Home automation is here already and fortunately for us green-fingered beings, home automation is venturing outside into our gardens. With the introduction of waterproof smart plugs and smart accessories, garden automation will not only take over the menial tasks but will enable us to control these tasks when we are away from home.
Saving energy and water are just two great benefits to the environment. Imagine turning on the water feature as you walk into the garden, or turning off the watering system using your mobile phone, whilst at work because it’s raining all day.
From outdoor Bluetooth speakers to robotic lawnmowers there is plenty to choose from when automating your garden. After long summer evenings. It is easy to forget that, in November it gets dark at 4 o’clock so setting outside lights to come on for your arrival home can be very welcoming.
Waterproof Smart Plugs for The Garden
When I first installed smart plugs in our home, I found the concept of saying “Alexa, switch on the sitting room lights” slightly strange but a few weeks in and it now seems strange to go to a lamp and flick a switch.
Waterproof Smart Plugs are now available for the garden and the possibilities for their use are endless.
What are Smart Plugs for the Garden?
Smart plugs for the garden are outside waterproof socket outlets that contain WIFI technology which can be controlled by either a smartphone app or a voice command unit such as amazon’s Alexa or google’s assistant.
This technology gives great control over the item plugged into the smart outlet socket. For example, you could plug your water feature into the waterproof smart plug. By using the smartphone app, set a time for it to turn on when you are most likely to be pottering in the garden and off again when you go to bed.
Alternatively, at other times, using the voice commands you could simply say “Alexa switch on the fountain” as you walk into the garden.
6 Ways to Use Smart Plugs in the Garden
- Turning water features on and off
- Switching lighting on and off
- Controlling Christmas decorations
- Greenhouse heating control
- Set timings for security lighting
- Control patio heating
Waterproof Smart Plugs, Are They Safe? The things you should know.
In the UK, all electrical equipment must be rated for safety. If you are unsure whether your device is safe to use outside please check with a qualified electrician.
Outdoor smart plugs have an “IP rating”.This is an Ingress Protection rating and it is followed by 2 sets of digits. The first set of digits is for the protection against the ingress of solids and the second set of digits is for the protection against the ingress of liquid.
For example, you may see an outdoor socket rated as IP44 the first 4 means that the item is protected against anything greater than 1mm. The second 4 means that water splashing against the housing from any direction will have no harmful effect. Read more on IP ratings and what their values mean.
Note: As yet, there are NO smart plugs on the market that can be fully submerged in water.
Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers for the Garden
If you love music and entertaining in the garden, then outside Bluetooth speakers are a real garden game changer. There are even speakers that are disguised as rocks!
Most speakers on the market are rechargeable, this means you have no need for a power source in the garden. A real advantage as speakers can be dotted around the garden and placed by seats or tables. With most speakers now using V5 Bluetooth, the range is up to 4 times greater than previous Bluetooth technology.
Some weatherproof Bluetooth speakers come with integral LED lights and flame effects which are really quite effective in the garden at night. As for battery life, this is good too, ranging from 8 to a massive 10 hours playing time.
Smart Watering Systems for the Garden
Smart garden water controllers have set the biggest move towards garden automation. Previous automatic timers and controllers for watering were notoriously hard to set and there was no way to stop the system from watering if it was tipping with rain.
Enter the Smart Water Controller! These little black boxes attach to your outside tap as normal but can be controlled by an app on your smartphone or Voice control, giving you total watering flexibility.
Setting watering periods is easy on the app’s interface. If it’s blazing hot and you are away from home, you could activate the controller by phone and water the garden. Alternatively, turn it off if there are reports of rain
Some units will even adjust the watering to the weather conditions using sensors in your garden.
Smart Lights for the Garden
The possibilities for garden lighting are endless. Smart bulbs and Smart flood lights not only produce a choice of 16 million colours but you can choose to have a warm or cool hue for each colour, they are dimmable too! This enables you to create just about any mood you desire in your garden.
Smart bulbs and floodlights are of course voice or smartphone activated. This can make changes a breeze. If arriving back late at night, you could turn all your garden lights on using your phone before you even step out of the car. Great for safety and a welcoming feature.
Garden Automation Kits
Garden automation kits are starting to become available on the open market. These kits can include anything from Robotic Lawn Movers, Garden Lights and Smart Watering Kits, all in a box ready to install.
They are expensive. However, if you have commissioned a brand new garden and want to keep it looking pristine with little time, then these kits might be for you.