Backyard Smart Home Tech to Save You Time and Effort
March 13, 2022
After writing last week’s post about smart home technology options to get rid of pests, it got me thinking about outdoor summer plans. With the ability to eliminate the concern over mosquitoes at family barbeques, pool parties or simply playing catch with the grandkids, it got me thinking about other smart home devices that could be deployed to improve the home experience.
I’ve already covered many of the more ‘mainstream’ technologies like lighting, audio and wifi so I looked into some of the more obscure devices that might align with outdoor life at home. Not so surprisingly, there are many smart devices on the market that can help you with social activities, entertaining and even lawn maintenance. If you’re a DIY’er like Debbie and I, here are some great outdoor smart home tech ideas that may not have been on your radar but could turn your backyard into a smart yard.
As I started thinking about backyard entertaining and what either enhances or threatens the enjoyment around that, the first thing that came to mind was weather. Debbie and I have spent countless hours working through our new home planning and I’ve covered the concern over severe weather and other extreme weather issues in the past (Smart Home and Extreme Weather Part 1and Part 2). As tornadoes or power outages due to weather are real issues, they are on the extreme end of family barbeque concerns. What about whether it’s going to rain or how hot or windy it is? I never thought I’d worry about wind until I moved to Canyon. But here we are — right off I-27 between Amarillo and Lubbock — which are ranked #1 and #3 respectively as the windiest places in the US. Sorry Chicago, you didn’t even crack the top 10.
So how would having your own weather station help? If you have a stable internet connection, you can install a complete weather station right in your backyard. Your phone’s weather app and the local news station can give estimates for your town or city, but smart wifi weather stations monitor the climate in your home’s exact vicinity, giving you the most accurate forecasts possible.
These devices can track local precipitation, record changes in wind/air pressure, and even monitor UV levels. You can also sync the device with other smart home tools, such as the thermostat — changing your thermostat automatically if the weather rapidly changes. This function could come in handy with spring approaching, as weather can wildly fluctuate during seasonal transitions.
Remember that measurement accuracy isn’t the only important factor when looking for a station. Keep durability and usability in mind as well. Here are some wifi weather stations options to consider:
AcuRite 01528 Station: Measures temperature, humidity, wind speed/direction and rain. It can also give 24-hour forecasts, and its touchscreen is easy to read and navigate.
Logia LOWSC510WB Station: Known for its accurate measurements and readable display, but setup and Wi-Fi connectivity can be tricky.
The smart sprinkler system is another smart home outdoor device that you can also connect to your weather station. If the station forecasts a particular day to be hot and dry, the sprinkler system’s timer will automatically change to water your yard more frequently. Or conversely, if it’s raining or predicted to rain within a scheduled watering cycle, it will not trigger the sprinkler system. Of course, you can also set your own custom timers and settings remotely through the smart mobile app. I covered some similar smart home sprinkler technology last year in my post ‘Let’s Take Smart Home Outside …’
Smart sprinklers can monitor how much water they use and know the amount of water that your soil needs depending on its type and condition, which can significantly help your conservation efforts. Having a lawn that can water itself is a great first step into automating your yard.
When looking for a smart sprinkler, your top priorities should be the controls and pairing capabilities. You should find these devices easy to control and built to last under all conditions:
Rachio 3 8ZULW-C: This smart sprinkler is easy to connect and highly responsive to weather forecasts, but the standard version is limited to eight zones. A more expensive 16-zone version is also available.
Orbit B-Hyve 57950: This system has limited access to weather data, but its simple controls and weatherproof casing make it a reliable product. You can pair it with up to 12 sprinklers at a time.
Wyze Sprinkler Controller: This inexpensive system has an easy setup, customizable sprinkler zones, and an accurate weather-based algorithm. You can control the device from anywhere with the Wyze app.
Along with the sprinkler system, you can create an overall landscaping solution with other smart maintenance tools. A smart lawnmower can mow your lawn without supervision, works in the rain and some models have a built-in GPS to discourage thieves. You do have to set up boundary lines for the lawnmower, but after that, your grass will be cut without you breaking a sweat. This can come in very handy when you also have grill duty for the pool party/ The best mowers cost well over $1,000, but the Ayi DRM3–6001 and Greenworks Pro Optimow 50H have all the necessary features for as little as $800.
A smart plant tracker is a helpful resource, sometimes known as a “moisture meter,” allows you to monitor the progress of a specific plants and also gives advice about essential gardening habits such as watering, fertilizing, lighting and changing temperature. This type smart technology will be handy for Debbie and I as we are ‘yard people.’ But as I am also looking to develop a small vineyard with a number of grape varietals, they will be of particular benefit as our area tends to be dry.
The Mosser Lee Soil Master has the most accurate measurements and costs just $11, while the ECOWITT Meter and North Smart Plant Tracker will give you the best usability and connection. They cost $30 and $39, respectively.
If you have an in-ground pool, there are smart devices that can automatically clean up any debris that falls into the water. So no more pulling leaves — or other things — out of the filter. These devices also tend to cost $1,000 or more, so if you’re looking for something less expensive, the Aiper Smart Cordless Pool Cleaner is a viable choice for under $300. The Dolphin Nautilus CC can also suit your needs for under $700.
And you can control all of these everyday backyard chores straight from your smart mobile app. All of these devices monitors your lawn’s conditions, your plants and your pool, which could save you a lot of time with spring fast approaching. And as all of this automated technology becomes more easily available, your lawn will begin to look better than ever — and all you need to do is push a button.
With eco-friendliness becoming a more important factor in our living situations, outdoor smart devices will play a bigger role moving forward. The power of a smart lawn is not that your technology overpowers nature or saves you hours in the yard, but instead that these solutions integrate within their surroundings. The above products will help you live more sustainably while also improving your home’s accessibility, security, and environmental awareness.
Hopefully you’ll find some of these helpful. I’m sure my Father-in-Law would have loved automated pool cleaning as they hosted a lot of pool parties back in the day. And as I mentioned above that Debbie and I like to spend time working in our yard, it’s not as easy as it used to be.
For our smart home enthusiast friends out there we’d love to hear your thoughts on the devices above. Do you see yourself using any of them to enhance your backyard entertaining? Or to simplify time-consuming or difficult outdoor chores? What similar products or devices are you currently using to accomplish the same tasks? How long have you used them and what do you like best about them?
Let Debbie and I know in the comments, DMs and emails as we really enjoy hearing from you. Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’ Until next week …
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