move’s together to cover a pretty large area. However, the Move and other portable outdoor speakers require power and recharging so they are not as finished an option as in-ceiling or on-the-wall speakers.