As technology advances, it’s wise you evolve with it, and what better way to do it than with smart devices?
Most of the smart devices in the market are for indoor use, but did you know there are plenty of smart devices you can use outdoors, in your backyard? Here are 7 of the best smart devices for making the most of your backyard:
What you will learn
- 1 Robotic lawnmower
- 2 How do they work?
- 3 How do you set up a robotic lawn mower?
- 4 What to consider when buying a robotic lawnmower
- 5 Smart irrigation system
- 6 Smart outdoor lighting
- 7 Smart outdoor cooking
- 8 Smart outdoor speakers
- 9 Weather sensors
- 10 Smart soil sensors
- 11 Parting shot
Just like robotic vacuum cleaners, robotic lawn mowers mow your lawn without your involvement. The devices make excellent alternatives to ride-on mowers, especially if you have a lot of ground to cover.
How do they work?
Once you have set them up, the mowers are completely autonomous—you don’t need to switch them on, keep an eye on them, or push them around.
The mower will start on its own on its set time, cut the grass, and return to its dock to charge the battery ready for the next mow.
Robotic lawnmowers work by creating a map of your lawn where they ensure they don’t go over the edges into the borders.
When you introduce the mowers to your lawn, they mow in a random pattern and don’t stop until they have cut grass in the entire lawn.
While this will be saving you time and energy, it robs you of the luxury of having a striped lawn. Most of the mowers have sensors that protect them from damage so they will stop when they come across obstacles.
To maintain a clean mow, remove any large obstacles such as garden tools, children toys, and other materials.
The beauty of the machine is that once it’s done with cutting grass, you don’t have to go back and collect the cuttings as the mower cuts them up finely and leaves them on the lawn as mulch which encourages healthy grass and also prevents weeds from coming about.
How do you set up a robotic lawn mower?
You set up the lawnmower on the device itself or your Smartphone. Before you start using your appliance, lay a perimeter wire so the lawnmower can detect boundaries.
The wire also helps orientate the lawnmower and guide it back to the charging dock.
In most cases, the wire is inconspicuous, and you secure it with pegs. If you want it to be fully invisible, lay it underground. After laying the wire, now go ahead and program your lawnmower.
This involves setting the date, time, and how often you want to cut grass. If your mower connects to your Smartphone, use an app to control it.
What to consider when buying a robotic lawnmower
For you to buy the right robotic lawnmower, you need to consider plenty of factors. Some of these factors include:
Size of your garden
Just like any lawnmower, the robotic lawnmower has a maximum lawn size it can cut, usually measured in square meters. You should note you are better off buying a mower larger for your lawn than one that is smaller.
Many homeowners have the impression that buying a mower that covers less distance or has less battery will get the work done as they can mow the entire lawn in two strips, but this doesn’t work as the smaller mower may not come with enough perimeter wire to cover a larger garden.
It also might not be able to travel far enough from its dock.
If you aren’t sure of the right appliance to go for, ask an expert to guide you through. If you have a large lawn, one of the best robotic lawnmowers we have come across is the Lawnbott by Robomo.
This machine can comfortably cut a lawn of up to 25, 000 square feet.
While robotic lawnmowers are excellent at saving you time and energy, the decent ones don’t come cheap. It’s tempting to over commit yourself, so you buy an appliance you can’t afford, but we highly discourage against this.
When making the purchase, factor in the value of your time and whether the lawnmower purchase makes economic sense.
A lawnmower that runs on electricity is better as you won’t be making noise to your neighbors as you are cleaning your lawn. At the same time, you will be conserving the environment when you use an electric robotic lawnmower than a gas one.
Smart irrigation system
They say watering the lawn can be therapeutic, but if you don’t like standing for hours with a hosepipe in your hand, investing in a smart irrigation system will get you a long way.
According to experts, once the system is installed correctly and set up, it can save you up to 50% of your watering bill.
How smart irrigation works
The system collects information from sensors and sends predefined user orders to actuators that make the water sprinkler go off. Moisture sensors then collect the data.
You need to define the moisture and temperature range you are interested in. When the system reaches its threshold, it performs an action that can be the start or stop of irrigation.
When setting up the system, think about the type of soil in your garden, the amount of shade it receives, and the type of plants growing in your yard. By simply doing this, you will deliver the right amount of water and at the right time.
If looking for a smart watering system, one of the best ones you can go for is the Rachio’s controller that comes with Alexa and Google Assistant for easy control.
Smart outdoor lighting
Smart outdoor lights and plugs work the same way as their indoor counterparts while being able to stand up to most weather elements. You can set most of the lights to activate automatically based on the movement of light.
When you set them, you don’t need to worry about remembering to turn them off every morning.
The cool thing with smart lights is in addition to saving you energy, they also give you more control. For example, you can dim them, so you don’t annoy your neighbors.
You can also tune the color to be more attractive or interesting.
When you are buying the lights, the biggest consideration should be whether you want the lights for security or ambiance (or a mix of both).
You also should consider whether you want to stick with devices from the same brand or you want to mix and match.
Two of the best brands we have used are Ring and Hue. Ring’s products are utility and security-focused, while Hue devices are more about aesthetics and ambiance.
Smart outdoor cooking
Whether you are a grilling novice or pitmaster, a smart grill provides you with a better way to monitor your meat and veggies without hoving over a scorching iron gate.
Smart grills use thermometer probes and a combination of wireless signals for remote control.
When you are close to the grill, you should use Bluetooth but when you are out of Bluetooth range, use Wi-Fi. When using Wi-Fi, you can tie your grill into other smart-home platforms such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
While there are plenty of smart grilling appliances you can use, not all are right for you. One of the best ones you can use is the Traeger’s Ironwood 650, Pellet Grill. It features wireless connectivity and allows you to step away from your cooking duties with confidence.
A built-in probe thermometer gets rid of guesswork as you can open the app and view the temperature your meat is cooking at.
You can also use the app to adjust the temperature of the grill and even get alerts to notify you when food is done. The app also shuts down the grill.
For the grill to last for a long time, you have to take good care of it. As a rule of thumb, you should clean it regularly.
Give it a thorough cleaning once or twice a year but if you use the grill frequently, clean it every 5-10 uses. You also should regularly inspect it for any defects and fix them if present.
Smart outdoor speakers
Smart outdoor speakers bring you the benefit of voice control over your tunes and your smart devices.
You should get a high-quality weatherproof speaker that lets you control your connected outdoor gadgets hands-free while providing you with optimum sound without having to mess with wires or worrying about the rain.
If you love having a backyard movie theater, the smart outdoor speaker can double as a sound system for your big-screen entertainment.
While there are plenty of speaker models in the market, one of the best ones you can go for is the Sonos Move. It’s a high-quality speaker that is extremely easy to carry around.
It comes with voice assistants that relieve you from having to reach for your phone to change tunes.
The assistants also let you do other things such as turning on or dimming lights to set the mood, check the temperature of your smart grill, and turn off the sprinkler.
The speaker also has a battery and Bluetooth functionality so you can continue streaming music even when you are out of the range of your Wi-Fi network. It also comes with a small charging base that you can use to charge using your USB-C charger.
The battery lasts for up to 10 hours which is long enough for most outdoor activities.
Weather stations help you learn more about your yard. The weather station might not be ideal for every homeowner, but if you have green fingers and love having healthy plants all year round, you should highly think about getting a weather sensor.
When you closely monitor the temperature, wind, and rainfall in your yard, you have an easier time maintaining a beautiful backyard.
After getting your weather monitor, you should hook it into an ecosystem such as Netatmo’s. This allows you to receive alerts on your Smartphone about when it’s going to rain or when it’s the right time to air out your home.
It’s also wise you integrate your monitor with Alexa that will allow you to receive more data beyond temperature. With Alexa integration, you will receive humidity and pressure.
You can even get a system that allows you to measure wind chill, UV radiation, and heat index in addition to the usual basic weather metrics.
Smart soil sensors
While water is vital for a healthy lawn, you won’t get much if you don’t have the right soil. Smart soil sensors help you analyze data across all soil metrics, and ping alerts to your phone when plants need watering or feeding.
The sensors also help you stay in the loop in the event there are temperature or light issues in your yard that might prevent plants from growing as well as they should.
You can take your soil to a local testing center and have the soil tested, but with a smart soil sensor, you have an extra edge as you can tell when the soil condition changes even by a small fraction.
As a result, you rescue your lawn as early as possible; hence you maintain a healthy lawn all year round.
Whether you are looking to streamline entertainment, eliminate manual work, or ratchet up security, there are plenty of smart appliances you can use. To get the most from the appliances, buy them from a reputable store.
While the appliances will be a little bit more expensive than ordinary appliances, they are easier to use and also make you look cool, which is cool. Don’t you think?