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Smart Tech to Keep Your Lawn Green This Summer

A Colorado dad's review of the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller.

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If there’s one thing many parents don’t want to spend time and energy dealing with, it’s our grass. Problem is, the dog days of summer make it tough to ensure that the lawn and garden are getting the right amount of water, without wasting that valuable resource. A local company has a new smart sprinkler controller that can take the complication out of watering your lawn properly. I took it for a test.

Rachio, a smart sprinkler company based in downtown Denver, offers the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller. The Rachio box replaces the confusing sprinkler controller that likely came with your home. Installation was actually easier than I expected—it took about 10 minutes following the included instructions. The program supports up to 16 zones but I only needed five. Once installed, the rest of the magic happens in the Rachio app.

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The app walks you through the process of identifying each zone so it knows exactly what you’re watering. From there you can easily set up a schedule based on your HOA or community restrictions and the time of year. When that’s done, it does what you would expect a sprinkler controller to do, it waters your lawn. The cool thing is that it does so much more.

First of all, you have access to your sprinklers even when you’re not home. Want to give your backyard an extra 10 minutes of water? No problem, just load up the app while at work and hit go. The app also uses weather intelligence to override or adjust your schedule when necessary. I was seriously impressed with how well this worked. In my testing, it did an amazing job at canceling watering times early knowing that it was going to rain in the afternoon. Rachio says these tweaks and smart adjustments will save you water without sacrificing your yard. It can even adjust watering times when temperatures cool down at the end of the season.

At $230 (8-zone model) or $280 (16-zone model) the Rachio smart sprinkler is not inexpensive, but for the homeowner who simply wants a better option to manage their sprinkler system, you can’t go wrong.

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