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What is “Smart Irrigation”?

How smart controllers use technology to free up your summer, saving you time and money!

By Henry VanHengstum


Watering your lawn and gardens with a hose connected to a sprinkler is tricky and time-consuming… you have to lug the hose around the yard, get the pressure and angle “just right” and remember to move it every few hours, hoping everything gets evenly watered. 

Installing an irrigation system makes watering a whole lot easier — but hooking your system up to a smart controller is a real game-changer!

What is a smart controller?

A smart controller is a box that connects to your irrigation system to regulate your system’s water cycle. Unlike traditional controllers — which run on a scheduled, time-based program — a smart controller uses technology, gathering cloud-based weather data and information from local weather stations to adjust watering cycles based on the actual needs of your landscape. 

But the best thing about having a smart irrigation system and using a smart controller is being able to monitor your water usage right from your phone, tablet or computer — no matter where you are in the world!

How do smart controllers work?

Smart controllers basically “think” for themselves. Your controller takes data, interprets it and makes decisions based on it. Data like:

  • The type of plants you have. — Some plants, like annuals, like to be watered every day, while lawns only need water once or twice a week. Native plants are better suited to local conditions and need less water than exotic imports.

  • The type of soil you have. — Clay soil can really hold on to moisture, but it needs to be watered in short intervals to prevent runoff. Sandy soil needs more frequent watering because it can’t retain moisture as well.

  • The temperature and relative humidity.— If the air is dry, your plants will need more water than they would on days when the air is heavy with humidity.

  • The amount of sunshine. — Plants in full sun need more water than plants that get some afternoon shade.

  • How windy it is. — Wind has a tendency to dry things out, so on a windy day, your lawn and gardens need more water than they would when the air is still.

Tim Bolen interviewed Harry and John for CHCH-TV in a segment called “A Sprinkler In Time.” In this short clip, John explains how a smart controller works:

What are the benefits of a smart controller?

A smart controller is an efficient and easy way to control your water usage, saving you time, energy and money!

  • They’re convenient. — Because they operate using a WiFi connection, everything you need is in the palm of your hand. You can water your whole property from your tablet, phone or computer (whether you’re at home or away enjoying a fabulous vacation!).

  • Get real-time reports on water usage. — the app’s reporting feature lets you know how much water you’re using (and saving!). Many homeowners report saving up to 50% more on water after switching to a Hydrawise system.

  • No more wasted water. — A smart controller knows exactly how much water your lawn and gardens need to stay green and healthy so you’ll never waste a single, precious drop! That’s good news for the environment :)

  • Get reports and alerts. —  If your controller senses a problem with your system (such as defective pipes, faulty valves, broken lines or broken sprinkler heads) it’ll send you an alert so you can shut off your system (remotely) before costly damage occurs.

What smart controller do we recommend?

The smart controller we recommend (and install for our clients) at Select Sprinklers is the Hydrawise system. If you’re curious about how it works, you can watch the video below. 

Can I add a smart controller to my existing system?

An existing system can be upgraded with some simple modifications. 

  • Turn on the system and mark the location of the sprinkler heads.

  • Once the sprinkler heads have been located, dig around them so they’re exposed (always call local authorities before digging to avoid damage to underground utilities).

  • Replace old heads and replace with water-efficient nozzles or driplines (perfect for under mulch in your garden beds!).

  • Replace the current controller with a smart controller.

This isn’t a complex procedure, but it is time-consuming. If you’d like help with converting your old system, give us a call and we’ll send someone to help you out.

Ready for hassle-free watering?

Installing a smart irrigation system (or updating your existing system) is a way for you to simplify your summer so you can relax and spend more time doing the things you love to do — knowing that your lawn and gardens are being watered without you having to remember to turn on the sprinklers!

If you’re ready to start saving water (and money!) give us a call and we can help you get started!

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