Drip Irrigation Controller Suggestions?

I'm redoing my landscaping. In addition to all the wonderful smart lighting possibilities I also decided that we're now going to have nice pretty shrubbery and plants and I'd like to not have to water all of that. I'm thinking of putting in an irrigation controller. Anyone have any thoughts or recommendations?

I have never done irrigation work before and I don't need something that supports a million zones, just a few. Any thoughts on a controller and any references on where I can go to learn about setting this up (like the plumbing side of it)?

Note: Based on the location, a direct plumbed solution is easier than a garden hose, but I can do the hose if need be

We very rarely need irrigation systems in the UK but if I was doing it, I would look at a ball valve for the main supply, then a solenoid valve for each zone.
Each would be plugged into an outlet (with a 12 vdc psu if required)
You can easily get little pressure reducers if the pressure is too high for your drippers.

It would be quite easy to write a little app to control it all.

I would tie the app into a weather device (preferably local) to watch for rainfall And record it over probably a 5-7 day period, then make a decision on whether to water or not that day

All this could be done for much cheaper than buying a full irrigation system


I’d normally agree But I’ve spent the last two weeks doing all the heavy stone lifting and dirt moving. This is going to be a time where “easy” outweighs “cheap” for me so I’m looking for something a bit more off the shelf. I want it to integrate, but I’m trying to avoid having to build something

Are you against something cloud connected?

The rachio I have is one of the very few systems I ever have issues with. I know its cloud connected but its pretty plug and play. Their api is also very easy to work with.

You can get the v2 with less zones to reduce costs.

Edit: It should work with drip irrigation too as it just turns on and off zones. But now that I think of it you would need a manifold that you connect it to so that it opens and closes zones. So may be overkill for what you want.

I prefer local but cloud will work. Rachio looked interesting but I thought it would be overkill. Don’t I need pumps and valves then?

Ya I thought it may be overkill.

The setup is simple. You connect the main line to the house water and that connects to the manifold. From the manifold it has a set of wires that connect to the rachio. All the rachio does is tell the manifold what valve to open and close. The rest is done by water pressure.

If there is an off the shelf system the concept would be the same just in one contained box.

I am a fan of my Racchio though but my irrigation setup is a little bit bigger.

A friend just bought one of these. I can't vouch for its quality or functionality, but the docs for its (cloud-based) API are nicely done. Wise Orchard API is now public | Wise Orchard Blog

I'll second @gavincampbell 's vote for Rachio. I have an 8 zone Gen2 and it is great. They seem to have a limited local API option that @JustinL might be able to speak to.

@adamkempenich created an irrigation app for the Zooz16 Multirelay that you can use. Years ago I bought a threaded Orbit valve from Lowe’s and hooked it to my spigot for drip. This was a temporary solution for a tree I had moved but it worked. Since gotten a Rachio.

With drip you need to use a pressure reducer to get it down to less than 30 PSI for drip though.


The Wise Orchard looks really interesting. My biggest fear is they seem to be a small outfit and it's cloud based... so if they go belly up...

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Use motorized ball valves instead of solenoid as the solenoids can burn out if energized too long.

Motorized ball valve

Zwave 3 relay unit

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I use rachio3 and love it. You could easily create a zone of drip irrigation with it too. Currently I use an 8 zone system with only 7 zones being used. I plan to use the 8th zone for drop irrigation once I figure out where I need it.

No idea what else is needed since I don't have a sprinkler system, but this is on the compatible devices list and it's Zigbee.

Thanks everyone, I decided to go with the Wise Orchard. The device seems very simple and doesn't require me to invest in any other pumps/valves which is nice. The downside is I don't believe there is currently an integration with HE available, but as @tomw mentioned they have a very nice public API (well it's not the nicest API but I think I can make it do my bidding!). Oddly there is no simple "start watering" command but I think it's because of battery, they don't have it on WiFi all the time, it seems to wake up and query the cloud to say "what should I do?" but I don't need a device that turns on/off in realtime for my needs.


Interesting. I had one of the IRIS orbit 12 station timers that looked identical to the picture above...but mine was zwave..not zigbee. Had a lot of problems with it dropping off line after power fluctuations...and worst thing is i wouldn't know if was offline till parts of my lawn started dying from being too dry. I cant say for certain but i'd be suprised if this was zwave. cheers

My understanding of these was that the connected capability wasn't needed. It was an addition to the built-in timer function. So if it didn't turn on, then you must have had a faulty unit.