The Lavender Automation Adventure - Now with updates!

Hello all,

I figured it would be totally fun to start a small posting here to chronicle my journey into home automation using ST. I will be mirroring this post on my own site as well.

I started off with the SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit. At $149 with their current offer, it was too good to pass up.

The first addition I am adding is the Kwikset 910 Contemporary SmartCode Deadbolt. The second thing I will be doing is automating the low voltage lighting I am installing in our backyard.

I will keep the updates coming as they happen.


My wife (Jess) has been out of the country for the last week for work. Before leaving, I got the idea that I wanted to do something big in the backyard for her before she got back. This project then ended up landing into my automation plans when the ST Home Monitoring Kit went on sale.

I am a huge fan of landscape lighting. I had done a small project in our front yard, which now is going to get an update very soon. We are always talking about our backyard and how we want it to be a pleasant place to hang out. I got to work.


The overall idea was simple. Give Jess a place to relax, plant some flowers/bushes, and make the backyard something neighbors would envy from their drab sad backyards.

Out backyard runs about 60ft across which was more than enough room to do something simple and elegant. Below is the result.


Day one

All my ducks in a row.

I found a large Texas paver buried under grass where the previous owners had built something. I figured rather than getting rid of it, I would go ahead and use it.

A nice pano of the backyard finished.

I decided to place lights on the sections that face our yard and leave the others blank. I ended up with one light on each side on the sides where the fence turns.

The fountain I put in is nothing spectacular. Its small enough that it doesnt take up a lot of space. I may end up putting in a bigger parted out fountain in the future. I found a large Texas paver burried under grass where the previous owners had built something. I figured rather than getting rid of it, I would go ahead and use it.

The hanging porch lights, were a ‘on a whim’ purchase made several weeks ago while we were shopping for a new headboard. They were on clearance so we picked up four boxes. This ended up being pretty much perfect in terms of reach around the porch.

The part I have cultivated / tilled, is about 50ft long. The previous owners had this tiny little squared off spot with a small fountain. I am going to re-purpose that and put in a new fountain. There will be one spot light per section of the fence shining against the fence itself.

The low-voltage lights are connected to a GE wireless control module. I have them setup to turn on at sunset and off and sunrise. I love that I can just hit a button and turn them on whenever I want.


Easyflex No Dig Edging - 100ft - $49.99
Moonrays 95431 120-Watt Power Pack for Outdoor Low Voltage Lighting w/ Light-Sensor & Rain-Tight Case - $38.83
Moonrays 95557 1-Watt Low Voltage LED Outdoor Landscape Metal Spot Light Fixture, Black (Pack of 2) - $21.49
Coleman Cable 095136208 12/2 Low Voltage Lighting Cable, 100-Feet - $37.59
GE Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control Outdoor Module - $34.99
Garden Treasures 21.41-in Resin Rock Waterfall Fountain


Sun Joe TJ603E 16-Inch 12-Amp Electric Tiller and Cultivator - $124.32

Total cost: $406.21
Total time: Three days


The Kwikset lock will be in tomorrow, so I will be installing that and getting it setup.

I went to install a GE zwave switch in our kitchen so I could automate the kitchen lights turning on when we are coming home. At first I didnt see a neutral wire as the regular switch that was installed doesnt need one. After putting everything back, I realized that the neutral wire was probably stuffed in the back of the switch box. I will be pulling that off again tomorrow to see if it is in fact there.


We have a switch that controls the back porch overhead lights. I would like to replace that switch with something like the Levition VRCZ4-M0Z. This would turn on the overhead lights if needed, but also switch the low-voltage lights on along with the overhead hanging lights. If someone has a better suggestion for a switch like this, please let me know.

The low-voltage lights we have in the front of the house will be updated to be part of our ST network as well.

I will be installing the GoControl/Linear GD00Z-4 Z-Wave Garage Door Opener Remote Controller.

I love the idea of the garage door opening when we are right around the corner from the house.

1 Like