The average American spends about 70 hours a year on lawn and garden care, according to the American Time Use Survey. If you loathe pushing a mower or carting a watering can, those 70 hours can feel like an eternity.
Thankfully, there is a bounty of smart products that can take the drudgery out of yard work. And for those who take pride in their landscapes, these five devices can give your gardening skills an extra edge.
Motion Activated Sprinkler
Deer, rabbits, raccoons, and other animals can destroy a garden; even the neighborhood cats and dogs can make a mess. Rather than stand vigil at your back door, you can let the smart sprinkler from Orbit handle these unwanted visitors. When the Yard Enforcer notices movement, it sprays water in the direction of the animal. It can protect an area as large as 1,600 square feet. $69.99
Smart Weather Station
The health of your garden and lawn hinges largely on the weather. A weather station like the BloomSky2 can help you determine the best times to irrigate your lawn and plantings, when to fertilize and when to yank hanging baskets from the porch due to a heavy wind. It measures temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and precipitation and sends this info to an app on your smartphone.
With the addition of an accessory called Storm, the weather station can also measure and report conditions including rainfall total, wind speed, wind direction and UV.
An integrated camera HD camera captures real-time images of the sky every 5 minutes. At the end of the day, you’ll have a time-lapse recording of the changing weather conditions.
One of the coolest capabilities of the BloomSky2, however, is IFTTT integration. This means you can automate smart devices like thermostats and irrigation systems to react automatically based on weather data gathered by the BloomSky2 weather station. $299.99
The Parrot Flower Power sensor, a rod-shape device you plant into the soil, monitors and analyzes the four parameters essential to your plant’s health: sunlight, air temperature, fertilizer level, and soil moisture.
Whenever the Flower Power detects that your attention is needed, it sends a notification, via Bluetooth Smart, to your smartphone or tablet. It might tell you that your plant needs water or that it is in a spot that is too sunny.
Self-Learning Wi-Fi Sprinkler Controller
The Netro Smart controller gives your existing sprinkler system a brain by using advanced technology to create a watering schedule completely on its own. You won’t need to fiddle with the settings of your sprinkler system because
Netro’s self-learning feature knows what to do. For example, it breaks up the long watering cycles to smaller ones to help water seep slowly into the ground to where it is needed. It also automatically disables watering when temperatures are too high to protect your plants and avoids watering at night which can cause lawns, foliage and plants to be soggy which attracts disease. The winterization feature disables watering during cold temperatures to protect your sprinkler system. Should you want to get involved in the irrigation process, Amazon Alexa and Google Home integration let you command Netro via your voice. $149.99
Robotic Lawn Mower
The Miimo is Honda’s first robotic lawn mower for use in the United States. It a microcomputer, timer and sensors to mow the lawn automatically, based on a schedule you set. It’s quiet enough to have it mow at night, and you can customize cutting intervals based on the season; for example, mow more often during the spring when the grass grows faster and less frequently during dryer summer months.
Miimo offers three main cutting modes; Random, Directional or Mixed: Random is the most effective for mowing large, open areas of grass. Directional is the recommended setting for narrow areas. Mixed is a combination of the Random and Directional pattern.
Two additional cutting options, Spiral and Edge, let you customize the mowing process even more. Spiral enables Miimo to concentrate mowing on areas where the growth speed of the lawn may be faster than the rest of the lawn. Edge mode sends Miimo to mow along the edge of the lawn along the boundary wire first, before mowing the rest of the lawn in the chosen mowing pattern.
This is an expensive mower, so Miimo is equipped with anti-theft protection that will sound an alarm and disengage operation if the mower is lifted from the ground. The unit can only be re-started once the owner enters a unique anti-theft PIN code. $929