Having a neat little garden is one of those things that most of us like. Not only does a garden add to the aesthetics, it also lends a sort of freshness to the general environment within your home. However, maintaining a garden can be quite a tough job. You need to make sure you do certain things the right way.

Apart from carrying out the regular duty of having to water the plants, you also need to make sure the soil’s moisture levels are proper. In fact, checking the moisture level helps you determine whether your plants need water or not.


So, how can you actually measure the moisture level in the soil? Well, we came up with the perfect solution for you. It’s called the Thirsty Flamingo. The Thirsty Flamingo is based on an Arduino soil moisture sensor that tells you how much moisture there is in your soil. It’s a convenient device that can help you manage your little garden better. You can even use it for individual potted plants.

Go to Thirsty Flamingo circuit

Putting it together

Your work here begins with the Arduino Pro Mini 32 circuit board. Once you have that ready, the next thing you need to do is pair it with the SparkFun Soil Moisture Sensor on the input side. This sensor is what will help detect and measure the moisture levels in your soil. It comes with two pads that serve as probes. An increase in water levels will cause the pads to conduct more, which leads to a high SIG output and reduced resistance.

arduino soil moisture sensor

You will need to pair a Piezo Speaker (PC Mount 12mm 2.048kHz), an NPN BC337 Diode, a Rectifier (1A 50V), and a resistor (1k Ohm 1/6 Watt PTH).

The power source will be a 9V battery, which will also provide portability. The next step is to feed the code into the board and test it.

Once you’ve got the circuit ready, you can start 3D printing the housing components to actually create the Flamingo. You can download the STL files for the 3D designs here. After you get the parts printed, all you have to do is place the circuit into the housing and connect the individual parts. The parts will have to be secured with screws.

Now, you’ve got a working soil moisture sensor that will alert you via the Piezo Speaker to let you know if moisture levels have dropped.

start your own circuito

Customize it

Now, there are many different things you can do to customize this little device. For instance, you can convert it into a motion detector as well. What you can do is connect an Infra-Red PIR Motion Sensor on the input side. This will allow you to actually detect any movement near your home.

For instance, you may have animals that wander into your garden, or if your garden or plants are close to your entrance door, you can even set it to detect trespassers. The sensor will help detect animal or people’s movements and alert you about possible trespassing. However, in this case, you will need to program in different sounds for different alerts to avoid confusion.

*Note: This project was made when circuito.io was in Alpha, therefore the app in the video looks very different than it does today

If you don’t want sound based alerts, what you can do is add some connectivity using an HC – 05 Bluetooth Serial Module. This will help you receive silent alerts on your smartphone. For starters, you will need an application that can be used as the platform for hosting such alerts. This type of build is more complex but it’s a great option if you want to explore the world of IoT and connectivity.

Alternative applications

Apart from testing moisture in the soil, the Thirsty Flaming can be used for other purposes too. For instance, you can use it to test moisture levels in other materials or items. For instance, you can probably use it to check moisture levels in certain foods.

In fact, you can even use it to check moisture levels in your walls and other areas of your home.

What will you create?

So, there you have it – the instructions for creating your own moisture level measuring Thirst Flamingo. Do try the build and let us know how everything goes. Give us your feedback and your ideas. We’d love to hear from you.

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