Archive for the 'Graphics' Category


The Landscape Planning Drawing Process

This is my process for land planning drawings, from conceptual drawing to final illustrative site plan (its a bit different for smaller site scale projects).

Step 1. Preliminary Information

I love to start with a survey. If that’s not available at the time, i check the Cities GIS for the site, hopefully thats available. As a last resort i use just an aerial photo. In any case, i always use an aerial photo of the site under the property boundaries and any other info i have at the time, the more the better. A new source ive been using is Google Street View to take a look at the character of the site as well as microsoft live maps “birds eye feature”

(google maps aerial)

(microsoft live maps birds eye)

(google maps street view)

(final cad drawing with aerial and boundaries as well as any additional information obtained about the site)

Step 2. Sharpie and Tracing Paper (Sometimes)

I like to start with pen and paper. I don’t always do this, as i am addicted to drawing in cad, but it really does help get the major ideas out of the way. Points of egress, circulation, where major elements should be, views to preserve, etc. This is a really, really rough drawing. Its simple meant to locate where i want to draw things. Shown Below is the same drawing made pretty to show the client.

Step 3. CAD – Concept

Now i move back into CAD and develop a plan. The final product will be conceptual, but will have all the major elements laid out. This stage lasts a long time as major ideas are hammered out back and forth with all the individuals involved in the process.

Step 4. CAD – Illustrative

Once the ideas are finalized and i feel that we are getting fairly close to the end product, i illustrate the CAD drawing. Im placing emphasis on the word illustrate for a reason. This part of the drawing can and should be outside of your offices standard CAD rules and procedures. This is purely meant to make a high quality illustrative drawing. Emphasis should be on line weights, type of planting symbols, details like roof lines, adding vehicles or people, paving materials, and again line weights (good line weights and details together make all the difference). This is a chance to add some personal style to your drawings as well. Many people think its all in the coloring, but an early part of the style is in the illustrating.

Step 5. Rendering (or coloring as i like to call it)

Isn’t it so much more fun to go to work and color than going into work and rendering? It doesn’t sound as professional, but it is fun to come home and tell your friends and family that your tired from coloring all day. Coloring is another chance to add your own style. There are many ways to do this, from computer aided to colored pencils, so you really have to do what you are most comfortable with and what fits into your time frame. For me, its almost always markers unless im lucky enough to have time for colored pencils. Usually my marker drawings at least get an hour of colored pencil added at the end.

Step 6. Final Product

No we have a 95% rendered plan. I scan this and bring it into photoshop where i clean up mistakes and add fun lighting effects to the water or special shadows. I also adjust the hue and saturation so it prints as close to the true colors as it can be. That image is then taken into Adobe Illustrator where logos, scales, title blocks and labels are added. Bringing the drawing into illustrator to do these things reduces the overall file size and gives you more flexibility since illustrator is meant to work better with text and vector lines such as logos.

I hope this can be helpful for some who are still trying to get a grip on the process they want to use. its taken me some years to develop this and it changes more and more every year as new tools become availble and as i learn new skills. I would love to hear from anyone who has there own process and what they would change about mine –


A Little Planning Eye Candy

I am constantly thinking about rendering. There are so many possibilities and im always surprised at the innovation and creativity that can be achieved in visual communication of landscape architecture. Some firms try to force their entry level practitioners into the companies “style,” while others, who i would argue are doing it correctly, let these young guns develop a unique style and hopefully have some influence on what the seniors at the firm are drawing as well.  And now for the good stuff….

i love this quote: “..only dance and body painting otherwise come to mind as arts that actively involve a living, organic, and changing componentt.” – Hunt, J.D.

…we’ll talk about this one later, the infamous highline…

May 2017
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