Sunday April 22 was the 48th celebration of Earth Day, a worldwide event to demonstrate support for and awareness of environmental protection efforts. Since, according to the EPA, about half of the water we use outdoors goes to waste from evaporation, wind, or runoff due to overwatering, Earth Day is a perfect occasion to highlight trends in water conservation features for our lawns and gardens.
According to Freedonia Group analyst Jennifer Mapes-Christ, "In response to the severe drought conditions across the US since 2011, manufacturers have stepped up efforts to develop and market products designed to be more water efficient and to limit waste."
Beyond more basic soaker hoses and drip systems, underground irrigation was the next step in the evolution of water efficiency in the lawn and garden sector. Mapes-Christ said, "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."
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. Mapes-Christ commented, "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."
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 US lawn and garden watering equipment industry can be found in Freedonia's report, Lawn & Garden Watering Equipment in the US. For more information on this and other studies, please see Freedonia's Consumer Goods segment.