Smart watering: irrigation systems to keep your plants thriving, whatever the weather

Keep your plants hydrated without lifting a finger using a smart irrigation system that will water your garden exactly when it needs it
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Are you a keen gardener and are away for the holidays? Or do you always tend to forget to water the plants? Fear not – your lawn and garden need not suffer. Smart watering technology can do the job for you. Like oh-so clever smart heating indoors, smart irrigation systems do a vaguely similar job outdoors.

    They are completely automated so will actively water your plants and garden for you. That means that they’ll the task off your hands completely. What’s more, they’ll know exactly when your plants need hydrating and by how much, so they’ll save water as they only use what your garden needs.

    What is smart watering? Why should I get a smart irrigation system?

    a large garden with a neat lawn and a row of lavender at the edge bordering a path and a garden room and blue sun chair

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Claire Lloyd Davies

    Garden irrigation systems come in all shapes and sizes, but they generally work in two ways. They can either be soil-based systems, which provide water on demand. These rely on a plant’s ability to draw up exactly the amount of hydration that it needs to survive.

    Alternatively, they can be smart, weather-based systems, which use location and weather data to set specific watering schedules. So when it rains, they won’t water your garden. And when a stretch of dry weather is forecast, they’ll keep it perfectly hydrated.

    How do irrigation systems work?

    a wooden post in the middle of a garden with a outdoor tap and smart irrigation system attached to it and in the background a woman relaxing on a chair in a garden

    Image credit: Gardena

    The weather-based gadgets are considered the ‘smart’ type of irrigation system. They can adapt quickly and effortlessly to their environment and can be programmed via a smartphone. They are battery operated and need to be attached to your outdoor tap or sprinkler system to access the water. Much like smart lighting systems, they’re connected to your phone via WiFi or Bluetooth, you operate them using an app from which you can set up a number of watering schedules.

    You can also use them to water your garden on cue, whenever you think it looks a bit parched. Smart irrigation systems more efficient than watering plants by hand, too. They use just the right amount of water – no more, no less – meaning you won’t run the risk of overwatering your garden either.

    Flowering plants in large pots with a sdmart watering smart irrigation system

    Image credit: Eve Aqua

    If you lack a lawn and you’re the proud owner of a petite plot packed with brilliant small garden ideas with plenty planters and pots to water instead, you can invest in a multi-channel water irrigation kit that works alongside a smart watering system. This is a specially designed hose with lots of individual drippers along the length that you can link up and feed into each pot so that water is delivered to each planter in one action.

    Who makes smart watering systems?

    a garden pathway flanked by lost of flowers and plants with a gravel path

    Image credit: Colin Poole/Future Plc

    The Eve Aqua, £89.95, links up to your sprinkler or a separate irrigation system and you can programme it to water up to seven times per day. It can be controlled either via your phone or by Apple’s voice assistant Siri. So if you’re an iPhone user, are out in the garden and your plants seem a little dry, you need just ask Siri to water your plants for you.

    a smart watering system attached to a garden tap which is attached to the exterior wall of a house with the garden, lawn and house in the background

    Image credit: Eve Aqua

    Another great example is the Red Dot Design winning Smart Water Control, £144.95 by Gardena. With six daily watering programmes that can be set to water between 1 minute and 10 hours, it also features handy in-built frost protection which will alert you when the temperature drops to just above freezing point so you can remove it before it gets damaged.

    While smart watering systems are undoubtedly a great help in the hot summer months, you can use them year round, too. Just don’t forget to disconnect them in winter!

    All the latest from Ideal Home