Our expectations of the home as a place of work, rest and play have evolved as family dynamics shift, new needs arise and technology advances. In this series of blog posts, we are taking a deep dive into the home and discover the products at the forefront of innovation. In this second post we look at the garden.
The urban garden has seen significant shifts over the years based on economic and social factors. While these vary around the globe, depending on climate and cultural lifestyle, in the UK new demands on space have led to creative approaches and the ‘repurposing’ of the urban garden.
The demand in the housing market and pressure on household finances has seen a squeeze on the average size of an urban UK garden. Modern houses built on smaller plots, and people choosing to ‘stay-put’, extending the footprint of their homes instead of moving has seen the garden adapt to modern lifestyle.
Despite the colder (and wetter) weather in the UK, people are taking cues from homes in hotter climates, turning their outdoor space into an extension of indoors. Greater emphasis is placed on design – exterior-décor – and garden furniture. Technology is also finding its way into the garden too. Activities that were usually confined to indoors – watching TV, browsing the internet – are becoming common place in the garden enabled by Wifi and portable tech.
Examples of innovation changing the UK’s urban garden.
Image credit, clockwise left to right: Rain Machine Mini-8: a smart WiFi irrigation controller with an iOS/Android app that helps you take better care of your plants. Droplet is a smart sprinkler system. Flower Power, by Parrot: wireless sensor and Bluetooth enabled gardening device for monitoring and feedback of garden plants. Umbrella with solar panels to charge your gadgets inthe garden. Edyn: smart garden system.
The connected garden
While connected technology in the home is becoming common place, we are starting to see an increase in sensors and control systems being utilized in the garden for remote monitoring and maintaining of greenery. Parrot Flower Power is a ‘precision gardening’ device that allows users to monitor light, soil water content, fertilizer and temperature in the garden – enabled by wireless sensors, Bluetooth and Cloud data storage.
The garden robots
Not too dissimilar from the robotic vacuum cleaner, the Flymo Robotic Lawnmower offers remote lawn cutting by mowing ‘little by little, in irregular patterns’. Precision cutting removes the grass tips to give lush green grass; the fine clippings are deposited back into the soil acting as a natural fertiliser and removing the need for emptying and disposal of cuttings. The robotic mower can be programmed to individual preferences. It features a rechargeable battery, built-in safety features of reversing and changing direction when it hits something and immediately stopping when lifted.
The artificial garden
On average people have 19 minutes of leisure time per week to dedicate to their gardens, driving a demand for low maintenance hard landscaping. Artificial grass previously seen in commercial applications, is growing in popularity for the home garden as a low maintenance, fuss-free alternative.
Lion Lawns offers a choice of four different ‘lawn’ varieties: Sensation – for the ultimate ‘lush lawn’, Majestic – high density and natural colours for the ultimate ‘natural appearance’, Alfresco – shorter height grass for the ‘freshly mowed’ appearance, and Classic – versatile option for ‘heavy use’ areas.