About the Space

Our backyard has a concrete patio.  A previous owner added it, ostensibly to install a hot tub, though the hot tub never seemed to have been put in.  We have always used the patio for furniture.  

The cafe lights were added after a rehabilitation of the backyard.  We remodeled a part of the house and during the construction the backyard was trampled upon, used for storage and generally neglected for about 18 months.  The backyard had gone from a nice, water wasting, grass filled area to a dilapidated dirt pile.  We worked with landscaper to design and clean up the backyard.


We wanted to improve the concrete patio and decided to add some cafe lights to frame the space.  After looking at some ideas and options on how to hang the lights in the middle of the space, we used DIY project from HomeDepot's site.

DIY: String Light Poles
Brighten your backyard with these DIY string light poles. Using concrete, lumber and string lights, you can illuminate your yard in style. For more informati...

We purchased a set of Enbrighten Cafe Lights to use for the lighting.  The string has 24 lights across 48 feet of cabling.  The Cafe Lights have a remote control to turn it on/off or change the colors.  

Enbrighten Vintage Seasons Color Changing Cafe Lights
Set the perfect mood for every occasion with Enbrighten Seasons LED color changing cafe lights – celebrate holidays, cheer on your favorite teams, or enjoy a...

Home Automation

Although the cafe lights have a remote control to turn the lights on and off and change the colors, the lights retain their state when power is removed and reapplied to the lights.  If the lights are powered on with the remote and power is removed, it will turn back on when power is applied once again.

Keeping the automation simple, I use a GE Outdoor ZWave Plug.  A common plug I have used for the outdoor automations elsewhere.  The longest active plug of this brand has been in use for 7 years with most of them being 3 or 4 years old at this point. The only issue I have had with any of these plugs is that the little plug cover eventually wears down from the weather and falls off.  

Event Trigger Event
Scheduled @ 30 minutes before sunset Turn On
Scheduled @ midnight Turn Off

The event triggers are just kept to a schedule.   Keeping it at 30 minutes before sunset ensures that it is on before darkness sets in or when it is an overcast day.  Midnight is an optimum time to turn it off since it is with a 95% confidence that we will not in the backyard after midnight.


While they are automated to turn on and off, there are times when it is necessary to manually change their state. They are exposed to HomeKit in the Backyard room.

What's Next / What's Missing

The Enbrighten Cafe Lights come with a remote control that enables changing the colors of the lights or setting them to one of many preset color rotations.  At the moment, they do not provide any out of the box solution to automate or program the color selection.  My hardware hacking skills are not up to snuff, so I will have to wait for Enbrighten to develop some programmable remote or another company to offer something similar.