Technology has made its way from inside our homes, where it controls, monitors and manages our lighting, security, heating and cooling and appliances, to our yards, where it keeps lawns flawlessly coiffed, plants perfectly watered and give insights into what will grow best in certain areas. Whether you live in the more temperate climate of Palo Alto or in Los Gatos where temperatures can soar in summer, these devices can help your garden thrive while minimizing maintenance and boosting water conservation.
These three smart garden gadgets bring the latest technology to the outdoors, bringing your yard to life in an entirely new and environmentally sustainable way.
These devices are placed in the ground and gather data on sunlight exposure, moisture and humidity levels along with soil quality. It then cross references those specific statistics with meteorological information and an extensive database of plants to arrive at a list of what foliage will thrive best in that location and the ideal time to plant.
The pioneer in the smart garden monitor arena is Edyn, a WiFi-connected sensor with an app that connects the device and its data with your smartphone. Edyn also offers a smart water valve that connects directly to existing water systems to deliver the appropriate amount of moisture for each area as determined by the sensor.
High tech sprinklers systems like those from Rachio and Blossom have built-in instrumentation to measure soil moisture, turning on and off your irrigation systems as needed. This maintains proper hydration levels and eliminates both over and under watering.
Both of these top-performing WiFi-enabled systems are easy to install, connecting to your existing sprinkler system by replacing the original control panel. The Rachio system is EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certified and claims to reduce water usage up to 50%. This can result in significant savings as the EPA shows that the average household uses 1/3 of its water for landscaping. Rachio has the capability to set up custom water zones and also unites with the Amazon Echo, Google Home or Nest system to allow verbal communication of commands.
Smart Lawn Mowers
An outdoor version of smart vacuums the likes of the Roomba, smart lawn mowers peruse your yard, keeping your lawn neatly trimmed as they navigate all types of terrain and obstacles. The leading smart mower is Husqvarna’s Automower, which comes in different models for all yard sizes. It’s GPS capability creates a map of your yard, guided by boundary wires. The three-piece system includes the mower, charging station and boundary wire, which is best installed professionally. When batteries run low, the mower returns to the charging station, where the unit powers up and sets off again.
The Automower moves in a random pattern and once the lawn has been cut to the desired height, the mower continues to maintain the neatly trimmed lawn. Clippings are minimal and don’t require clean up but instead help nourish your grass. Frequent mowing also inhibits weed growth. The mower can easily be controlled from your phone, where you can set mow times. In fact, the unit is so quiet, you can even have it function at night without disturbing neighbors. Tough it has built-in safety measures, pet and small children should be monitored when the mower is in use.
Another impressive feature is the Automower’s built-in theft deterrent system. A PIN code is required for operation and each mower works specifically with it’s charging station. The boundary wires create a geo-fence and an alarm will sound if the unit is taken across its periphery or if the PIN is entered incorrectly.
Click here to watch a video about the Automower.
If making your home as efficient and maintenance free as possible appeals to you, these three smart gadgets are a worthwhile investment to making your garden grow.