What is Smart Irrigation?


By Evan Rivers

Are you tired of looking out your window and seeing dead, patchy grass? Or, on the other hand, is your grass healthy, but you are tired of spending time in your yard carrying a water hose? Smart irrigation may be the solution for your lawn. Smart irrigation uses state-of-the-art technology to ensure that your grass always receives the right amount of water. Are you interested in installing smart irrigation in your lawn? Keep reading to find out about its benefits, and contact the professionals at Rivers Lawn and Landscape.

What is smart irrigation?

Irrigation is the scheduled, programmed watering of your lawn. Traditional irrigation systems often operate on a timed schedule, and they give your lawn calculated amounts of water at certain times of the day. While this is definitely beneficial for your lawn’s health, traditional irrigation systems definitely fall short at times.

One of the main reasons why homeowners install irrigation is to take a lot of the hard work out of landscaping. Irrigation provides an effortless, foolproof solution to watering your lawn, right? That is not always the case. For example, when it rains, your traditional irrigation system is still going to turn on. This will lead to your grass becoming overwatered and unhealthy.

Smart irrigation is the perfect solution to this problem. Smart irrigation systems monitor the weather to make sure your lawn gets the right amount of water at all times. While some homeowners may be wary of the cost, smart irrigation can actually save you money in the long run.


How Smart Irrigation Can Benefit Your Lawn and Landscape

Smart irrigation offers many benefits to your lawn, landscape, and wallet.

Saves Water

Many homeowners worry that irrigation will lead to a higher water bill. However, one of the biggest benefits of smart irrigation is that it can actually save you water.

Water Overuse

Many homeowners start out by manually watering their grass. Most choose to do this because it seems like the most cost-friendly solution. Actively watching the amount of water that goes on your lawn seems like the best way to control water use, right? That’s not always the case: manually watering your lawn can actually lead to increased water use. Many homeowners tend to overwater their lawn as they do not know what amount of water is best for their grass. Since most people are afraid of underwatering and killing their grass, they apply too much, leading to increased costs and a drowned lawn. Since smart irrigation uses a scheduled and calculated water application system, your grass will always receive the correct amount of water at the right times.

Now, you may be asking yourself, won’t a traditional irrigation system offer the same benefits? While traditional irrigation systems do indeed use scheduled and calculated watering, they do not take weather into account. As a result, your traditional irrigation system will still turn on and water your grass on rainy days. This leads to a lot of wasted water, unless the homeowner makes it a point to turn the system off for the day. While this is a solution, in a way it defeats the purpose of your irrigation system. Rather than relying on hands-off, scheduled, efficient watering, you are having to actively remember to take care of your lawn’s watering. Smart irrigation, however, knows when watering isn’t necessary. This ensures the hands-off approach you desire.


How much water does smart irrigation save?

While we’ve already established that smart irrigation can cut down on water usage, you may be wondering just how much water it can save. The Irrigation Association and the International Center for Water Technology at California State University in Fresno state that smart irrigation can use up to 20% less water than traditional irrigation systems. 

How Smart Irrigation Works

Now that you’ve learned how smart irrigation can save you water, let’s talk about how it works. Traditional irrigation systems have two components: when to water and how much to water. We program them to water at certain times of the day with a certain amount of water. Smart irrigation, however, has many components. While it still depends on times and amounts of water, it has sensors and technology built in that can monitor many factors that affect your lawn’s hydration:

  • Weather
  • Soil conditions
  • Evaporation
  • Plant water use

Through monitoring these factors, your smart irrigation system automatically monitors and adjusts watering so that it is tailored to your lawn’s needs.

Saves Money

Since smart irrigation can lead to less water use, it can directly save you money. According to Salt River Project, up to 70% of household water use is outdoors. If you are finding your water bill to be suspiciously high in the warmer months, installing a smart irrigation system may be the solution to cut down on costs over time. Although the cost of initial installation can be intimidating, the long-term savings may be worth it.


A More Beautiful Lawn

While saving time, water, and money are huge benefits of smart irrigation, one of the biggest benefits is that you may have a more beautiful lawn. Applying the wrong amount of water to your lawn can be one of the biggest culprits to patchy, dying grass. Overwatering and underwatering can both have detrimental effects on your lawn’s look, so ensuring your grass receives the perfect amount of water will lead to greener, healthier grass.

Types of Smart Irrigation Controllers

There are two main categories of smart irrigation controllers, weather-based and soil-based.

Weather-Based Smart Irrigation Controllers

Weather-based smart irrigation controllers monitor local weather conditions to make sure they deliver the correct amount of water to your lawn. When conditions change in the atmosphere, so does your lawn’s water needs. Weather-based controllers monitor this through advanced technology. These controllers are sometimes also called ET controllers because they use evapotranspiration data to decide on correct watering amounts. There are three main types of weather-based controllers:

  • Signal-based controllers use data from a local public weather source that monitors ET data
  • Historic controllers deliver water based on past water needs in certain areas
  • On-site controllers use data collected on site to decide on water needs

Soil-Based Smart Irrigation Controllers

Soil-based smart irrigation controllers monitor soil conditions on-site. We typically bury the controller in the soil at the root zone of your lawn, and they closely monitor the moisture in your soil.

Installing Your Smart Irrigation System

Smart irrigation systems can have many positive effects on your lawn, your water use, and your wallet. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of smart irrigation, let us know and we can help.