Rachio + SmartThings = securing my garden from voracious DEER

So lately we’ve been getting a lot of visits from the local whitetail deer population that love to ravage the garden. No sooner had the wife planted fresh flowers and shrubs when some deer came by to feast on it all chewing them down to just nubs. There seems to be a lot of “solutions” out there but many are gimmicky (shock flowers), some are only temporary (urine) and others the deer get used to over time (blinky lights). Queue the Smart Things and Rachio integration that serendipitously came at just the right time!

I bought a little ZWave motion sensor, hung it up under the eaves facing the garden and set up a Smart Things SmartLighting automation such that if there is motion in the wee hours of the morning that the deer like to visit, it will trigger the little garden zone for a minute. This gives them both a sudden auditory and a physical sensory feedback as the heads pop up and start hosing the garden area. When this happens the deer bolt! They don’t even have a chance to get close enough to bite off even a single leaf.I WIN!

Franz, This may not have been what you had in mind with the integration, but it sure works in a pinch! I know many of us here probably plant and care for more than just our lawns so the scourge of vegetable hungry critters is a cross many of us bear.

The only feedback i could give is that one must us the SmartLighting smart app for automating this, whereas making a “Routine” tile does not work–the rachio zone will not ever fire off. Routines have an advantage of better native event logging whereas Smartlighting does not. Conversely, SmartLighting has better control of how, when and how long to enable with the option of turning off after a period of inactivity which is highly desirable in this case. Routines do not auto-disable in that way.


Love it. I need to up my home automation game, I try and then it gets too confusing.

That seriously made my day. Honestly, well done. What ZWave camera did you get?


I only added a Fibaro ZWave motion sensor to detect the presence of deer. I already had a separate camera setup that is independent of the home automation. But once i saw that the SmartThings rule had been activated, i went back and reviewed and dumped the video footage from that point in time. The cameras have motion detect for thier own recording and alert purposes, but theres no integration with the smart things controller.

1 Like

Interesting. Too bad the cameras themselves don’t have this ability to integrate with smart things.

Same problem, different solution. I have a Ring system and my floodlights have motion sensors. I used IF THIS THEN THAT (www.ifttt.com) to tie together a trigger (flood light motion detector) to firing off a Rachio zone. HOWEVER, “If this then that” does not, natively, allow you to put in a conditional clause so this trigger happened day and night.

So, I had to become a developer http://platform.ifttt.com (still free) and then borrow a little javascript to make sure that this would only run from midnight to 6am when the deer are out. It works, but a lot of hoops to jump through. I wish there was a way to do this from the Rachio side (tie to a motion sensor and trigger at defined time) or from the Amazon (routine that fires off Rachio when motion is detected) or Ring side (integrates with Rachio) BUT, that’s what IFTTT is all about; integrate intelligent devices.


This is easily done using a WebCore piston on SmartThings. I am currently using a ZWave power adapter to monitor current to my motion detector-enabled flood lights. When motion is detected, the flood lights go on, the current goes up, and that triggers a piston to turn on other lights. But I could also turn on a Rachio zone if I wanted to.

Need a little help please. I purchased the Zooz sensor and configured SmartLighting app as you demonstrate but Rachio zone does not activate. Are there any other specific settings that I should modify? What should the timer and lux knobs be set to? Any help would be much appreciated…thank alot!!

UPDATE: Got it to work. Installed the new SmartThings app. Deleted and rediscovered the Rachio zones and it works!!

Hi, I have Amazon Echos and the “integration” is “voice activated” only. That is, the only way I can trigger my zones to work is to speak the command. SO…I created a routine where my motion detectors trigger one echo to say “Alexa, Tell Rachio to Run Zone 1 for one minute” in order to scare the deer away. Sitting next to that echo is another echo that hears the first echo and executes the command. Echo dots are pretty cheap so this is an inexpensive workaround. MAYBE one day Rachio will have better integration so that you can select Rachio event (water zone X for Y minutes).