Determining how much to water a garden remains one of the most vexing issues for any gardener. It requires daily trips out to the garden to check soil moisture, appraise the probability and amount of rain over the next several days, and gauge how much water is needed that day. Overwatering also contributes to a swollen water bill each month.

Fortunately, devices have finally made their way into the garden. The latest smart irrigation controllers can adjust the watering schedule based on local conditions. They monitor soil moisture, the water consumption of the plants, local weather, and other factors to determine the amount of water required each day. If the area receives heavy rain the controller may cancel sprinkling while an unusually warm day may result in the controller extending the session.

Gardeners can choose between two types of smart irrigation controllers for their gardens. The first, weather based smart irrigation controllers, use a variety of locally measured conditions combined with forecasts from internet services to determine how much water to use. They may locally measure temperature, wind and humidity, before accessing the local forecast to adjust the preset watering schedule.

The second type of smart irrigation controller is the soil moisture controller. These systems measure the level of soil moisture through buried sensors. They report soil moisture content back to the main control panel to allow it to make adjustments in the watering schedule. Some soil moisture systems work without the benefit of a preset system. In such systems watering begins whenever soil moisture drops below a preset amount. Watering will not occur if the moisture level is above a preset amount.

Smart irrigation controllers boast several benefits. First, they allow remote access to determine the status of the system and make adjustments. From your couch or the beach you can suspend watering in light of forecasted rain or add additional water if the forecast shows no precipitation for several days. With most systems remote control requires only a smartphone or computer.

Second, smart irrigation controllers save money. The initial investment returns in the form of decreased waterin. Gone are the days of guessing at how much to water. Also gone are the days of forgetting to return to the garden timely after having 15 minutes of excess water poured on the garden. This also helps globally, since water use is pretty high these days (see FAO stats)

Finally, the garden’s health is optimized. By ensuring that only the right amount of water reaches the garden the plants can thrive without the threat of root rot or other conditions brought on by drenched soil.

Technology continues to make our lives better. Now, it can make your garden healthier while freeing time for other pursuits. Anyone interested in a thriving garden should invest in a smart irrigation controller.

We can highly recommend the Rachio 3 – it has most of the features that you want in a smart irrigation controller. Rachio provides pretty useful tips on their youtube channel, e.g. how to install the Rachio3.