For many of us, a garden is as much a part of our home as a living room or bedroom. It’s not surprising then that smart systems have expanded beyond the four walls of our houses into the gardens around them. Of course, the climate of the big, wide world is much harder to regulate than that inside the house and this is one of the main challenges of smart gardening.
Controlling the climate
Most traditional gardening tasks relate to controlling and adjusting to the climate in your corner of the big, wide world. These include watering, feeding and maintaining the plants and cutting the grass. Now, most of these tasks can either be fully automated, or the loads significantly lightened using smart technology.
For a long time, you have been able to buy a robot lawn mower to keep your grass trimmed and tidy. Today, these are more effective and multi-functional than ever before. Modern robotic lawnmowers can handle hills, rough terrain and large, complex gardens without the edge wires that were once needed almost universally.
Weather-dependent irrigation and feeder systems are another big set of time-savers. Automation is now taking on two repetitive tasks that once took up a regular part of the garden-lover’s day. Set your garden to be watered by schedule or according to demand, and your modern irrigation system can handle it just fine. Systems can review weather conditions and soil saturation to ensure the right amount of water is used, as well as many other functionalities. This avoids the water-logging that could be a problem with simpler timed sprinkler systems, as well as saving water and energy.
Taking the tasks off your hands
The ultimate goal of all these systems is to take the tasks involved in gardening off the user’s hands. Smart garden technologies will reduce your time investment while essentially leaving you in control of everything. To this end, mobile apps have been employed to allow easy control of smart gardening systems. Modern pieces of technology can even be hooked up to digital smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and others. This helps to integrate these outdoor systems with the rest of the smart home and allows universal vocal control.
Enabling new types of garden
In a development that is possibly even more exciting than the rise of easy gardening, smart technology is enabling entirely new types of smart gardens where before they might not have been possible.
Low-maintenance edible gardens
With visions of hours spent at local allotments and hard-fought country show competitions, growing food to eat has never really been seen as quick and easy. Modern automated irrigation and feeding systems, mobile reporting and more make this formerly time-intensive pursuit into a simple and rewarding hobby. Salad and herb gardens can be fairly well automated and enjoyed for their benefits without taking up time in busy schedules.
Vertical gardens add a new dimension to all types of garden. They also allow people with less space to stretch their green fingers with the help of automation, for example on apartment balconies.
Vertical gardens can involve elevated baskets or pots, trellises, planting walls (aka. green walls) or a mix of the three. Careful watering and feeding are important in these cases as water drains away fast. This can be where smart technology comes into the picture, although it is possible to look after a vertical garden in the traditional way.
Hydroponic gardening is basically gardening without soil. Like vertical gardening, it is a great solution for people with limited space and other resources. It also requires careful timing and close attention, which can be handled well in coordination with automated or partially automated gardening systems.
The lack of soil means that plants rely heavily on receiving water at the right time. None is stored in the soil and the rain will not come to your rescue if you forget. This is why automation can be a useful addition to these gardening systems.
Bringing the outside in - your smart garden, indoors…
Vertical gardening and hydroponic gardening can both be excellent ways of bringing your smart garden indoors. They allow you to decorate your home naturally with minimal mess.
A green wall can add a refreshing new feel to a room, creating a beautiful splash of natural colour that catches the eye. They can be easy and clean to maintain with the right planting and smart care setup.
The same is true of hydroponic gardens and in fact, many green walls and other vertical gardens are hydroponic systems in themselves.
… and taking the inside out.
Expanding one's home into the garden is of course nothing new, but smart technology pushes the boundaries of what can be done, creating a range of new opportunities. For a start, smart intercom systems can keep you connected inside and out, wherever you are. Prepare to put an end to the old cliché of losing your other half in the garden (for better or worse).
As the night draws in, smart lighting can turn your garden into a magical wonderland, a stylish outdoor space or a mixture of both, requiring a few words to switch between scenes and colours. Thanks to simple solar power systems, these impressive improvements can be realised with little addition to your carbon footprint and energy consumption.
Further to this, why not punctuate those summer nights with an outdoor showing of Grease (tell me more, tell me more), or perhaps even something less than 40 years old? Either way, outdoor cinemas can be a great way to put a new spin on film nights. ENjoy your favourite flicks in the freshness of the great outdoors. The large screens can also add a great visual aspect to the music you play or create a unique background to a dinner party.
Perimeter security and access control
Smart security and access control can be extended beyond your home to the perimeter of your garden. You can take the irritation out of operating secure gates with the help of smart facial recognition, mobile intercom systems and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems. Meanwhile, CCTV monitoring and security scanning systems can keep the space inside your garden locked down, alerting you about potential threats, but not foxes, blowing bushes or your own pets.
Smart technology is redefining the way we use our gardens and outdoor spaces. Automation is making traditional tasks easier and taking them off your hands, ensuring that gardens are places to be enjoyed, rather than burdens on your time. Speaking of which, smart technology is also enabling new types of time- and space-saving gardens, as well as attractive new gardening options that weren't easily available a few years ago.
Smart garden systems are also increasingly easy to integrate with the rest of your home automation systems. This allows you to bring the outside in and take the inside out with refreshingly attractive indoor gardens, statement-making green walls, smart lights, easy-to-control audio-visual systems and intercom systems spanning home and garden. Finally, it’s becoming ever easier to secure the garden and outdoor spaces that are even more valuable now than they were already. This can be done with smart security, CCTV and perimeter access control.
So goodbye and happy gardening!