Is it okay to leave outdoor speakers outside all year?

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I want to put some outdoor speakers in my gazebo. Is it okay to leave them in there all year round? ―Cathy Robinson, via e-mail

Absolutely. Outdoor speakers, designed to withstand Ma Nature’s four-season onslaught, are widely available. You’ll need the proper wiring: Ideally, says Lindsay Lipton, owner of Liptons Audio Video Unlimited in Newmarket, this is burial-grade cable. “It’s extra-thick shielded, so it won’t deteriorate.” Run the wires to the speakers below ground, not above. If you can’t―if your property is too rocky, for example―one option is to get wireless speakers, says Lipton. (You’d have to take these inside to recharge their batteries, though.)

You’ll also want to consider what David Johann, owner of David’s Muskoka Audio Video Unlimited, calls “ease of use.” Say you’re chilling outside, and a Justin Bieber jam comes on. Time to pump up the volume! “You might not want to walk all the way back to the cottage to do that,” says Johann. Instead, you can outfit your system with add-on components that allow you to adjust the sound, change the radio station, or turn the whole business off from the gazebo.

Speaking of sound―as anyone who’s ever tried to fall asleep during a neighbour’s all-night kegger knows―it travels. Especially over water.

“You want to keep that sound intimate,” says Johann, by, for example, mounting the speakers to the gazebo’s interior timbers, tilted downwards, so they don’t blast out across the water.

“Well, unless you’re really trying to rock the dock,” says Lipton. “And then hopefully your neighbours are invited.