MyHouse: Sprinkler System Design

sprinkler design
From Jess Strykers’ Landscape Sprinkler Design Tutorial

MyHouse is a concept I’ve been thinking through for a while. It is an idea for an internet site that allows a person to spatially organize their life, using their house as a starting point. This article examines a use case for water sprinkler system design.

Suppose the user has bought a house from a seller (builder) that was smart enough to include georeferenced parcel boundary, building footprint and underground utilities for the house on the MyHouse website (a big selling point!). Pipes have been tagged with diameters. 3D trees have been placed around the yard. The user would now like to install a sprinkler system.

Landscape Design (Bring Me a Shrubbery!)

The user logs into his MyHouse account and draws plants onto a map of his yard. MyHouse has links to nurseries where the user can browse, drag and drop things like shrubbery. Each plant placed on the map can be tagged with its water requirements and height. The user marks off barriers (areas/lines) where laying pipe is not allowed.

Design the Pipes
The user submits a job, specifying whether the design should minimize water usage or material cost. The job runs on a server in the background. The user does not care if it uses a monte carlo method, a genetic algorithm, or cheap overseas labor. The job may request one or more designs to be generated. Each design includes a bill of materials. The design takes into account the barriers for underground pipes, as well as potential spray blockage by trees/shrubs.

The user can check on the status of his job, along with an option to cancel the job.

Design Review
When the job is completed, the user receives an email with a link to a 3D design showing spray patterns and how the shrubs/trees block the spray pattern. An operation plan is provided that times each section of the system to assure different plants receive proper water amounts, including maps of “rainfall” levels.

The user then looks over the alternative designs and selects his favorite. He then clicks on a button that says “request quotes”. Competing sprinkler system installers are sent an invitation to bid on the project.

As the system is built, the design is updated to reflect actual materials used.
The user can choose to calibrate his sprinklers. The system instructs the user locations where rain gauges are to be placed around the yard, along with an operation schedule. The user places the gauges, and records water levels collected at each gauge. The system then creates an observed rainfall map, and generates a refined operational plan intended to meet stated watering requirements. The user may re-calibrate the system as many times as he wishes.

The service is free to the user. Advertisers pay to place ads for sprinkler heads, plants, fertilizer, etc. Installers pay to receive invitations to bid.

See also Sunshine maps.


6 comments so far

  1. Brad on

    Good to see Jess Strykers’ website is still there and kicking. I used his site back in 2000 to design my sprinkler system. I did the design in AutoCAD so while it isn’t in KML, it could be.

    There still isn’t anything on plant planning out there?? Bummer. I do like the idea of zones with sensors but you can use your head if you plan right. I need sensors for gophers or a better way to get rid of them.

    How about a paint guide where you’d take digital photos and have a paint program that you can change the wall color and see it with your stuff.

  2. Kirk Kuykendall on

    Hey Brad, haven’t really looked into plant planning, the pain I’m dealing with is plants that block the spray, making it so I need to redesign with different sprinkler heads.

    I think the MyHouse concept could certainly be extended to handle paint too. Our homeowner association has a book of approved (exterior) paint colors, so maybe they should post a palette of approved colors.


  3. Ed on

    Lowe’s has started something similar…not georeferenced but of course tied to making a purchase.

  4. Kirk Kuykendall on

    Hey Ed –

    Cool! After filling out the free registration, was able to view the tutorial.

  5. Ed on

    It’s not bad, though I found their catalog of plants to be a tad lacking. Would be very neat if I could import the CAD file of my house.

  6. Kirk Kuykendall on

    Having a complete BIM model of your house would certainly give Lowes an opportunity to cross-sell other products. Funny, just this morning I got a call from Jimmy at Lowes saying they’re having a sale this weekend. That’s what happens when you leave your phone number with them I guess. They could really get a sticky site if they did kept an inventory of improvements along with the CAD file. This year we _must_ get a new roof. A CAD/BIM file would let us estimate that a lot easier.

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