Illustration: Jed Morfit
If you're still carting a boom box out to the deck so you can flip burgers to music, it's time to consider the advantages of built-in outdoor audio. Think of how nice it would be to enjoy high-fidelity sound anywhere on your property, without worrying about batteries or extension cords or having to drag yourself out of the hammock every time you need to change the CD.

Today's rugged, all-weather sound systems are easier than ever to incorporate into your landscape, whether it's a couple of box-type speakers mounted on the outside of the house, or cleverly disguised versions hidden in planters at poolside. "Outdoor speaker companies have really tweaked and perfected the technology and the products," says Scott Trusty, a residential audio/video consultant and installer based in Stamford, Connecticut. "The quality's gotten a lot better, and the components last forever."

The key to any system's longevity is speakers that can take a beating from Mother Nature. There are two basic types of all-weather speakers: simple bookshelf-type models wrapped in protective casings, and stealth speakers that masquerade as garden rocks, flowerpots, even benches. Although they're made to be left out year-round, outdoor speakers will last longer and look better if installed in a sheltered area, such as under the eaves for box-type speakers or, in the case of rocks and planters, protected by natural cover like trees and bushes.

Ask TOH users about Home Technology

Contribute to This Story Below