We're all more or less familiar with smart technology for the home nowadays, but what about buying tech for a smart garden? What's on offer for homeowners? What use is smart technology to the gardener (keen horticulturalist or Sunday lawn-cutter alike), and would you be prepared to pay for the extra features?
Brand new research suggests that curiosity about smart garden tech is growing – fast. The top spot goes to plant sensors: the survey of 1,524 homeowners and renters with gardens revealed that 71 per cent would be prepared to invest in a plant sensor. The benefit? No more guessing whether your plants need feeding or trying to remember when it last rained: smart plant sensors are placed in the soil surrounding a plant and connect up to an app that tells you not just moisture and nutrient levels in the soil, but assesses light intensity, too, ultimately allowing the you to better look after your plants. Interested? These are readily available from retailers such as Amazon (opens in new tab) and cost around £20.
Next most popular smart buy on gardeners' shopping lists? Smart sprinklers, with 66 per cent of gardeners curious about this device. Unlike ordinary sprinklers, smart sprinklers rely on weather reports (rather than automated pre-programming in the sprinkler system itself) to generate a schedule that will avoid watering on rainy days. Smart sprinkler systems (opens in new tab) aren't cheap and start from around £80, but could save lots of money off a water bill – and, of course, are a more eco-friendly approach, especially in times of drought.
Over half of the respondents (58 and 53 per cent respectively) would be interested in a smart weather station (opens in new tab) that would give them accurate weather forecasts, and 'smart outdoor lights' they could control from their smart phone.
And the smart garden tech people aren't so keen on? A 'Bluetooth speaker disguised as a rock (opens in new tab)' mustered little enthusiasm among savvy gardeners – although it needs to be seen to be believed.
Naomi, managing director of Faraway Furniture (opens in new tab), who conducted the study, comments, 'Smart technology has already revolutionised the way we live in our homes. So, it’s only natural the technology is transitioning to make waves in the outdoor space. The current products available on the market, are nothing short of exciting. Aiming to simplify the effort individuals must go through to sufficiently maintain and improve different parts of their garden. The encouraging takeaway from this research is that we already have a good awareness of the current products and are keen to experience them. As more innovative products become available and prices more competitive, the smart garden market will surely thrive.'
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