Robots, sensors and apps for the outdoor smart home
Smart gardening: watering, mowing and planting intelligently
Your own garden as an oasis of wellbeing. For many a dream that remains unfulfilled – partly because of fear of intensive gardening, partly because of a lack of knowledge of plant care. However, by using smart garden tools, all potential obstacles can now be quickly removed. Even people without green fingers can easily create their garden paradise in this way. We present an overview of many inspiring, practical applications for the smart garden. We also reveal which garden gadgets, robots and sensors for watering, mowing and tending are absolutely hip and not only make the next barbecue evening unforgettable.
Garden maintenance with smart robots and sensors becomes a pleasure
Barbecue parties in summer are a highlight. With self-cleaning grills, they even become effortless. Of course, a well-kept party also needs a well-kept backdrop. Robotic lawn mowers do the annoying lawn clippings fully automatically and garden sensors for flowers and crops provide information via app when it is time to water again. Or simply take care of the maintenance yourself. Even the rain gutter almost cleans itself thanks to modern technology. We only have to pull weeds personally. One thing quickly becomes clear: the smart home does not end on the walls.
The intelligent garden in the smart home
With the smart management systems for gardens and terraces, a green thumb is no longer necessary. The index finger on the smartphone or tablet creates the best conditions for outdoor planting: soil analysis, watering and lawnmowers are activated automatically. Light and music elements have long been extended to areas outside the house such as the terrace and gazebo. Useful gadgets such as doorbell amplifiers, motion detectors and cameras guarantee that visitors do not go unnoticed and that uninvited guests are spotted early.
Extended living area through smart networking
Just like in the house, there are also management tools for the garden. Such Smart Garden Hubs with WLAN connection can be coupled with a weather station, rain and sun position meters as well as moisture sensors and make gardening work much easier. In order to make the outdoor area as comfortable and practical as possible, wireless gongs ensure, for example, that the doorbell can also be heard when weeding. The terrace is connected to the smart sound system in the house through external speakers, so that barbecues in summer become a garden party. Awnings can be controlled remotely and, combined with a weather station, automatically retract when it rains. Electric hedge trimmers, trimmers and lawn mowers can also be part of the smart network, among other things to check the battery charge level on the app. With the help of adapter plugs, external sockets can also be controlled via tablet or smartphone, for example water features can be regulated smartly.
Intelligent lighting ensures safety and an atmospheric atmosphere
Smart outdoor lighting systems network the background light on the terrace with weather-resistant LED lights in flower beds and bushes. Atmospheric underbody lighting on flower pots can also be integrated into the lighting concept. Coupled with motion detectors, targeted light sources go on when the garden is entered. On the one hand, smart outdoor lighting minimizes the risk of tripping for residents, but it can also serve as a warning function: dazzling light reveals intruders and possibly scares them off. In conjunction with the app and surveillance camera, an alarm can also be triggered if people move outside at night.
Optimal irrigation and independent lawn mowing
The greening around the house requires dedicated effort, especially when it comes to supplying the plants with sufficient water. There are smart solutions for this, but complex irrigation systems require pipes to be laid underground and are particularly worthwhile for unplanted areas. Even without such interventions, the strenuous dragging of the watering can can be replaced by automated watering. The plants do not wither on vacation because watering is done by control devices that are attached to the outside tap and then controlled via an app. This detects rain and uses sensors in the ground to measure the degree of moisture – watering is only used when necessary. In addition, the system warns of a drop in temperature so that the device can be protected from frost damage. This protects the system and saves water. Drip irrigation and lawn sprinklers can be started automatically at certain times, in summer always in the morning before sunrise, or via the app from anywhere. Rules can be created such as “water the roses every two days unless the app recognizes that rain is imminent”. The smart system even uses motion sensors to register when people are walking through the garden and then interrupt the sprinkler so that nobody is sprayed wet. Also, for example, roller shutters can be closed automatically just before watering, in order to avoid water splashing on the window glass. Robotic lawn mowers do another nasty job of landowners. The smart machines create lawns with moderate inclines without assistance. The charging station is placed in such a way that the robot can dock independently if necessary and if other maintenance work such as sharpening the blades is necessary, the device notifies the owner via the app. This also shows the area that has already been mown and enables the mowing to take place on schedule. In connection with an irrigation system, it can then be determined that watering is not carried out shortly before mowing.
Mowing lawns in the Smart Garden: cutting lawns with intelligent robotic lawnmowers
Anyone who is woken up on Saturday by the noise of the neighbor mowing the lawn wishes them a lot, but certainly not a nice weekend. But lawn care is often a time-consuming and very annoying affair – unless you have an intelligent robotic lawnmower. This automatically starts mowing at the specified time and takes care of the garden even when its owner is traveling or working. In addition, many robotic lawnmowers are significantly quieter than conventional lawnmowers.
There are also intelligent robotic lawn mowers from many other well-known and popular brands. For example these, which we can highly recommend:
Basically, the following applies: Robotic lawnmowers are not toys and, if used incorrectly, can destroy the flower beds or injure children and pets. Therefore, you should invest at least 800 euros in a good robotic lawnmower and follow the instructions for use.
For beginners, we can recommend the GARDENA robotic lawnmower R50Li, for example, which is easy to program and works almost silently. The only drawback: The charging station is sensitive to moisture, so it is advisable to install it in a rain-protected garden area.
Pool cleaners: ensure the best water quality in the smart garden
So-called aquabots, pool vacuums or pool robots can remove dead insects, bacteria, algae or sand from the floor, walls and water line of a swimming pool. In our opinion, the currently best model is the Dolphin Nautilus CC.
This device makes work in the garden or at the pool much easier. Simply put the pool cleaner in the water and the pool cleaner starts to work. It cleans the bottom of the pool and the water completely automatically. If you have a pool in your garden, you absolutely have to have this cleaner, it’s really worth it!
Irrigation via networked sensors: the clever way to water flowers and lawns
When it comes to irrigation, appearances are more often deceptive than we think. Presumed dry soil is sometimes very wet below the surface and wet soil on the surface is dry underground. Garden sensors, which not only take over the soil analysis, but also directly ensure optimal irrigation if necessary, ensure certainty.
There are basically two different types of irrigation sensors: On the one hand, the pure analysis tools, which also include many indoor gadgets for house plants. On the other hand, there are intelligent plant sensors that take on the water management themselves or control an entire sprinkler system.
There is such a fully automatic irrigation solution from GARDENA, for example. The GARDENA smart Sensor works with the GARDENA smart Water Control and the GARDENA Hub and not only measures the humidity, but also regulates it. The GARDENA System can also be controlled via Android or iOS app.
A single GARDENA Plant Sensor is really very helpful in the garden, a starter set consisting of a Water Control Irrigation System, a sensor and a suitable gateway. You no longer need to worry about watering your lawn or garden plants. This intelligent smart gardening tool is fully worth the money!
For those who want it to be even more comfortable, we can recommend the complete system “Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller“. This system can be controlled via Alexa and a mobile phone app. As you can see, it has never been easier to have your garden and plants fully automatically watered!
As an alternative to the relatively expensive GARDENA Irrigation Set, there are also cheaper solutions (e.g. from Kärcher or Eve Systems). Exclusively for Smart Home users with HomeKit there is e.g. the possibility to network a water tap or garden hose with your smartphone with the Elgato Eve Aqua Adapter and to control it via Siri voice commands. Time switching or automatic shutdown for flood protection are also possible. The highlight: This simple retrofit solution costs only $ 99.90.
A smart home weather station protects the garden from storms
Rain, storm, ice age? Smart weather stations warn when it gets uncomfortable so that we can prepare in good time. Ask for the current temperature or humidity by voice command. In combination with other smart devices in the garden, the weather station causes the awning or roller blinds to be extended and all electrical devices in the garden to be switched off in the event of rain or storms.
We noticed the Netatmo weather station particularly positively in the test, for which there is also a Netatmo rain sensor and a Netatmo anemometer. Thanks to its Alexa compatibility, it can be networked with hundreds of products from other manufacturers and can be conveniently controlled with voice commands.
With all three components you are perfectly adjusted to any weather. This smart weather station turns your garden into a smart garden. With this system it is also possible to make predictions that are far more accurate than anything any mobile phone app.
Outdoor WiFi adapter plugs make gardening tools smart
In some cases, it is even easier than installing new, smart devices to use intelligent WLAN adapter plugs for outdoors. They can be used, for example, to retrofit older lawn sprinklers, Christmas lights, night lights or garden fountains and control them via app in the future.
If you now want to switch on a light or watering system for the garden, you can do this simply via the app on your smartphone. This is how older devices become smart too!
We can highly recommend this Fritz outdoor socket. This socket has already delivered very good results in many tests. I own three of these sockets myself, I just like to control everything in the garden with my mobile phone.
Intelligent garden lighting for the perfect ambience
In the evening it gets really cozy in the garden. Especially when the lighting in your favorite color creates an atmospheric ambience. Earthworks or complex construction work are not necessary at all, a few portable lamps or LightStrips are often enough to set bright accents.
Inexpensive OSRAM LIGHTIFY GardenSpot has been available for retrofitting for some time. Philips Hue now also offers its own garden lighting. Alternatively, the portable Philips Hue Go and Elgato Avea lights with particularly long battery life can also be taken outside at times (e.g. for barbecues).
Control the lighting simply with your mobile phone. Choose the light color you want or even control effects with these lamps. These lamps are also not that expensive, but they offer excellent quality and a long service life.
Smart Home surveillance for outside: More security for home and garden
In addition to automated lighting, motion detectors and a surveillance camera increase burglary protection around the house and garden. Not only do they register thieves, but also other uninvited guests and immediately create evidence. In most cases, these are even automatically saved in the cloud, so that even a destroyed camera does not contribute to preventing punishment.
WLAN surveillance cameras secure the smart home outside and inside
A good IP camera delivers clear images even in the dark and can activate a siren or other security components in an emergency. Have proven such. B. the following outdoor cams: