One of the first things you should do is to automate your lights in your house. It is so convenient and affordable that you have no excuse not to do so. The same applies to the garden, where you are using the lights even less and switching them on and off is not always easy.

This routine is part of the Automation Bank, a community-driven list of over 50 practical automation ideas for your smart home. Read more about Automation Bank or search ideas by room, by device or by use case. Also, have a look at best home automation ideas as voted by our users.

How Does It Work?

  • You can select one of there triggers to switch on the lights:
    • Motion / Door Sensors – if you only want to have your lights when you are in the garden, integrate the lights with the sensors at your garden door or motion sensors
    • Time: If you want your lights to be on every day at certain time
    • Sunset: This is probably the most recommended trigger as it will only switch the lights when it is dark
  • Conditions: Only works when somebody is at home
  • For trigger to switch off the lights the options are broadly the same:
    • If no motion for certain period of time
    • At certain time
    • With the “Go To Sleep” routine

What Do You Need?

DeviceOur RecommendationPrice

IR hub

A dedicated bridge
that emulates your
IR remote
$10 - $30

Comms Sticks

Use Z-wave and Zigbee with your smart hub
$40 - $50

Home Assistant Server

Use Z-wave and Zigbee with your smart hub
  • If you are new to Home Assistant, start with Raspberry Pi 3 B+ ($79.99). It will cover your basic needs and easily expand. 
  • Intel NUC NUC8i3BEK, i3 (8GB Ram + 128GB SSD) ($44.95) once you understand how cool Home Assistant is, go for NUC. There are dedicated images for NUC which makes it great to use and simple to set up. 
$80 - $400

RF hub

RF bridge that emulates your Remote


  • Sonoff RF Bridge ($23.85) is our favourite RF bridge. The first thing you need to do is to flash it with Tasmota. This will allow you to connect to your bridge but also just control the bridge better.
$20 - $30

Shut off valve

A valve that will close and open water supply
  • leakSMART Water Leak Detection Kit ($280.75) is a more expensive option. It has all you need to set you up shut off valve. There are some negative comments on the hub but it works well in general.
  • Grohe 22503LN0 ($515.00) is even more expensive. For the additional price, you have flow sensors capable to detect the pipe bursts without the sensors and better overall build quality. At the same, it has fewer options for integrating with your smart hub.
$99 - $400

Door/Window Sensor

Reports if a door or window is open or closed
  • Zigbee:  SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor ($19.99) is the best sensor by Samsung. Reliable, good battery life and looks amazing
  • Z-wave:  Z-Wave Door & Window Sensor ($29.15) is the sensor we recommend by Ecolink. It is easy to install, has up to 3 years of battery life and great customer feedback
$20 - $30

Motion Sensor 

Detects any motion. Ideally combined with luminance sensor.
A relatively simple device, with the price mainly dependent on the protocol you are using:
  • Zigbee Motion Sensor: SmartThings sensor (Price not available) is the best for its price and stability.
$25 - $60


Measure several environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, or light levels
This is a more complicated device than a motion sensor and can be used where multiple environmental factors need to be detected:
  • Z-wave: Our favourite z-wave sensor is Aeon 6 in 1 ($59.99) for its reliability and flexibility in use. It detects motion, humidity, temperature, light lux, UV, vibration sensor and has 2-year battery life
  • Zigbee: Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor ($19.99) give you open/close, vibration, orientation, angle (tilt), and temperature measures for multipurpose functionality
    $20 - $60

    Water leak detector

    A sensor that will trigger the shut-off valve to work
    • Samsung Leak Detector (Price not available) is the most affordable and simple solution. At this price, you should cover all the areas in your house. Requires A Smart Hub
    • FIBARO Flood Sensor ($49.99) is a very good Z-wave leak detector. It has great battery life, easy to pair and very accurate at alarms. Requires A Smart Hub
    $20 - $55


    Allows you to remotely switch on and off. Can be retrofitted to any existing devices. 
    • Wifi outlet: Kasa Smart WiFi Plug (price for 2 - $22.00) is the best for price and local connectivity.
    $20 - $35

    Plug with Energy Monitoring

    Reports the power consumption
      $23 - $32

      Smart Color Bulb

      A colour bulb you can remotely control 

      $24 - $35

      White Bulb

      Practical bulb that would work for majority of use cases
      $10 - $20

      Switch US

      Switch to turn on and off lights. Require neutral wire in the box.
      $30 - $45

      Voice assistant:

      AI driven device that can respond to voice commands

      There is no right answer which Voice Assistant to choose, but we have the following recommendations:

      • The most comprehensive: Amazon Alexa ($99.99) has a lot to offer. Zigbee radio means potentially one hub less (although we still recommend getting a dedicated hub). It also has the biggest ecosystem to tap into (including Ring, Phillips Hue, TP-link)
      • The most intelligent: Google Home is using the brains behind the biggest search engine in the world to deliver the best answers for your questions. It is definitely more capable compared to Alexa

      Smart Blinds

      Motorised shades that automatically open and close the blinds
      Read more: Best Motorized Blinds
      $40 - $279

      Smart Buttons

      A convenient way to trigger routines and specific actions
      $8 - $50

      Irrigation System

      Make sure your plants are always watered
      $180 - $220

      Outdoor Lights

      Lightning for your garden protected from water
      $49 - $70

      Smart TRV

      Thermo Regulator Valve that can be controlled remotely
      $60 - $200

      Outdoor Outlets

      Protected plugs for outdoors

      Outdoor Cameras

      Cameras that would work well outdoors
      • Best Overall Outdoor Camera: Amcrest UltraHD 4MP Outdoor POE Camera (Price not available) is a great quality outdoor camera. It has 4k resolution making it perfect for large outdoor areas. It is ONVIF protocol compliant making it easy to connect to almost any NVR
      More: Detailed Review of 4 Best Outdoor Cameras

      Outdoor Sensors

      Protected sensors for your garden
      HomeSeer HS-FLS100+ Z-Wave Plus Outdoor Floodlight Sensor ($49.95) is a AC powered motion and lightning sensor. It would work with your smart home but also control floodlights.$40

      Moisture Sensor

      Reports the level of humidity

      Security Alarm System

      System to alarm you of any unauthorized entry to your house
      $89 - $300

      Robot Vacuum

      Little helper to clean your house
      • Best Overall: iRobot Roomba 690 ($418.85) for great value, good quality and connectivity to all major smart hubs

      How To Set It Up?

      Section below will have step by step instructions how to set this automation routine in the most popular smart hubs like SmartThings, Home Assistant, HomeSeer and Hubitat

      Please leave comments below if you have any questions, or interested in the instruction for a specific system. This will help us to better focus our effort.

      Last update on 2020-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API