Since starting my design career in 1999 I've designed hundreds of landscapes, mostly here in Seattle. The design process and path to completion of a garden varies. The very first step in the process is always getting a recent survey and measuring the site. Typically the more thorough, the better. A base map plan is then generated as a platform to build the schematic design upon. The schematics (concepts) are then developed as much as needed to yield an estimate for installation, construction documentation, or to obtain permits.
|'hero shot' for a small development|
|modelling allows for shading & various perspective|
|elevation sketch version|
Working in all facets of drawing capability over the years; I've transitioned from straight-up hand drawing and drafting with pencil & ink to using software (in may case Autocad) and now using Google sketch-up.
What I've found is that the finished sketch-up model; though not as accurate as a plan is very well received in presentations. At first I was frustrated by the inaccuracy, but now I realize that its the visual translation that counts. So here at Studio AB we have begun to use SU (Sketch-Up) modelling as an additional tool to planning. The main advantage is having the ability to view as a perspective versus always viewing in plan view. Though I still feel that elevation drawings can also be quite useful in this regard (and more accurate). Due to client budget constraints we usually offer elevations and sections for more technical drawing sets on an as needed basis to obtain a permit (or so a contractor can build the thing).
Lately I am realizing that modelling especially, can be a powerful tool to convey the concept; as not everyone can visualize a plan view.
Other cool reasons for model-making: to show sun/ shade, times of day/ year, maturity of plant material (size/ shape), and of course to view the potential garden at various 'viewing' perspectives. These are also the reasons why I feel that the modelling process; though it takes longer to finish has made me a better overall designer.
|our first attempt at SU model building for a residence|
Overall we can now provide a more effective, powerful visual aide using SU. An added bonus is that often these 'screenshots' become valuable marketing pieces for our developer clients.
Since the trend of modelling/ rendering keeps advancing and has already become a standard deliverable for most architecture firms there is a expectation for the garden designers (like us) to follow suit. Therefore we look forward to offering our clients modelling and illustration services in addition to providing complete conceptual and/ or technical drawings!