There’s no reason the interior of your house should receive all of high-tech attention. This summer, think about also making your yard smart by incorporating some innovative products. We’ve compiled a list of time-saving, enjoyment-inducing items for your next outdoor project. Most are able to be installed by homeowners, so you’ll be able to tackle the installation whenever you have some spare time.
Husqvarna Robotic Lawn Mower
In `1995, Husqvarna Group created the first robotic lawn mower powered by solar energy. Since that time, the company has sold more than 1 million robotic lawn mowers. Continual advancements to the technology have made robotic lawn mowers completely autonomous. You set up a mowing schedule on your smartphone, and the lawn mower does the rest, even returning to its charging station on its own when it’s running low on power… which by the way, consumes significantly less energy than a standard mower. It’s also a lot quieter, meaning you can even mow at 6 a.m. without disturbing the neighbors. Husqvarna robotic lawn mowers start at about $2,000.
Skydrop Sprinkler Controller
If you already own a lawn irrigation system and don’t want to spend the money to swap it out for a smarter system, Skydrop offers a solution that can be added to any existing lawn watering system. The Skydrop timer/intelligent hub installs in place of the existing system’s timer. Using the cloud and advanced algorithms, the Skydrop calculates exactly how water each zone of your yard needs, based on local temperature, wind speed, solar radiation, humidity, and precipitation. You can access it via Wi-Fi from an app on your smartphone to set up watering schedules and to integrate Skydrop with other smart home devices, like Nest thermostat, security system, lighting, and more. Skydrop was hosting a Mother’s Day special, so you might still be able to pick up a unit for $199. If not, expect to pay $299.
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Kuna Outdoor Light
The Coach light from Kuna might look like an ordinary light you would install on the exterior of your home, but hidden inside is also a 720p video camera, 100dB siren, microphone, and a motion sensor. These technologies enable the light to detect activity, push an instant notification to your phone, open up a two-way intercom, play a pre-recorded message, and sound a siren if necessary. Oh, and you can also access the light remotely from your phone. $199.
Add-A-Motor Patio Umbrella Motor
If you’ve raced out into a sudden storm to close the patio umbrella more times than you care to remember, a contraption from Add-a-Motor could be your new best friend. The $79.95 device attaches to the upper end of the umbrella pole. Plugged into a nearby AC outlet, the motor responds to commands issued from a handheld remote. The remote has a 40-foot range that penetrates glass so you can open and close the umbrella from inside your house.
Insolroll and Somfy Motorized Patio Shading
A smart yard should not only think for itself, but feel comfortable to its occupants. In the summertime, this means shade and insect repellent. Screens and awnings can provide relief—even more so when these amenities can be easily controlled via a remote or tied into a home automation system. Insolroll offers a variety of patio screens to keep out the sun and the bugs; Somfy offers awnings that roll in and out depending on the position of the sun. Both Insolroll and Somfy shading solutions can be integrated with a home automation system, so you don’t even need to push a button to make things happen. Instead they can adjust their positions based on the time of day, the intensity of the sun, or if the security system is armed or disarmed.
Netgear Orbi Outdoor Wi-Fi
To stay connected to smart devices—both inside and outside your home—you’ll need a strong, reliable wireless network. A number of weatherproof wireless access points are available to extend Wi-Fi coverage to the yard. The newest way to network—and that effectively reaches into the yard—is with a mesh networking system. One that consistently receives high ratings is the Orbi from Netgear. Like other mesh networking solutions, it’s designed to be installed and configured by homeowners.
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