Tech

Smart Garden: Clever devices, robots and apps for the garden


On-demand irrigation and autonomous robotic lawnmowers; Monitoring, radio sockets, weather stations, fairy lights – all with app. We show which intelligent technologies make life easier for nature lovers and gardeners. Plus: exciting handicraft solutions.

The fresh air-oriented outdoor sister of Smart Home is called Smart Garden. We show intelligent smart garden solutions for garden lovers – in good time before the start of the next garden season: ➤ 1.

                        
Lawnmower robot
and ➤ 2nd smart

                        
Garden lighting
and ➤ 3.

                        
Measure and monitor
and ➤ 4.

                        
Switch
and ➤ 5.

                        
Water intelligently
and ➤ 6.

                        
Garden solutions with Raspberry and Arduino.

1. Lawnmower robot

Numerous manufacturers now offer clever lawnmowers, among others

                        
Husqvarna
(which also includes Gardena)

                        
Bosch
and of course Gardena. Like robots, the robots drive independently to a charging station, where they recharge their batteries.

The best lawnmower robots 2020: Bosch, Gardena, Husqvarna & Co. – buying advice

However, the garden lover must define the area of ​​application of the robotic lawnmower. With a guide wire that is laid around the area to be mowed and with a guide wire that guides the robot back to the charging station. The wires are either buried in the floor or laid directly on the floor. For people with physical limitations, it is advisable to commission a specialist company to lay the wires. However, if you want to lay the wires yourself, you should prepare for a few hours of physical work depending on the size of the lawn. The robot then mows within this limited area. The preparatory work is therefore quite complex.

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Important:

Really lay the cable just above the floor or directly on the floor and do not set the robotic lawnmower too low. So better not with two centimeters of grass height, but rather with four centimeters. Otherwise the robot could cut the wire. You will then need to repair the wire before the robot can continue to mow.

                        
Gardena even offers special repair kits for this purpose.

Beetl: autonomous dog droppings collection robot

The autonomous robot Beetl should recognize and collect dog excrement.

© beetle.co

An autonomous robot called Beetl is supposed to recognize dog feces through its sensors and cameras and collect them independently. However, the technology is still in the test phase. More

                        
read about this in this message.

But above all, the robotic lawnmowers cost a lot of money, with particularly powerful models quickly exceeds the 2000 euro limit, for example with the

                        
Husqvarna robotic lawnmower Automower 430X I.
You also have to consider safety aspects of robots: do animals or small children run around in the garden? Maybe a garden pond with frogs borders on the lawn? Then you’d better do without the lawnmower robot – not that the robot does a massacre among your little darlings.

Sometimes it happens that the brave lawn mower gets stuck. We were recently woken up by a clattering noise in the early morning. Our neighbor’s Gardena robotic lawnmower had got stuck on a stone slab that was lying on a newly sown lawn. The robot tried to fight its way free, digging itself ever deeper into the ground. Until his owner redeemed him. A deep hole remained and wake up neighbors.

Tip:

In our price comparison you will also find robotic lawnmowers under 1000 euros.

Comfortable:

The grass clippings should be so fine that they can stay put. Basically, the robots work very quietly like the Gardena robot; only: Even a quiet hum can disturb the neighbors, if there is otherwise absolute silence and the neighbor is dozing in the hammock. So, before you buy, test the volume thoroughly and think about the situation at home. Your neighbors will thank you.

The best grills 2020 with a smart function: buying advice on grills and accessories

When buying the robot, you need to pay attention to its performance data, especially the size of the lawn for which it is designed. And on its climbing ability if you have a slope in the garden. Here it is highly recommended to buy powerful models, if necessary with a special one

                        
Offroad kit
for the robotic lawnmower

                        
like Husqvarna offers for its Automower.

Garden specialist

                        
For example, Gardena has a whole range of different lawnmower robots.
The individual models differ mainly in terms of the lawn area, which they should keep short. So stands for small lawns up to 300 m²


Gardena Smart Sileno City available.

But if you have to mow up to 1000 m²,

                        
can get the Sileno for around 560 euros
.

Unlike modern vacuum cleaner robots, lawnmower robots are equipped with comparatively few sensors. They basically only have bumpers with which they register when they hit an obstacle. They also recognize the wires in or on the floor. The highest of the feelings is still a GPS sensor, such as that offered by Husqvarna. But cameras, infrared or even lasers are not available for robotic lawnmowers. And there is still no lawnmower robot that can also serve as a surveillance camera like the one

                        
Miele Scout RX2 Home Vision
, the

                        
we have also tested extensively
.

If you want to control your lawnmower robot via the app and change settings if necessary, then the models are for example

                        
Smart Sileno
(up to 1000 m² lawn area) and

                        
Smart Sileno +
(up to 1300 m² lawn area) available. The Gardena Smart app is available for iOS and Android.

Reading tip:

We have tested the Gardena Smart Sileno extensively

With the Gardena app you can start the robot and park it again. You will also receive warnings if problems arise. For example, because the robot cut the wire. And you can see the charge status of the battery at any time.

The clippings are cut so finely that they can remain as fertilizer. Important in view of the high purchase price: an alarm function should protect against theft.

Conclusion: robotic lawnmowers

You should carefully consider buying a robotic lawnmower. High acquisition costs, time-consuming preparation work, possibly a slight noise pollution and certain restrictions in use make the use not unproblematic. Be sure to buy a sufficiently powerful model, especially if the robot is to mow on a slope. At the moment, lawnmower robots are probably more for technology enthusiasts and early adopters. Pay attention to theft protection and test it.

Osram LED garden light Lightify Gardenspot Mini 9 Spots

Enlarge

Osram LED garden light Lightify Gardenspot Mini 9 Spots

© Osram

However, if you buy the robot that is sufficiently powerful for your garden and set it up optimally, the smart lawnmower will save you a lot of tedious work, mulch your lawn and give you additional time that you can use more sensibly than for mowing the lawn.

Danger:

Under

Environmental considerations

lawnmower robots are very questionable. Nothing grows, blooms and lives on a lawn that is always mowed short! In addition, the robotic lawnmowers can be life-threatening for hedgehogs and other small animals.

2. Smart lighting for the garden

Smart garden lighting is included, for example

                        
Philips Hue
possible. For example with the


Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LED garden spotlights Lily 1-piece set for around 105 euros.

Or with that


Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LED base lamp Calla basic set for around 109 euros.

Elgato Eve Flare

Especially for

Apple homekit

there is Eve Flare. You can change the light of Eve Flare via iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Siri. Thanks to energy for six hours of lighting, wireless charging and a housing with IP65 water resistance and handle and button control on the device, Eve Flare can be used in the garden, on the balcony and wherever atmospheric light is needed, as the manufacturer explains.

Eve Flare can be switched on and off via Siri and programmed with a Homekit control center as well as rules or timers. In addition to the color presets of the home app, the Eve app contains compositions programmed for Eve Flare; the user can also add their own lighting moods.

Price:

Eve Flare is on Amazon for around 90 euros from June 25th
as well as in specialist shops.

Requirements: iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 11.3 or newer. For Homekit access: HomePod, Apple TV or an iPad set up as a control center. Ambient conditions: 0 ° – 40 ° C, 0% – 80% humidity, water resistant according to IP65. Power supply: Integrated battery: 6+ hours, wireless charger: 100-240 volts AC, 50/60 Hz. Dimensions: 25 cm diameter. Scope of delivery: Eve Flare, wireless charging station, power supply (EU type C plug), quick start guide.

3. Measure and monitor

A

                        
Weather station
can be found in almost every garden. However, these classic solutions have disadvantages: If you want to read them comfortably and without great effort, you can place them near the house, for example on the balcony. There, however, they are protected from wind and weather and therefore do not quite correctly reflect the actual weather conditions. However, if you set up the weather station unprotected in the garden, reading is more complex and you may have to grope through the rain. In addition, you can only read a classic weather station when you are at home. So on vacation or at work you have no information about the specific weather at home. The same applies to the weather in the holiday home when you are not there. In these cases, a weather station with an outdoor sensor and radio connection to the inside does not help.

Make Smart Garden fit for spring

AL-KO garden tools
has put together tips on how to make your smart garden fit for spring.

  • Check motorized garden tools for defects and damage. The cables of electrical devices must be properly insulated and damage caused by moisture penetration must be completely excluded.

  • In the case of cordless tools, first check the battery level and fully charge it if necessary.

  • Fixed screws and hinges make you common again with a multifunction spray.

  • Check whether your garden tools are still functional down to the last detail. If necessary, reassemble loose parts and tighten loose screws.

  • Eliminate bearing damage such as bent housing parts or kinked hoses and lines. Controls, i.e. levers, switches or displays, are also tested before they are used for the first time.

  • Check the tire pressure of the garden tools.

  • Treat the blades of your hedge trimmers, lawnmowers, chainsaws, etc. to a fine-tuning. If you find that your equipment has blurred or cracked blades, then replace the blades.

Carry out a first test run with all garden tools.

Weather apps do not really offer a solution to this problem: Because if your measuring station is a few hundred meters or further away from your own garden, this can lead to incorrect measurement results. Especially when there are clear climatic differences between the measuring station for the app and your own garden, for example due to height differences or the proximity of a large river or a hill.

But Smart Garden offers the solution here:

The best weather stations 2020 with app: purchase advice and market overview

Here are some examples of the weather stations presented in our buying advice:

Netatmo weather station

With the


Netatmo weather station

monitor the weather at home from your smartphone.

                        
The app required for this is available for iOS
, For

                        
Android
and even for

                        
Windows Phone.

Weather stations in price comparison

The weather station consists of the outdoor module and an additional indoor module. The outdoor module is made of one piece of aluminum and should be absolutely suitable for outdoor use. It measures temperature, humidity, air pressure and the “air quality” outdoors.

The Netatmo weather station on the far left with the rain gauge in the middle and on the far right the wind gauge.

Enlarge

The Netatmo weather station on the far left with the rain gauge in the middle and on the far right the wind gauge.

© Netatmo

In combination with the optionally available anemometer (with ultrasound technology, maintenance-free, without moving parts), it also measures the wind strength and wind direction, as well as the precipitation, which is also optionally available. Users should be alerted in real time when gusts reach a certain speed.

You can see all of this information at a glance on the Netatmo Weather App, plus the UV radiation and sunshine duration. For every recorded day, also in retrospect. A weather forecast with a weather map is also integrated.

The indoor module measures the CO2 content of the air, the temperature and the air humidity. It reminds you when you should ventilate. A volume meter is also integrated in the indoor module.

Netatmo app.

Plus:

You can also use the weather station

                        
Amazon Alexa
control and ask, for example, about the weather or whether it rained.

Prices:

Netatmo weather station with outdoor and indoor module:

                        
149 euros at Amazon

Netatmo rain gauge: round

                        
70 euros at Amazon

Netatmo anemometer:

                        
99 euros on Amazon

Additional indoor module:

                        
69 euros at Amazon

Bracket for rain or wind meter: 24.99 Euro RRP,

                        
25 euros at Amazon

Tip: Set up the weather station so that it is protected from prying eyes from outside your garden, because Netatmo has no built-in theft protection.

Current reading tip: Netatmo NWS01 weather station in the test

In the test, however, the Netatmo weather station showed frequent failures, which took a long time to correct.

Elgato Eve Degree

Eve Degree

Unfortunately, this is only a useful and visually appealing alternative to Netatmo for iOS users

                        
Eve Degree
, the

                        
costs almost 66 euros.
Unlike the Netatmo weather station, this combination of thermometer, hygrometer and barometer works without failures. Commissioning is also super easy, remote queries are possible via Apple Homekit.

The weather station can also be set up outdoors. Particularly practical: temperature and humidity can also be queried using a Siri voice command. However, Eve Degree does not measure the amount of rain or the wind strength.

Extensive test by Eve Degree

Outdoor surveillance cameras

Security cameras
many manufacturers offer for outdoor use.

                        
You can find a selection here in the price comparison
such as

                        
here at Amazon.

Reading tip: The best smart surveillance cameras

For example, the is aimed at professional users, but also at ambitious private users


Vigilance camera PoE Bullet camera DCS-4703E from D-Link.

It is weatherproof according to IP66 and is managed with the D-View-Cam software. With its CMOS sensor, it delivers images with 3 megapixel resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels at 15 frames per second). Thanks to integrated infrared lighting, night shots should be possible up to 20 meters away. D-Link has also integrated motion detection. Power is supplied via the Ethernet cable (802.3af Power-over-Ethernet).

The Vigilance camera PoE Bullet camera DCS-4703E from D-Link.

Enlarge

The Vigilance camera PoE Bullet camera DCS-4703E from D-Link.

© D-Link

D-Link sells the DCS-4703E for 223 euros RRP,

                        
on Amazon the camera costs 169 euros.

Detect heat leaks

In the broadest sense it also belongs


Flir One Pro thermal imager

in this section. We have this thermal imaging camera, which is available as an attachment for iPhone and Android smartphones,

                        
extensively tested.

With the AVM Fritz Dect 210 you can, for example, switch on the lawn sprinkler remotely or programmed.

Enlarge

With the AVM Fritz Dect 210 you can, for example, switch on the lawn sprinkler remotely or programmed.

© AVM

4. Switch

With the AVM Fritz Dect 210 you can switch devices in the garden on and off and measure temperature and power consumption.

                        
We present this outdoor adapter plug in detail in our test report.
Price:

                        
Around 46 euros.

AVM Fritz Dect 210

The same applies here: insert the adapter plug away from prying eyes of the thief!

5. Smart watering

Parrot Pot: smart flowerpot

It is not necessarily a typical outdoor accessory


Parrot Pot

. We have this smart flower pot

                        
tested until October 2017.
Because he also performs his services in the apartment. It is a smart flowerpot with automatic irrigation and fertilization for the plant in it, which you can also use

                        
Parrot Flower Power iOS app for iPhone
or the corresponding

                        
Android app Parrot Flower Power
always keeps you up to date on the condition of the plant.

The Parrot Pot has an automatic watering system and four sensors that continuously measure soil moisture, amount of fertilizer, ambient temperature and light intensity. It automatically pours as soon as the green composts need water, regulates irrigation when nobody is at home and also provides app information for optimal care. Fill the necessary water into the 2.2 liter tank.

Parrot pot in red.

The purpose of the Parrot Pot is to bring the plant undamaged over longer periods of absence from the owner, for example during a vacation. The Parrot Pot also offers itself as a saving “hand” for hobby gardeners who have the notorious black thumb.

The app can display three parameters:

* Degree of soil moisture at which irrigation begins

* Desired soil moisture after watering

* Time (in hours) before irrigation takes place

Using the Parrot Flower Power app, watering can be started with one click, as the manufacturer promises.

Parrot Pot in detail.

The Parrot Pot (20.5 cm x 31.2 cm) can be used at temperatures from -5 C to +55 C. It is therefore also generally suitable for outdoor use. However, an anti-theft device or a GPS tracker are missing for the not so cheap


device

.

However, the test shows that the Parrot Pot also has disadvantages compared to a normal, “stupid” flowerpot:

Read tip

:

                        
Long-term Parrot Pot

In a similar direction as

                        
Parrot Pot goes click and grow.
These are self-watering beds that come in different sizes, including specially adapted potting soil.

If you want to automatically irrigate several existing potted plants, this is what you need

                        
Irrigation set from Gardena for around 80 euros significantly cheaper.
However, this solution works without an app and therefore does not inform you about the condition of your plants during your absence.

Alternative:

You can also buy measuring sensors for flower pots including an app without a flower pot. For around 39 euros.

Gardena Smart-System: Smart irrigation and mowing systems

Gardena has stood for garden irrigation and garden care for decades. In addition to conventional pumps, hoses and other tools, Gardena offers with the

                        
Gardena smart system
also intelligent irrigation systems for the smart garden. So you can set irrigation and mowing times from the smartphone app and call up current measurements from the garden. Because in addition to watering, the second focus of Gardena Smart systems is on lawn mowing – see above the lawn mower robots from Gardena.

smart water control set

The Gardena Smart system essentially consists of the following components:

requirement

The Smart Gateway establishes wireless communication between Gardena Smart Sensor, Gardena Smart Water Control, Gardena Smart Sileno, Gardena Smart Pressure Pump, Gardena Smart Battery and the app. The connection between the individual components is made via 868 MHz radio, the Gardena gateway must also be connected to your WLAN or LAN router. The Gardena Cloud is still between your router and your app. All communication between the gateway and the individual components should be encrypted. The Gardena Smart system currently does not offer interfaces to other smart home systems such as Apple Homekit, Amazon Echo or Homematic.

measure up

The

                        
Gardena Smart Sensor for around 90 euros
delivers current measurements such as soil moisture, outside temperature and light intensity to the smartphone or tablet app. So you always have the condition of your garden under control from the office or vacation home. But the app is not only used to control, but also to control your smart garden tools.

Gardena Smart System

pump

The Gardena Smart Pressure Pump can provide a time-controlled irrigation operation with an integrated irrigation computer. You can get all information about the pump functions, the pressure or the delivery rate via the app.

The

                        
Gardena Smart Pressure Pump
(Nominal power 1300 W, max. Flow rate 5000 liters of water per hour, max. Delivery head / pressure 50 m / 5.0 bar) for the

                        
Fully automatic distribution of domestic water in the house and garden costs 360 euros
. According to the manufacturer, the app offers time-controlled operation and complete control of all pump functions (pressure, flow rate, water flow meter, drip water warning, frost warning, pump temperature display, etc.).

The

                        
Gardena Smart Pressure Pump Set with the Gardena Smart Pressure Pump and additionally with the Gardena Smart Gateway beats with 430 euros
to book.

The Gardena Smart System Set.

There are also matching pumps

                        
smart irrigation control systems such as Smart Water Control Set for around 230 euros.

Complete solution:

The

                        
Smart system set
, consisting of

                        
Lawnmower robot Smart Sileno
(up to 1000 m² lawn area) and

                        
Smart sensor control set
with gateway, irrigation control and sensor for determining soil moisture, temperature and light intensity

                        
together costs 545 euros.

Since June 2018, owners of a Husqvarna Automower have been able to integrate it into the Gardena Smart System app. The automatic irrigation of the garden by the Gardena irrigation system can be combined with the automatic control of the Husqvarna robotic lawnmower.

If the Husqvarna Automower is integrated into the Gardena Smart System infrastructure, users can use a smartphone app to adjust the mower’s operating times to the irrigation cycles or to start additional mowing processes manually. You will then no longer need the Automower Connect app. With the integration of Husqvarna Automower into the Gardena smart system, there is an integrated solution for mowing and gardening up to an area of ​​5,000 square meters. “In combination with a sensor that measures soil moisture, temperature and light intensity, the smart irrigation control can automatically water up to six different zones. All of this is regulated from just one app, ”explains Dr. Alexander Becker, responsible for the Gardena smart system ecosystem.

Gardena Smart System integrated in Magenta Smart Home

With the May 2019 update of the Magenta Smart Home app to version 5.3.0 for Android and iOS, the Gardena Smart System will be integrated into the home control system of Deutsche Telekom. Specifically, the Smart Water Control, Smart Irrigation Control, Smart Sensor and the Smart Power outdoor socket can be integrated and controlled.

The one-time set-up of the irrigation devices is initially done via the Gardena app. As soon as this is done, the devices can also be controlled via the Magenta Smart Home app and used with scenes and rules. For example, the lawn can be irrigated automatically when you are away.

With the update of the Magenta SmartHome app to version 5.3.0, the Gardena Smart System will be integrated into Telekom's house control.

Enlarge

With the update of the Magenta SmartHome app to version 5.3.0, the Gardena Smart System will be integrated into Telekom’s house control.

© Gardena

Gardena Smart System has also been supporting Apple Homekit and IFTTT since early 2019.

Alternatives

Kärcher also offers a sensor for measuring the soil moisture value including a control unit (Sensotimer) for an irrigation system:

                        
the Kärcher 2.645-213.0 Sensotimer for around 105 euros.
In addition, there is the price for the actual irrigation system.

Eve Aqua

For Apple Homekit: irrigation control Eve Aqua

With Eve Aqua there is an irrigation control especially for Apple Homekit. Eve Aqua (94 x 123 x 80 mm) irrigates the garden with a Siri voice command or according to the specified schedule with the correct amount of water and automatic stop. Eve Aqua uses the support for irrigation control in iOS. Eve Aqua (power supply: two exchangeable AA batteries) is compatible with outdoor taps with common hose systems (thread: 26.5 mm).

Eve Aqua

The water can be turned on via Siri, for example if you are lying in a deck chair and have the iPhone on hand. Eve Aqua also keeps a record of when and how much was poured. However, Eve Aqua does not establish a radio connection, so you must be within Bluetooth range of Eve Aqua with the iPhone. In addition, schedules can be programmed into the device so that Eve Aqua can also work completely autonomously. The valve closes automatically after an adjustable period.

Time schedules created in the Eve app and saved on Eve Aqua start and stop irrigation irrespective of radio or WiFi connections. Owners of a HomeKit control center (Apple TV, iPad or Homepod) can increase watering quantities or suspend schedules from vacation. If you know the flow rate of your irrigation system, you can have the garden’s water consumption calculated in the Eve app. As an alternative to the iPhone app and Siri voice command, you can also start watering by pressing the corresponding button on Eve Aqua.

Eve Aqua is water-resistant according to IPX4 and insensitive to UV radiation and can therefore remain installed throughout the garden season, as Elgato promises.

Price

:


Eve Aqua is on Amazon for 93 euros

as well as in specialist shops. The scope of delivery includes: Eve Aqua, batteries, Quick Start Guide. Requirements: iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 11.3 or newer.

Tips for the irrigation system

The German garden specialist Gardena has put together tips for a well-functioning irrigation system. So when planting your garden, you should make sure that plants with similar needs are planted together. Only then can the irrigation system optimally supply each individual plant. In modern irrigation systems, you can then assign your own irrigation rules to the respective zones. At Gardena this is called Smart Irrigation Control.

This zone-based irrigation can be expanded by taking weather data into account. The

                        
Irrigation computer
then water each bed, hedge and shrub depending on its actual moisture level, the outside temperature and the light intensity by one

                        
Sensor can be detected
, according to the preset needs of the plant and depending on the weather conditions. The default settings can be changed at any time via the app (for iOS and Android).

Has nothing to do with IT technology, but is basic gardening knowledge: It is best to irrigate in the morning, because then the water does not evaporate so quickly, but seeps in longer and thus better reaches the roots. And you should water under the foliage to avoid mold growth on the leaves. The drip irrigation of the automated irrigation systems is suitable for this.

Drip irrigation.

In addition, you should never irrigate in the greatest heat, as this could burn the foliage. Apart from that, the water dries too quickly and hardly reaches the roots.

6. Smart garden solutions with Raspberry and Arduino

Experimenters who are keen to experiment should always look for suitable handicraft solutions with Raspberry Pi or Arduino when it comes to smart homes and smart gardens. This enables very individual and powerful solutions to be implemented at low cost. We have put together some exciting projects for Smart Home and Smart Garden here:

Automatic watering: water flowers with Arduino

Check the fill level of a cistern with Arduino

Build dosing pump for aquarium plus add-on yourself and control via Arduino

Irrigation: Use Raspberry Pi in the garden

H2O IQ: Der Raspberry Pi im Garten

Die besten Wetterstationen 2020 mit App: Kaufberatung und Marktüberblick

Die besten Rasenmähroboter 2020: Bosch, Gardena, Husqvarna & Co. – Kaufberatung

Die besten Grills 2020 mit smarter Funktion: Kaufberatung zu Grills und Zubehör

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