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Irrigreen precision irrigation system review: don’t waste, don’t want

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At first sight

Expert assessment


“Water printing” technology prevents water from going where it’s not needed App is easy to navigate DIY is an available installation option


Must be installed from scratch, can’t retrofit an existing sprinkler system Weather driven automatic watering may not be fully cooked A little rough around the edges; the Irrigreen controller, for example, is a board in a box

Our verdict

You’ll have to calculate whether it’s worth replacing your entire sprinkler system with Irrigreen’s, but homeowners with major water-usage issues may find it invaluable.

Price at time of review

As tested, $3,280 for a 5-head system. The actual price depends on the size of the system, plus any installation costs.

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Anyone with a sprinkler system knows at least a little of the frustration of waking up in the morning to find puddles of water on a driveway, path or sidewalk – wasted water that should have fed your lawn, trees or flower beds. The Irrigreen precision irrigation system applies precision engineering to this troubling and costly problem.

The star of the show is a new type of pop-up sprinkler based on the same design principle as an inkjet printer; Irrigreen co-founder and CTO Gary Kleinfelter helped create the concept for inkjet printers and holds 35 patents on the technology. Each Irrigreen digital sprinkler is equipped with 14 nozzles capable of spraying water with variable pressure to reach different distances. And these distances can vary as the sprinkler rotates in a 360-degree arc, so water is only delivered up to the edge of the lawn or flower beds and doesn’t reach areas that don’t need watering.

This review is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best smart sprinkler controllers.

origin 1Each Irrigreen pop-up sprinkler has 14 nozzles of various sizes. The head can “launch” jets of water at variable distances and adjust the degree of water pressure in real time, so that the jet follows the precise contours of the lawn.


Watching a YouTube video of an Irrigreen plant in operation could explain how this works better than I can use words, but the concept is pretty simple: the homeowner uses Irrigreen’s app to map the yard around the sprinkler head, setting the maximum distance they would like the water reached in every direction. Nothing but weed in one direction? Open things up all the way. Obstacle, fence or the side of the house in another direction? Dial in the distance so that the water only goes where it is needed. The system remembers the gauge pressure of the water that needs to be used as it faces in each direction and responds accordingly during a watering cycle.

Mapping your garden is intuitive and straightforward and, dare I say it, quite fun.

Before we get too far into this review, however, you should know that unlike most (if not all) other smart sprinkler controllers, the Irrigreen is a complete nose-to-tail system that includes all buried hardware and sprinkler heads. of the sprinkler. You cannot simply replace an existing controller and use it with a standard system, nor can you simply replace existing sprinkler heads with Irrigreen ones. And while Irrigreen says its system requires far less hardware — 250 feet of pipe and just 5 digital sprinkler heads, versus 1,500 feet of pipe and up to 40 conventional sprinkler heads for a typical yard — installing an Irrigreen system still means digging trench lines at your site (or hire a contractor to do it for you).

origin 1The Irrigreen controller consists of a printed circuit board in a waterproof box.

Christopher Null/Foundry

Since it wasn’t practical for us to temporarily evaluate an entire sprinkler system—at least not without Irrigreen sending a team of landscapers to my home—the company provided a digital sprinkler head that can connect to a standard garden hose. and used above ground. So, my experience obviously wasn’t the same as I would have with an in-ground installation, but it was close enough. And the software experience, including mapping features, would be the same either way. Irrigreen didn’t provide much instruction on how to set up the hardware (I suspect most of their customers acquire the system through landscaping contractors) I was able to get it up and running without too much trouble.

Also, the software is where the magic is, and while I was inundated with errors and couldn’t get anything to work on day one, Irrigreen said this was because the unit was probably in maintenance mode while it downloaded updates. . Sure enough, everything started working as expected on day two with no intervention. (Some sort of notification of these updates would have been nice.)

origin 1Setting irrigation contours and spray distances around the sprinkler head is a simple process using the Irrigreen app.

Christopher Null/Foundry

The system connects to your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, but also has a cellular backup mode in case your broadband connection drops. Wireless setup requires scanning a barcode on the case of pretty industrial electronics and then performing a few basic steps in the app. After identifying the watering zones, the system starts a calibration run to test the water pressure, which takes a couple of minutes.

At that point, your (or the contractor’s) next task is to map out your construction site. This is done via an interactive system that drops the sprinkler head in the center of the screen and instructs the user to drop pins in a circle around it. At each point, you can place the pivot as close or as far away from the sprinkler as possible, at least up to the sprinkler’s maximum range. This distance will be based on available water pressure: Irrigreen indicates that 35 feet is roughly the limit; mine topped out at 24 feet.

Mapping your garden is intuitive and straightforward and, dare I say it, quite fun. While it doesn’t overlay an actual image of your garden, which would be awfully cool, if difficult to achieve without using custom aerial photos, it’s easy to see where you need to pin (up to 50) with a little trial and error . In my case, I wanted to hang around a tree and sandbox in one corner of the yard and some planters on the opposite side. It took less than 5 minutes to get around the yard and dial the water to spray within inches of each obstacle, which is why Irrigreen says the system “prints” the water onto the lawn.

Unfortunately, this part of my backyard (which I Thought was quite small) it was just a little too big to be completely covered by a single Irrigreen head. If I were to invest in the system permanently, I think two sprinkler heads would be needed in this area of ​​my yard.

origin 1Irrigreen’s app allows you to program irrigation schedules, taking into account current weather conditions, and keeps a detailed record of the water used for irrigation.

Christopher Null/Foundry

Once your garden has been mapped out, the hard part of setting up is over. The Irrigreen app allows you to perform manual watering runs, schedule runs based on time and date (including specific days of the week, odd/even days and more), and has an automatic watering mode that uses Internet weather data to regulate water use. There’s not much information on how this automatic mode works, and the system proved a bit confusing in my testing: On the day of a freak hail and cold snap, the system said it “ran longer” due to “warmer weather” instead of skipping watering as it should have.

Over time, things have become more in line with ambient weather conditions, indicating that perhaps this is a system that needs to run for a while before it really finds its rhythm. You’ll find all of this information tracked in a logging system that monitors irrigation activity, but the details in this section of the app are sparse and could use more information to guide you as to what’s going on.

Note that it is also possible to use control box hardware, which is the baffling equivalent of a bare circuit board mounted inside a plastic box, to initiate basic manual runs for a single zone or all zones , or to stop all watering, but the three buttons inside are not. not well labelled. Wait for the manual (very beta) if you plan on opening the box.

The price of Irrigreen depends on the size of your lawn and the number of sprinklers you need, and on a online quotation tool allows you to analyze an estimate. For my lawn (estimated at about 6,100 square feet), Irrigreen suggested five sprinklers for a total cost of $3,280. Based on my testing, however, I’m confident that at least eight heads would have been required. However, it’s not crazy compared to the average cost of a standard sprinkler system, which typically costs $500 to $1,000 per patch. For what it’s worth, my current setup has about 20 conventional sprinklers.

Is Irrigreen the best new way to irrigate?

Even if it is promising today, I think Irrigreen still has something to grow. For example, you can’t receive push notifications about watering, and there’s no third-party connectivity to common smart home platforms like Alexa or Google Home, much less Apple’s HomeKit. Current hardware seems built more for the lab than a suburban home, and then there’s the cost of the installation to consider.

It’s also difficult to verify the company’s claims that an Irrigreen system can save everyone 50% of the water spent on irrigation; but at the very least, his “water print” concept seems to provide more accuracy and less waste when it comes to watering. Unless you want to replace your lawn with artificial grass, Irrigreen is worth keeping an eye on.