Home Tech Week - Garden gadgets
Just as outdoor living rooms have become the coolest spaces around, so too has interest in technology for the garden moved up several gears.
Tools that solve problems, simplify tasks and make working outdoors a more enjoyable experience are the order of the day. Consequently, there are some pretty innovative gadgets out there, which are designed to help you achieve the best kept garden with minimum effort.
Check out weather stations for smartphones (Netamo's weather station, around £129.99), indoor grow kits with an LED grow light, so you can grow herbs, and flowers all year round (Click & Grow's Smartpot Strawberry Indoor Grow Kit, around £76.85), and wireless plant monitors that keep an eye on your plants' health via your smartphone (Parrot Flower wireless plant monitor, around £39.99).
Whether you are on holiday or at work, Hozelock's new Cloud Controller lets you water your plants using your mobile phone and a simple app. The app allows you to set up watering patterns based on local weather information, £114.99 - this includes a hub that is connected wirelessly to an internet router (not supplied), www.hozelock.com
Smartphone controlled security
Forget the inconvenience of lost keys with the tough bluetooth Master Lock Smart Padlock 4401, which has been designed for outdoor use and can be unlocked using a smartphone or directional keypad. A Bluetooth connection allows you to open the padlock at the touch of a button and access can be shared remotely using the Master Lock Vault app, which logs who opened the padlock, £79.99, www.safe.co.uk
Social media for gardeners
Described as 'addictive' the Garden Tags app is a new free social networking app for gardeners of all abilities. The app, which is similar to Instagram, enables experts to share their knowledge with garden newbies across the globe. It allows you to upload and share photos of your plants and ask for help in identifying them. The photos can be added to the inbuilt encyclopedia and allows you to manage all your plants by receiving alerts when you need to look after them.
Cordless mowing and trimming
It's goodbye to petrol cans and extension cables with cordless and remote controlled lawnmowers. Top of every gardener's wish list will be the cordless Gtech lawn mower, which is powered by a 36V Lithium-ion battery that provides up to 40 minutes of mowing time, £299, www.gtech.co.uk
While for fully hands off technology, Robomow's 2016 robotic lawnmower series features models that once programmed will automatically mow your lawn twice a week (if required). A Robomow can even send operational and security alerts to your smartphone, so you can see when it's due to mow and lets you check its battery, from £1,199, www.robomow.com
LED lighting is a great way to add atmosphere to a garden at night time. These Carella decorative candle effect lights provide a glowing warm white light and look terrific placed in groups, £144 each, www.johncullenlighting.co.uk
But if you want music AND lighting, then Squire's Garden Centres has a marvellous waterproof parasol, which features 24 solar powered LED lights and a built-in solar powered blue tooth audio speaker, £149.99, www.squiresgardencentres.co.uk