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Hey Google, are smart gardens the future?

A lot has changed in recent years but one of the most apparent changes has been the amount of time people spend at home – an arguably forced changed thanks to the pandemic. Numerous lockdowns saw the British public seemingly want to invest more in their gardens. Alongside this has been the development of smart technology, including products for the outdoors. Are we likely to see the two trends combine?

It’s hard to see why this wouldn’t be the case, after The Smart Home Garden invited me to its immersive experience day showcasing one of its smart gardens.

The experience brought together the classic expectations of a show garden (lovely flowers, great company and a fantastic overall design) and added an addition layer of fun with smooth jazz playing from hidden speakers, freshly made pizza from the outdoor kitchen, a hidden cinema and a sophisticated outside office.

One of the most extravagant features of the garden was the movable screens for the TV (or cinema). Award-winning garden designer Laura Anstiss mentioned that this was one most challenging parts of the garden to create. She says: “There were loads of issues around that […] but we got there and actually the effect is superb. I think when it opens and closes, it gives you that wow factor we really wanted.” The moving screens around the TV give the effect of “old fashion curtains opening and revealing the screen.”

Alex Jones, director of Potters Home Digital, the company behind the garden, walked me through the space, showing me all of the intricate details that are hidden from the eye, with the hidden speakers in the stones being the most impressive element.

When asked if he thought that more people will adopt smart garden technology once they know it’s availability Alex argues that they will. He thinks it’s already happening, highlighting that Samsung – “the global number one TV manufacturer” – has already brought out a waterproof TV for the outdoors.

With so much potential, what could prevent people from adopting smart technology? Cost, surely, is the biggest hurdle. But Laura and Alex highlighted the fact that their show garden was very high end and people can customise their designs to fit their needs and budget. The second barrier is that some technologies have to be cabled and therefore cannot be added retrospectively. Despite this, there are still plenty of options as many technologies are wireless. Therefore, despite these challenges, there is almost always a way to create a smart garden for those who would want one.

In addition to this, Alex is working on CPD which aims to educate construction professionals on what is possible to achieve in today’s outdoor spaces – titled ‘Outdoor Technologies: Bringing the Inside Out’ – which will be exclusively provided from the smart garden he and Laura created.

Laura also has some fantastic project coming up working closes with architects and developers working on new developments that will integrate smart garden features. The Smart Home Garden is seemingly just the start of smart technology becoming part of our gardens.

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