Tagged With garden

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Check out JVC's Sound Garden concept: it's come leaping forth like a delighted lamb from the creative spring that is Tokyo's Design Week, and just like a newborn lamb finding its legs, it sure looks funny. An attempt at blending eco-friendliness with interesting design, it's a full hi-fi speaker system with bass-reflex ports and the whole deal, alongside little pot-like areas to insert plants. And it's all made of "eco-plastic," designed so you can connect together several of the elements to make a whole hive-like sculpture of audio and greenery. Did I point out it's weirdness? Oh I did. Thank goodness it's just a concept.

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The RainwaterHOG is a design-y rainwater tank (yes, there is such a thing) that collects rain to re-use in the garden, give to your dog or fill up your Super Soaker without draining the mains. Most people don't save rainwater because they don't want a giant open bucket/mosquito-larvae farm on their porch. But now, you can store it away in a nice recyclable virgin polyethylene tank. Each HOG holds 178 litres, and they can be linked up like Lego. AU: Obviously the US hasn't had to suffer through water restrictions like we have in Australia. Looks pretty good, although doubt we'll see it in Oz...

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Effective over up to an acre of land, this battery-powered garden gadget allows you to commit mass mosquito-cide using a tank of propane. Silent and odourless, the trap emits octenol (something that mozzies find sexy, aspazzarently) to lure the beasties close to the machine. Once there, a vacuum gathers them into the "removable catch basin", or death pan, as I like to call it, where they are dehydrated, giving you the potential to serve mosquito, midge, black-fly and sand-fly biltong at your barbecues. Cost is US$500, and the mosquito trap will run for up to three weeks on a 9kg propane tank.

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One Mega-Dynamizer robot, one lawnmower, one lawn. Result: "nice try: bring on Version 2.0" The video is from Sugiura-san, creator of the Mega Dynamizer and ROBO-ONE champion roboticist. And while the robot doesn't whizz about confidently like a Roomba for grass, probably doing a pretty patchy mow and taking that unfortunate tumble, it's pretty impressive for a first attempt. I can see the potential: I hate mowing the lawn, and any robotic assistance would be welcome. As long as it can also do some weeding, perhaps some leaf-raking, and that dangerous trailing cable goes in future versions. Notice the dog being calm?... probably the robot's slow progress makes it less exciting than Mario.

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Much as I think all lawn ornaments should be heaped into a pile and blown to kingdom come, I think I could spare a corner of my garden for these tiny chaps and their crashed spaceship. Disappointingly not made from exotic metals recovered from the Roswell crash site, they are instead made of weatherproof resin. The 9-inch space ship and two 7-inch aliens are available for US$49.95, or 3000 Flanian Pobble beads.

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It's been a long summer day tending the garden and you need to sit down, but there is no chair in sight. If only you were using the S(tool), then you wouldn't have to worry about finding one. Designed by Langton Stead, the S(tool) is a bent wood handle with two garden forks on either side. All you have to do is shove them into your lawn, and BAM!, instant chair. The perfect gift for the laziest green thumb you know, it's available directly from the designer, though no word on price.

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We've seen solar-powered LED ski suits and interactive solar-powered roof tiles and now you can add that Christmassy touch to your garden with these solar-powered fairy lights.They feature 50 bright white LEDs, and charge automatically during the day to give you around 9 hours of light at night. They will set you back $US29.95, which is a little steep, but the bulbs will last 10,000 hours which is enough for several years' fairy-lit evenings. Praying for sun around Christmastime will have never felt so normal. – Kit Eaton

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Make's Phil Torrone is in Japan, visiting some old blog fodder in person, like this Japan find from 2005. Underneath an office building in the Otemachi business district of Tokyo is an underground rice and vegetable field. Created in a former bank vault, this hidden garden is maintained "using computer-controlled artificial light and temperature management. It was brought into being by a personnel company as a means of providing agricultural training to young people who are having trouble finding employment and middle-aged people in search of a second career." It's pretty cool, although it probably uses more energy to keep the garden healthy than it's worth if you look at what it produces. More photos at Make.

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Is this the sexiest piece of astronomical equipment you've ever seen? The Porter Telescope is a limited edition bronze sculpture that also happens to be a very smart piece of engineering. Based on an original design from the 1920s by Richard Porter, it acts as a garden sundial by day and a reflecting telescope by, well, whenever you like (but night is probably best for stargazing). The optics have been redesigned 21st style to deliver the best possible performance.

Naturally, if you're going for something so serious, you'll need a marble pedestal to stand it on. You aren't going to dump this on any old garden table! This happily lives outdoors, too, and will either grow to a cool green like any bronze statue, or you can put in some effort to maintain the sleek brown look.

Cost? A stylish US$59,000. But there's never been a better time to spend that sort of money. And if you're happy to spend it, the shipping charges involved probably won't scare you either. The official site has plenty more details, as well as a link to video on the fabrication and design process. Sexy, sexy geek stuff.

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newVideoPlayer("waterhobo_gawker.flv", 475, 376); The WaterHobo is a fully automated system that uses an infrared-capable videocamera, a PC and custom software written in C# to search and destroy garden pests. Well, actually, just humans. And it doesn't destroy them either, it uses water to dissuade people from using its inventor's yard as the path to a common swimming pool. The current version can even be operated through a remote client using a joystick. The best thing, however, is the automated "Holy Hand Grenade mode." Its creator is now working on a new version, hopefully with lasers or death rays.

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If there's one thing wrong with your lawn, it's that it's just too classy. Since when did you get too good for tacky lawn ornaments? You think you're better than me? Screw you, buddy. You need to prove that you aren't totally pretentious by getting something like this completely horrible yet somehow amazing solar frog light. It's a frog, and it glows! Anyone who installs this thing can't take themselves too seriously. Or they take themselves seriously and have the worst taste in outdoor decorations ever, but I'll give you more credit than that. •

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Why take up all that room in your garage for a lawnmower, leaf collector and snow blower when you can have this three-in-one device that handles all three tasks and only requires a third of the space? Oh, wait. You can't have this device because it's just a concept, but its modular design by Gustav Lamberg looks like a good idea, taking care of all of your internal combustion duties with just one noisemaking smoke-belching contraption instead of three.

There's not much explanation offered with these 3D renderings, but it appears that you attach a different front assembly for each of the three tasks. However, for a lot of the snowfall we see out here in the frozen tundra, that snow blower is not going to be quite tall enough. As a leaf collector, the device is going to need some sort of receptacle, too.

If he takes care of those small details, all Gustav has to do is add solar power, an electric motor with a long-lasting battery and robotic capabilities, and he'll be on to something here.

Lawn Fun From 3-In-One

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In keeping with our "Laziness in Domestic Chores" theme, we bring you the electric lawnmower shootout. That way we can rid ourselves of all the annoyances of gas mowers once and for all, but still keep our yards in tip-top shape.

Wired tested out four of the latest electric lawnmowers on the market and broke it down real simple. What did they think?

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You may not even notice that little round platform on which this gorgeous model is standing, but it's a Viteo Garden Shower, getting her all wet from the ground up. This was originally one of those design concepts with little chance of finding its way to market, but now it's actually shipping. Beyond its ability to refresh curvaceous young cuties, how does it work?