Gardens are a joy to have for most people, but maintaining them is a different story. Hobbyists would say just how much satisfaction they get from tending to their gardens and watching it grow. A big part of a successful garden is watering it.
However, most of the time, we water too much or too little, and we end up wasting a precious resource. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a typical American household uses 320 gallons of water daily, and around 1/3 of that is used outdoors. A more interesting fact is that more than 50% of outdoor water use goes to tending your gardens and lawns, and more than half of that amount is wasted because of inefficient use.
The good news is that technology can help you use water more efficiently when it comes to your plants. GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub makes use of timers and weather data to know the right amount of water to use on your garden. It brings together mobile, cloud and Internet technologies to help you maximize water use and to save water while keeping your garden healthy.
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How does it work?
WiFi Control: GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub connects to your Wi-Fi network or uses 3G connectivity to get weather forecasts from the nearest weather station. This allows the device to know if it’s going to rain, or if it’s going to be especially sunny and dry, helping it come up with the best watering levels. It will also check prevailing weather conditions to adjust the watering schedule it made from the forecasts. For instance, if it is going to be a rainy day, it will water your gardens less or it may even skip watering for that day.
Smart Zoning: You can set up six different zones using the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub, and it claims to help you save water by around half of what you are consuming now.
Smart Lighting Control: The GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub can also help you save more with your garden lighting. This smart irrigation system can use information on sunrise and sunset to turn your garden lights on or off.
The GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub has a circular shape with a diameter of close to 6 inches. It is 2.09 inches deep and weighs 3.31 pounds. The GreenIQ catches your attention with its bright green hard plastic body plus the GreenIQ logo printed on a gray plastic division at the center.
It has several output ports: one for each of the six irrigation zones, one for the master valve, and one channel for lighting. It also has ports for flow meters, rain sensors, and soil moisture sensors.
Integrations – Where the GreenIQ Shines
For serious gardeners, you would be happy to know that GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub works with other sensors and devices.
At its core, the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub will only be able to create a watering schedule based on the weather forecast.
There is no way for it to know the conditions of your plants to know if it needs more or less water. No problem, as you can use it with the Parrot Flower Power, a device that can collect different types of data about your plants and checks them against its own database filled with plant-related information. This will help the GreenIQ get temperature and moisture readings and allow it to decide whether to water more or just water sparingly.
GreenIQ can also communicate with Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor, another plant sensor that can help it make more accurate watering decisions.
It can also get information from the Netatmo Urban Weather Station, which means that you get weather information right from your own backyard instead of relying on weather forecasts that cover your entire city.
Other integrations include:
- Amazon Echo. Just enable the GreenIQ skill and you can now tell Alexa to “ask GreenIQ to turn off all zones” or to report on savings.
- Nest Protect. The GreenIQ works with your Nest Protect. When Nest Protect senses a fire, GreenIQ will turn on the water on all zones for 20 minutes.
- IFTTT recipes. There are some ready-made IFTTT recipes that you can use with your GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub, allowing you to instantly tweet your weekly water savings, or tell your GreenIQ to give your plants extra water during extremely hot weather. You can create your own IFTTT recipes as well.
- Conrad Connect. This allows your GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub to work with cloud-based services and devices. This gives you an easy way to automate your home by allowing your smart devices work together.
Pros of the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub
- WiFi AND 3G: The GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub is the only smart irrigation system that uses both Wi-Fi and 3G to connect to the Internet in order to get weather forecasts. Also its range of integrations would make it easier for the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub to get a wide range of information to ensure accurate watering levels.
- Can Use Voice Commands: That is on top of the convenience you get from being able to use voice commands to operate your irrigation system.
- Water Resistant and Energy Efficient: Not surprisingly, the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub is water-resistant and uses only 3.5 watts of energy.
- Easy to Use: Overall, the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub is very easy to use. You can assign a name for each zone as well as put up a picture to make it easier to identify. You can see the status of each zone, and see whether it is currently being watered, and when the next watering schedule is. You can also see other details, such as soil moisture, if you are using connected devices.
- Helpful Reports: Moreover, you can get a report on how much savings you are getting, as well as indicators on rainfall and evapotranspiration.
- Auto-Freeze Setting: Further, GreenIQ has a freeze pause option. If you enable this feature, the smart irrigation will not water your plants when temperature hits 3°C or below.
What could be better
- Limited by Zones: There are several other smart irrigation systems that you can consider. For instance, you have the Rachio Iro. The Iro is available here and can accommodate 16 zones, while the GreenIQ can only accommodate 6 zones yet sells for the same price. BUT, it does take a while to properly use 16 zones for most home owners.
- Not the Cheapest Option: If you are looking for something cheaper, check out Blossom Smart Watering Control, which sells for a comparable price here for 12 zones, or even less for 8 zones.
- Not Yet WaterSense Certified: This is a new standard from the EPA which many competitors like Rachio, RainMachine, and Skydrop have. I don’t put TOO much stock in this, because getting certified is a process, but it’s still worth noting.
- No Touch Screen: Personally this isn’t a big deal to me, but some users prefer a smart touchscreen like the Hydrawise or RainMachine has.
NOTE: For a full round-up of the top smart sprinklers this year, check out this guide I created.
Should you get the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub?
Price might be a consideration for most people, but you also have to consider other factors aside from the cost. GreenIQ, Rachio Iro, and Blossom basically function similarly. They all allow you to manage your watering job and save costs by using the right amount of water to keep your plants healthy. And you can override these calculated watering schedules based on weather reports through the mobile app or via desktop interface.
Remember, however, that Iro is not waterproof, while both Green IQ and Blossom are.
Plus, GreenIQ has several unique features such as the cellular communication, which allows you to skip connecting to your Wi-Fi and still enables you to get weather reports if your Wi-Fi signals do not reach your garden.
While acting as an irrigation controller, GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub has made sure that it is easy to obtain as much information as possible to help it calculate the most optimal levels of watering. More specifically, GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub connects to Toro, Neatatmo, Nest Protect, Muzzley, Koubachi and Flower Power, along with a range of other sensors.
In short, GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub can work with other devices and sensors, making it much more useful and easier to automate.
Bottom Line: However, even without the sensors, GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub is a great way to give your garden the right amount of water that would guarantee healthy plants while also helping you save water.