The path to a more attractive lawn and garden starts with a smart irrigation system. With dynamic weather data, moisture sensors, soil type settings, and automated adjustments, superior lawn care has never been easier.
Use of technology to control residential irrigation systems continues to improve year over year. Traditional irrigation systems, with older-generation controllers, have operated on preset programmed schedules that lack intelligence and thus do not take weather conditions, soil moisture, evaporation or actual conditions into account. These controllers operate on preset schedules, often wasting billions of gallons of water each day worldwide.
Smart irrigation systems, on the other hand, allow you to tailor watering schedules to suit dynamic conditions and landscaping needs. This is possible through the use of sensors that provide on-going feedback to increase water use efficiency and improve the overall health of your lawn and garden.
There are two kinds of smart irrigation systems:
- Soil Moisture-Based
Weather-based smart irrigation controllers use a combination of local weather and on-site data to adjust irrigation schedules. Weather data consists of four parameters: temperature, wind, solar radiation and humidity and is the most accurate method of determining landscape water needs.
Soil moisture sensors used with smart irrigation controllers are buried within the root zone of turf to transmit moisture levels to the controller. These types of sensors work in two ways:
- Irrigation is initiated when the moisture is insufficient
- Irrigation is suspended when there is sufficient moisture
Here are overviews of three systems that give a solid representation of current capabilities for residential irrigation systems. In general, they address the following homeowner needs:
- Cost Savings
- Improved Yard, Plant & Tree Care
- Remote access & Control
Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
Working “at the intersection of residential water and technology”, Rachio of Denver, Colorado, is committed not only to the watering of your landscape, but to the customized treatment of your lawn and flora, with a sustainability and conservationist approach. The company’s technology-enabled watering systems combined with cutting-edge lawn treatments are a combination that, when used together, will actually reduce the amount of watering needed, while improving lawn and plant care.
Rachio’s patented “Water Intelligence” uses advanced weather forecasting that leverages a network of over 300,000 weather stations to take the guesswork out of watering schedules. Rachio 3 controllers are equipped with sensors that accurately predict weather changes and automatically adjust the amount of water needed in a given period. Their controllers automatically skip watering when enough rain is forecast or changes in weather, such as wind, frost and precipitation are imminent. This proactive approach is an excellent example of Prescriptive Home Maintenance.
Using a mobile app, homeowners can manage, track and monitor their irrigation process remotely. Catering to early adopters of smart devices and smart homes, Rachio integrates with several leading smart hub devices, including: Alexa; Apple Homekit; Nest; Google Assistant; IFTTT; Alarm.com; and SmartThings.
Rain Bird ST8-2.0 WiFi Smart Irrigation Timers
Perhaps the most noted name in irrigation technology is Rain Bird, a leading global manufacturer and provider of irrigation and services for both residential and commercial use. The company’s most popular innovation, the ST8 -2.0 WiFi Smart Timer, allows you to access, operate and monitor your irrigation system remotely using any mobile device.
This product is ideal for homeowners wanting to upgrade their older, existing sprinkler controller to take advantage of mobile access, ease of use and more sophisticated options. Should you require fewer zones, RainBird has an array of products for varying needs and budgets using their patented “Intelligent Use of Water” system which automatically adjusts the watering schedules due to changes in seasons, local weather, humidity and temperature. The ST8-2.0 also provides notification alerts for watering events such as freeze warnings or delayed watering.
ANC Technology Ancnoble GG-005C-1 Irrigation System
The Ancnoble GG-005C-1 is a solar-powered, wireless, moisture sensor, intelligent irrigation system ideal for small residential gardens. This model optimizes irrigation for plant growth and water efficiency, without the need for communication cables or power lines.
The controller keeps soil moisture in a set range to optimize irrigation for optimal plant growth. The timer control can be used in tandem with the moisture sensor to shut off during periods of rain, as well.
Other smart irrigation systems which bear mention include:
- Blossom 7 Smart Watering Controller
- Plaid Systems Spruce Irrigation System
- Netro Smart Sprinkler Controller 12 Zone
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