Spring Has Sprung! A Look At Lawn & Garden Watering Innovations

Irrigation system manufacturers have stepped up efforts to develop and market products designed to be more water efficient and to limit waste.

About half of the water used outdoors goes to waste from evaporation, wind, or runoff due to overwatering, according to the EPA. With that in mind, the recent 48th celebration of Earth Day is a perfect occasion to highlight trends in lawn and garden water conservation features.

lawn irrigation
(Photo: Scotts)

“In response to the severe drought conditions across the U.S. since 2011, manufacturers have stepped up efforts to develop and market products designed to be more water efficient and to limit waste,” according to Freedonia Group analyst Jennifer Mapes-Christ.

Beyond basic soaker hoses and drip systems, underground irrigation was the next step in the evolution of water efficiency in the lawn and garden sector. “Sales of underground irrigation systems took off, particularly as DIY home kits began to appear on the market and homeowners did not have to rely on contractors,” said Mapes-Christ.

Although for many years home irrigation systems have been linked to clock-based timed controllers, these have limitations. According to Mapes-Christ, “Homeowners still found themselves wasting water and money and damaging their plants by overwatering. Some even run their sprinklers in the rain, if no one is home to turn it off.”

However, the most recent smart watering innovations solve that problem. “New watering system introductions since 2016 have integrated smart technologies to enable people to control watering systems remotely, typically from an app on their smartphone, but more recently also via smart home speakers and hubs featuring Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant,” Mapes-Christ explained.

For example, on April 18 Scotts Miracle-Gro introduced its Gro collection, which features the company’s Gro 7 Zone Controller and Gro Water Sensors. The system uses real-time local weather and plant data from the sensors to automatically adjust and improve irrigation schedules tailored to the specific needs of your lawn and garden. Homeowners can do a variety of tasks (e.g., control the system, adjust the schedule, view the progress of current watering periods, and verify the system’s status) via the company’s Gro Connect app.

Additional analysis of the U.S. lawn and garden watering equipment industry can be found in Freedonia’s report, Lawn & Garden Watering Equipment in the U.S.