How to Install Outdoor Speakers Under Eaves and Overhangs

After entertaining the idea of enjoying audio outside at home for some time, you have finally made the decision to go for it. Congratulations on your set of outdoor-rated (i.e. weatherproof) speakers! Unless you're accustomed to this type of speaker installation, it can seem like a daunting task. Thankfully, it's not as hard as it sounds. With a bit of planning and some tools, you'll have your favorite music tracks playing across your backyard in no time.

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Position and Mount the Speakers

Lush backyard lawn and illuminated patio at dusk

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Before you start drilling holes or running wires, read the product's instructions! Manufacturers typically provide pertinent information along with a bracket mounting kit. Once you've given the manual a good scan, go and locate some ideal positions to consider. Placing speakers under roof eaves or patio overhangs often offers added protection against sun, wind, and rain. Another benefit is having less wire to run and disguise—important if you prefer that blended, seamless look to connected equipment.

There are a few things to keep in mind as you scout the available space. Try to make sure the speakers are mounted deep to solid material (e.g. wood, brick, stone, concrete) and not just siding, gutters, or thin drywall. This will greatly reduce the chances of having the speakers loosen or fall over time. Place the speakers up high (just out of finger reach, 8-10 ft) and about 10 ft apart from each other. Angle them down slightly. Not only does this focus the sound towards listeners (and not neighbors), but it can assist with water runoff to prevent pooling on the speaker's surfaces.

It's a good idea to test out the outdoor speakers before finalizing, if possible. Location and positioning matter in terms of imaging performance. And all it takes is temporarily setting up the speakers and running cables through an open door to your equipment inside. If it sounds prefect, then mount away!

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Consider a Volume Control Box Before Drilling and Running Wires

Man drilling a hole into a wall

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Unless you like the idea of going all the way back inside the house each time you want to turn the music up/down outside, you'll definitely want a volume control box. It's important to make this decision first, since it can change where you might drill holes to run the audio wires. It can also determine the overall amount of wire needed. A volume control box is easy to mount, connecting between the speakers and receiver/amplifier.

Make sure you have enough wire of the proper gauge. If the estimated distance is 20 ft or less, then 16 gauge should be fine. Otherwise, you'll want to consider using thicker gauges, especially if the speakers are the low impedance kind. And remember that it's total distance traveled and not just a straight line from one component to another; all the little twists and corners count. Be sure to factor in a little bit of slack, too. When in doubt (or if the numbers are too close to call), just go for the thicker gauge wire.

If you have conveniently-located attic vents, then you can push the wire through and navigate it towards the area closest to the receiver/amplifier. If not, or if going through the attic proves to be more trouble than it's worth, then you can drill a small hole into the exterior wall. Don't run wire through windows or doors, since that can lead to damage. And if you want to make things easier on yourself, choose a drill spot that is easily accessible on both sides.

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Connect Cables and Caulk Openings

Man using a caulking gun outside

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With the wires safely navigated from one end to the other, all there's left to do is connect, test, and caulk. This is a good time to consider using banana plugs for the outdoor speakers (if a compatible connection exists). Banana plugs limit the amount of exposed wire, are often more reliable in terms of performance, and are far easier to manage than bare wires. Once everything has been connected, test the system/connections to make sure it's all working properly, especially if you've opted for the volume control box, speaker B switch, or a separate speaker selector switch altogether.

Be sure to leave some slack in the wire to help guide water away from the points of contact. If the length leading to a speaker is taut, then water can flow back into the speaker's terminals and cause potential damage; it's the same with holes drilled in walls. So adjust the wires so that they create a u-shaped dip. Water will follow down and safely drip off the bottom.

Finish up the installation project with some silicone-based caulk. You'll want to seal all drill holes (both sides) to help maintain the house's insulation as well as keep unwanted bugs and pests out.

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