Chapter 5. Garage and Yard

Hacks 54–68

Of all the areas of your home, the garage, garden, and yard provide the most enjoyment, and require the most work. Use the hacks in this chapter to increase your enjoyment and greatly decrease the hassles associated with these areas.

You’ll learn how to dispense with mundane tasks, such as closing the garage door at night [Hack #56] and checking to see if the mail has been delivered [Hack #62]. Other hacks help you save money by being smarter about buying fuel oil only when you need it [Hack #61] and using the weather forecast [Hack #64] to run your automated lawn sprinklers [Hack #66] only when necessary [Hack #67]. Finally, speaking of the lawn, don’t miss the outrageous automated lawn mower that really works [Hack #63].

Monitor Your Driveway

Use a couple of sensors in your yard to greet you when you get home and alert you to visitors when they pull up to your driveway.

This hack provides a simple but effective method for detecting and reacting to cars that enter and leave your driveway. It can do the following things for you:

  • As you drive away from the house, your home automation system can light the driveway and then turn off the lights a few minutes after you’re gone.

  • When you arrive home, it can light the driveway and begin getting the house ready for your arrival (e.g., by turning on lights, adjusting the thermostat, and so on).

  • If you’re at home and a car enters the driveway, your house can alert you to the arrival of a visitor.

Once you have ...

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