Thought I'd write a post about how I go about creating my designs, the drawing techniques & software that I use. When I left college I was armed with some Google Sketchup knowledge and over the last couple of years I've developed a technique where I use it & Photoshop to create all my drawings (concepts, 3D models, final client presentation and all the files a landscaper needs to price the build). The case study below was very early in this process and I've refined it quite a bit, but thought it'd be a good place to start. The garden was 10.7 x 8.5m in size, the client wanted a dining patio, some lawn, and lots of colourful planting - the garden only got sunshine until tea time and the large shed (2.5m x 2.5m) was to stay. The process of design then is as follows:
1) Survey - carry out a radial survey (requiring dumpy level, compass, tape measure and a helper). All the points can be easily plotted into Sketchup (using the protractor & measuring tape tools). In it's simplest form you'd end up with an outline of the garden to scale:
3) 3D models: along with the above concept models I more often than not take 3D models of the garden designs. Because I'm using the layout I created from the survey (which was also the basis of my concepts) much of the hard work is already done. I normally pick what I think is the strongest design to model, so in this case I chose the first concept from above and it took about an hour to model:
4) Client presentation: I take the concept drawings and Sketchup models on my laptop to present to the clients, barely a piece of paper in sight. It's usually then very straightforward to agree a final design based on this modular approach. In this example, the client had asked for the shed to remain in its current location despite it being in a dominant position in the garden, not a very nice focal point - these models helped them see what would happen if we moved the shed over towards the house. Another hour or two using Photoshop allows a bit of further tweeking to create:
5) Final design: The drawing for the client is easily finished off (plants, label & logo added), printed and delivered. They very much have a hand drawn unique style I think, but as this process has developed I have created all the stone, gravel, lawn & brick textures as well as a variety of trees, shrubs & herbaceous plants. They're stored in a master file which allows me to simply drag them into each new drawing, saving even more time. More on this in a later blog methinks (again).
6) Getting quotes/The Build: The great thing about Sketchup is that once the design is modelled you can re-use it to figure out all your Sq. M and measurements. I use these for a Spec/Bill of Materials type document that I give the contractors (in an Excel spreadsheet so they just need to fill in the costs) to get a price. It's also great when it comes to building the garden - to create a Laying Out drawing is a doddle! I've thrown my scale ruler away....