Landscape Irrigation 101: What Is A Smart Irrigation Controller?

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smart controllers take human error out of the watering processSmart irrigation is important for every Kauai commercial property because water-saving technologies help us conserve a finite resource. Saving water is environmentally and financially responsible.

Beyond this double benefit, smart controllers provide tools that are not available on basic controllers and legacy irrigation systems.

For example, older irrigation systems were not configured with rain sensors and weather stations that figure in climate, soil type, plant varieties and precipitation into watering patterns.

Basically, smart controllers are high-tech brains behind an irrigation operation—and they take human error out of the watering process.

Let’s talk about how smart irrigation controllers work, what it takes to retrofit an existing commercial irrigation system, and what features they offer that might be beneficial for your Hawaii property.   

Getting Technical: How Smart Irrigation Controllers Work

smart irrigation controllers use real-time weather data

The beauty of smart controllers is their ability to adjust to accommodate a property’s watering needs based on variables including: plant variety, soil type, sun exposure, air temperature and precipitation. This is possible through weather/evapotranspiration (ET) monitoring.

ET is a measurement of the water that evaporates into the air from the soil, and the amount of water used by a plant. ET determines the water output of a commercial irrigation system. Further, ET weather data includes measurements to determine plant water needs: solar radiation, wind, humidity, temperature and precipitation.

So, smart controllers use real-time weather data and calculate soil moisture (and dryness) so your irrigation system will not over (or under) water plants.

Installing Smart Controllers: A Seamless Process

With all of the technology smart controllers bring to an irrigation system, you might think that they would be complicated to add to an existing system and costly, too. But actually, smart controllers are installed just like any other irrigation controller, and you can use wiring that’s already there.

It’s a matter of trading the old one for a smart upgrade. Retrofitting is seamless, and you’ll save at least 20 percent in water costs by choosing a smart controller. You can quickly pay off this investment.

The cost of a smart controller depends on the brand you choose, and we recommend technology that is designed for commercial properties.

A great feature of smart controllers is that once they are up and running, they’ll automatically optimize your irrigation system’s watering schedules so you’ll continue to improve the way you water and save money.

Gaining Control: Adjust Watering Zones

smart irrigation controllers correct overwatering and underwatering problems

Your Kauai landscape probably includes a range of tropical and native plants and flowers, along with grass. If your resort has a golf course, then you’ve got a lot of turf to maintain. As you know, not every living thing in your landscape has the same water requirements.

So, smart irrigation controllers give you a watering edge because they adjust to adapt to plants’ needs in a given zone.

For example, Zone 1 that is in a full-sun area with grass require more watering than Zone 2, which is a shaded space containing groundcover—and so on. Smart controllers water each zone appropriately.

You’ll save water and money by giving plants the water they need, rather than irrigating with the same frequency across your property. Plus, your plants and grass will be healthier because they will not be overwatered, a common problem with commercial landscape irrigation systems operating without a smart controller.

Thinking Big Picture: The Controller Is One Component Of Wise Watering

Smart controllers bring numerous environmental and financial benefits to commercial properties. It pays to choose an irrigation controller that takes the human error out of watering a landscape. But the smart controller is just one component of an irrigation system.

The way a system is designed also matters, and so does regular maintenance of the system to keep it running efficiently and effectively.

Let’s talk more about how you can water smart on your Kauai commercial property. Contact us any time at 808.335.5887, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.


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