The Smartest Way to Irrigate Your Lawn
Linking your irrigation timer to an automation system can yield a healthier landscape.
August 18, 2010 by Lisa Montgomery

Budding horticulturists, listen up!

One of the easiest, most efficient ways to maintain a lush, healthy landscape is by linking your existing irrigation system to an automation processor.

Establishing and modifying a watering schedule will be quick, painless and you won’t need to pull out an owner’s manual to figure it out. Plus, you’ll be able to automate the irrigation routine based on certain parameters, like the current weather conditions and the amount of rainfall.

If the weather forecast for the afternoon is sunny and 95 degrees, the automation system can temporarily override the schedule, and resume when a sensor detects that it’s cooler—a better time to give your plants a drink.

And here’s the best part: If your automation system includes a touchpanel, you’ll be able to view the various watering zones of your landscape and make adjustments on the fly. Maybe you’d like to water the roses for 15 minutes instead of 30? No problem. Just touch the area on the screen that represents your rose bed, get into the schedule and adjust.

Automating an irrigation system is best left to a custom electronics professional (CE pro), as it will usually require extensive programming, wiring and design work to get the two systems to talk openly. The CE pros at Grand Home Automation, Grand Rapids, Mich., recently did this to help the owners of a large, beautifully landscaped yard fine tune the irrigation of 36 individual zones.

“The zones are based on specific plant types,” explains project manager Russell Wolfe. “By being able to see every zone on a single touchpanel page, the owners can pick and choose which zones to water and which zones to not water. Plus, they have immediate control over a zone’s on and off watering times.” 

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

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