Automating my garage door opener and a few starter things--advice needed

I am a veteran of old X10 world.
Starting over and have 3 devices I want to control for my start and have advice that smartthings is the way to go.

Guess I need a brain and will read up.

Where I am getting stuck is I dont have a clear picture of a good cheap contact closure device. I theorize that once you get the brain, there is a phone ap that you assign addresses to (like a contact closure, a light dimmer and an outdoor ac plug). Seems you have to shop around to find these devices. Can anyone recommend good basic stuff? I am finding the process of figuring this out quite a long task and have anxiety that what I buy will not work like I want. X10 was easy. They had a solution that they sold for almost everything…the tech is just not working with Wifi and that seems to be the fun future.

Here is my shopping list.
Basic brain - would be nice if it could accept commands from a phone and voice interface sounds like the way to go as well.

Light dimmer switch that works well with common standard LED bulbs.

Contact Closure for my garage door opener.

In line AC switches for outdoor.

In line AC dimmers for outdoor.

Yeah, putting up Christmas lights and buying the cheap common solution at CTC would be a quick fix…but it seems I will dispose of them once I get some automation stuff…so no time like the present.

Hope someone can get me pointed i right direction


SmartThings hub is your brain, Go Control/Linear/Iris gd00z-4 for Garage, GE z-wave summers for switches and GE zwave outdoor switch for outdoor plugs. All can be found on amazon or at Lowe’s.

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Assuming your garage door openers are compatible…then you need these to automate the garage doors:

Smartthings hub:

Multipurpose Sensor:

GoControl garage door controller:

That’s all you need to get the garage doors integrated into your smart home ecosystem.

Now if you want to control christmas lights…you have lots of options:

“Plug In” style for interior:

Installed outlet:

Outdoor outlet:

Any one of those will integrate with the hub and let you run automated routines based upon pretty much any trigger you can think of!

The go Control until comes with a tilt sensor, so you don’t need the multi sensor for the garage.

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You’ve got lots of good advice already, the following might also be of interest. The light switch discussion starts around post 40 in the following thread (this is a clickable link)