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Lawn tech for long summer days



Mid-summer is a time to refresh the lawn with a new watering regiment, touch up your garden, and go ballistic on weeds. These high-tech tools will make those jobs easier. You can clean up your yard and save the planet at the same time with a battery-powered blower. A sheet of seeds (say that three timers fast) means no weeds to pull. Which gadget will make you a lawn pro?

1. Netatmo Rain Gauge ($79)

Need to plan out your lawn watering strategy? This brilliant product, which requires the Netatmo Weather Station for $149 that connects to your smartphone using an app, measures actual rainfall. The rain water collects in a tray and then disperses. It’s made of a tough plastic and is UV-protected. On the app, you can view a history of rain levels.

2. Stihl BGA 85 Blower ($230)

Some battery-powered lawn tools are underpowered and don’t last too long, but this leaf blower is a different breed. The air velocity runs up to 102 MPH and lasts about 23 minutes per charge. That’s enough power to extract leaves embedded into the grass on a large lawn. The whole kit — which requires the Stihl AP 180 battery and a charger — weighs only 11 pounds.

3. Seedsheets ($35)

This brilliant gardening product started life on Kickstarter.com. You lay the sheet on fresh soil; the sheet protects the plants and stops weeds from growing. There are sheets in all sizes, starting at 1x3 feet and up to 10x16 feet. You can plant an herb garden, flowers, and even veggies.

4. Lowe’s Orbit Iris Hose Faucet Water Timer ($40)

Most connected home gadgets that help you water the lawn with an app require an in-ground sprinkler. Unlike the Rachio Iro, or RainBird, this faucet timer from Lowe’s taps into their Iris connected home platform. You can set up a quick watering schedule with the Iris app or an online account. A digital display on the timer shows you the schedule, which you can adjust as needed.

5. MIPOW Playbulb Solar LED Garden Light ($40)

These lawn lights add some color around your house. They use Bluetooth Smart and connect to a smartphone with just a click so you can pick the color, add blinking effects, and adjust brightness. The water-resistant LED bulbs charge using the sun and they create a pleasant glow at night