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With everyone stuck at home during the pandemic, many decided to put some extra time into their yards. This resulted in over 27 percent of homes investing in new gardening tools including those within the smart gardening category. Likewise, almost a fifth of homeowners are planning some type of garden project this year. So, it’s not too surprising that several new companies and gardening apps appeared on the scene as well. And for good reason.

The lawn and garden industry is estimated to be valued at $52 billion and rising. Some of these consumers represent the traditional lawncare group. But the segment that’s growing the fastest are homeowners who want gardens and a diverse set of plants. While both areas require knowledge and insight, gardening and plant care is often more complex. Therefore, gardening apps and smart gardening tools are quite attractive to this segment. Because of this, 2021 looks to be a banner year for these types of products.

A Perfect Climate for Growth

Without question, the pandemic proved to be one of the most notable drivers of the lawn and garden industry. But it’s not been the only one. One of the more unexpected catalysts for growth in this sector has been the rising number of Millennials who are homeowners. For many, it’s their first home, and they lack experience in caring for a lawn. Likewise, many are health and environment conscious, and they wish to cultivate their own gardens. Some are even intrigued by indoor farming and hydroponics. As a result, many appreciate gardening apps and smart gardening tips that can help them achieve their goals.

The other major developments driving this industry relates to new technologies and Internet platforms emerging in the field. (Read more about how the Internet of Things has reshaped the agtech sector in this Bold story.) With machine learning and artificial intelligence, several new smart gardening tools are now on the market. Some are automated, making life much easier for the homeowner. Others simply help home gardeners better care for their plants and lawns. These combined with innovative gardening apps increase the odds of success greatly, eve for the novice. These are also reasons why venture capitalists are increasingly investing in startups in this sector.

“Millennials are moving into homes with a yard for the first time and unsure how to take care of it…We wanted to create a solution to the major pain points of traditional lawn maintenance like scheduling and applying safe and natural fertilizer.” – Ali Sabti, Founder of OtO, Inc.

Cool New Gardening Apps

There are several very helpful gardening apps on the market today, and some newer ones set to launch this summer. For example, the From Seed to Spoon app provides an individual guide in caring for a variety of plants. It includes information about early-stage planning, geographic adjustments, and overall plant care. Vera, another one of the new gardening apps, provides a reminder notification system for watering your plants around the home. It also helps you know when to fertilize them as well. And Garden Answers is an app that allows users to identify plants by simply sending in a photo. It also provides general instructions for plant care for each plant. And for $2, users can get answers to more specific questions by asking an expert horticulturalist.

A robot doing some light gardening.
Smart gardening apps have turned green thumbs into metallic ones.

One of the more interesting smart gardening apps coming soon goes by the name of Neverland. This home gardening startup was founded by two “techie” women who wanted to create a marketplace for home gardeners. Their app translates complex lingo from the USDA site into common language to help guide home gardeners. It also connects small, local lawn and garden shops with amateur gardeners in their area. Though it has yet to officially launch, Neverland already has 140,000 followers on Instagram. Plus, it’s already received $3 million in venture capital funding.

“We really view the opportunity for Neverland to be the sustainability focused marketplace. The power of what we’re doing is we’re able to create a really consistent support network for the consumer.” – Hayley Leibson, Co-Founder of Neverland

Smart Gardening Tools on the Scene

In addition to gardening apps, there are also several smart gardening tools recently released. basically, smart gardening refers to the use of technologies that offer enhanced or automated lawn and garden care. Some of the most popular smart gardening products currently are those that automate and correctly irrigate lawns and plants. For example, Rachio’s Smart Irrigation system connects one’s sprinkler system to a weather app to adjust watering times and amounts. OtO, Inc. has a similar system that connects a garden hose sprinkler system to a phone app. It’s phone app lets users adjust water stream and set customized zones that miss sidewalks and patios.

These are not the only smart gardening tools now available. How about a Roomba for your lawn? Husqvana makes an automated lawn mowing robot that can run up to 4 hours overnight. Equipped with object avoiding sensors, this convenient robotics device can cut your grass while you sleep. (How is the quest for convenience driving innovation? Read this Bold story to find out.) And for the bird lovers, Bird Buddy provides a bird feeder that helps identify various species. Equipped with artificial intelligence and a camera, the feeder tracks and identifies birds that come to visit. These too can be readily operated from gardening apps that come with the products. Though somewhat pricey, these smart gardening tools are gaining traction in the marketplace.

Gardening Made Easy for All

Given rising populations and projected food shortages, home gardening will likely continue to be a trend. Likewise, the push toward organic and healthier foods will also encourage these activities. Therefore, new gardening apps and smart gardening tools make a great deal of sense from a market perspective. Combined with lawncare applications, the consumer pool for these services will continue to grow. Those companies already on the market are enjoying these trends, and more businesses will likely follow in the near future.

 

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