In this video, home technology expert Ross Trethewey explores some of the ways home landscaping can be done automatically. Ross looks at automated products that can help out homeowners with their landscaping, as well as smart irrigation. Ross meets Joe Jones, who has designed a robot that’s capable of weeding a garden on its own. Afterward, Ross talks to Jenn Nawada about the future of landscaping technology.
How Do Robotic Lawn Mowers Work?
Automowers, or robotic lawnmowers, can automatically mow lawns up to an acre in size. Every day, it cuts a small amount of grass at a time. This way, the grass clippings fall to the ground and decompose, providing nutrients to the soil to help the lawn stay healthy.
Robotic mowers also have built-in sensors to avoid things like feet, kids, and other moving obstructions.
To set it up:
- Run a line of low voltage wires along the perimeter of the property. This will also ensure that the mower never leaves the yard.
- Place the wires around obstacles such as trees and boulders so that the mower always avoids them.
- Connect the wires to a docking station and plug it in. After that, the mower takes care of the rest.
How Does a Smart Irrigation System Work?
No matter where you live, lawns and gardens require a certain amount of watering on a regular basis. For years, irrigation systems have been installed to help automate the watering process, but recently, those systems have been updated to have a smart home component to them.
Smart irrigation is usually installed with a local sensor to determine what the actual weather is like in your yard. It connects to the internet and collects historical weather data so the system adjusts itself to ensure the right amount of water is being applied to your property.
Smart irrigation systems install the same way that regular irrigation systems do. If you already have irrigation in place, the process is as simple as replacing the heads.
Automatic Weeding Robot
Every garden, at some point or another, must contend with weeds. While gardening can be therapeutic, getting on your hands and knees to weed the garden isn’t exactly the most fun task. Luckily, there is an option that can do this work automatically for you.
An automatic weeding robot is solar-powered and can handle 1-2 hours of runtime and about 200 square feet of garden. It works by sensing weeds based on height, meaning that if the plant touches a certain height against the robot, it won’t cut it.
To install it:
- Create a barrier around the garden to contain the weeding robot. The robot needs at least a 2-inch barrier to know where the garden ends.
- Rake the garden flat. Remove all existing weeds in the garden. The robot won’t be able to tell the difference between weeds and plants you want to keep because it senses weeds based on height. Meaning that if the plant touches a certain height against the robot, it won’t cut it.
- Place a plant guard around any seedling or small, delicate plants. The robot will sense the guard and know not to cut it.
- Push the button to turn on, wait until the green lights appear, and place down. Then push the button again for the robot to start weeding.
Ross explored a variety of different technologies that could change the way people approach landscape maintenance.
The robotic lawnmower is an Automower 450x, which is manufactured by Husqvarna. The installation involved running a low voltage wire around the perimeter of the yard and around any obstacles, which all connect back to a charging station.
The smart irrigation system shown is manufactured by Rain Bird. The components of the system in that particular setup were the 1800 High Efficency Sprays, 42SA Simple Adjust Rotors, Emitter Conversion Kit for Drip Irrigation, and a WiFi Controller (Model ST8i). All of these are manufactured by Rain Bird.