UPDATED December 11, 2021 This piece has been updated to reflect the emergence of new technology

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Christian Mathews Security Writer

If you’re concerned about the safety and security of your home, and course, of the entire family, then installing the right security system could be your wisest decision. Wherever you may be or in whatever neighbourhood you are, having a security system installed, like motion sensors for the yard, could make you feel at ease about safety and security. Good to know that you can have a variety of choices to choose from. Motion sensors can form part of the best self-install home security system that fits your needs.

1So, what is a motion sensor?

Motion sensors are devices that are made to detect movement/activity. They are used outdoors or indoors to enhance home security. Once a sensor is tripped, the signal is sent to the control panel or base station of the security system, and then the monitoring company would be notified. 

Depending on your security system, you will be contacted by the monitoring company or local authorities might be dispatched. Additionally, some of the motion sensors out there could be self-installed and come along with professional monitoring. Thus, this would give you the freedom to put them wherever you feel is best in your place. 

2Types of Motion Sensors For Yard

Take note as well that there are various types of motion sensors that you can choose from which include the following:

Passive Infrared or PIR

This one detects body heat or infrared energy. These sensors are the most widely utilized options in home security systems. The motion sensors are activated, once the system is armed. And once the sensor warms up, it could detect movement and heat in the surrounding areas which create a protective grid. 

When a moving object blocks many grid zones and if the infrared energy levels rapidly change, then the sensors are triggered. 

Microwave or MW

This type sends out microwave pulses and measures the reflection of the moving object. The sensor could cover a larger area compared to infrared sensors; however, they are susceptible to electrical interference and this type is a lot more expensive too. 

Dual Technology Motion Sensors

A motion sensor for your yard could have combined features to reduce false alarms. For instance, the PIR sensor might be combined along with a microwave sensor.

Because the two operate in a different spectrum, this dual technology motion sensor might not likely cause false alarms since there is a need for both sensors to be tripped for the alarm to be triggered. But this also doesn’t mean that they couldn’t cause false alarms at all. 


This type measures the reflection of the moving object and sends out pulses of ultrasonic waves. 

Area Reflective Type

This motion sensor emits infrared rays coming from a LED. Using the rays’ reflection, this one measures the distance to the object or person, and it detects once the object is within the designated area. 


This one could be made easily at home or could be purchased too. It merely detects vibration. It uses a small mass on a lever that is activated by a switch to the alarm when it vibrates. Though it might be a bit unreliable, this one could still work well. 

3What Are the Factors to Look For?

And when you’re about to purchase a motion sensor for your yard, certain factors must be considered. Here are those:

Motion Detection Range

Ideal motion sensors could detect specific activity anywhere from as little as 15 feet to over 200 feet which depends on its design. Motion sensors are made to detect home intrusions, however, there are motion sensors for yards to identify visitors. 

Just make sure that you pick the motion sensor having a range that is appropriate for the area that you plan to put it in. And the bigger space means the more sensors that you might need. 


These days, there are motion sensors for the yard which come along with built-in lighting. This feature is used as a deterrence for criminals and lurkers. Once the sensor detects activity, the light is triggered. Most criminals don’t want to draw attention to themselves, so this is a great way to further hinder their efforts. 

Power Source

In most cases, motion sensors are powered by a battery, but there are some which could be solar-powered or power sources. Try avoiding hardwire motion sensors. Once you purchase a camera that needs hardwiring power, motion detection, and surveillance, the installation becomes that much more difficult. 

Installation Type

Most motion sensors are wireless, so it is very easy to install them. However, the installation type would depend on the brand of your choice. Some require professional installation and others are for DIY. 

Siren or Ringtone

Another unique feature that you should look for is the built-in ringtone or siren. You should let the criminals or lurkers notify you that they have been spotted. 

Video Surveillance and Image Capture

The ability to take snapshots or video when sensors are triggered is highly beneficial. That way, you can identify what or who caused the trigger and respond appropriately.

Take note of these factors for you to purchase the right motion sensor that provides the highest assurance of your safety and security. 

4Where to Put the Motion Sensor?

Generally speaking, motion sensors for the yard are mounted in the wall corner or the center of a wall. Most would advise you to put sensors at a certain height above the floor. Avoid putting them facing the window or in an area wherein your pets normally go as well as in non-climate-controlled areas. 

5And How to Install Motion Sensors?

For installation of the wireless motion sensor, here are some of the steps to follow:

  • Consider putting the motion sensor in a high-traffic area. 
  • Clean the area wherein you choose to put the motion sensor using a wipe or a damp paper towel and dry. 
  • Once the sensor is adhesive, remove the paper backing.
  • Hold the sensor in place for about 30 seconds.

Follow these, and you’re all set. You should be ready to test the motion sensor now!


With the importance of a motion sensor in terms of enhancing your home security and safety as well, it is best to know crucial details first before purchasing and installing one. The alternative to a motion sensor, which switches on and off as it is triggered, is a light sensor for outdoor light. This works by switching on and staying on when there is a low level of outside light. It then automatically switches off when it becomes light again.