RHS Garden Planning Simple draughting Draughting is the process by which you will create your design for a particular site. Tools stakes and twine tape measure (at least 30m) T-square set square French/flexible curves scale rule drawing board Development of design drawings Note that none of your preliminary drawings are seen by the client – all you present is the finished design. But it is critical to create a record of the site as it is before you start work. Make a preliminary sketch of the house and the garden. This can be fairly simple, but should include (on the house) all doors and windows (and how they open). Also the drop below the windows on the ground floor. Measure the house first, then elements of the garden. Include any drains and manhole covers. Record the measurements in the order you take them. NB – always use metric! Triangulation Use triangulation to plot the boundaries of the site and any other features of the garden (such as large trees, sheds, swimming pools, etc.). Choose two fixed points that are easy to measure – e.g. the corner of the house (A) and edge of the doorway some metres further along (B). Measure from A to the object (C) – a large tree, for instance – that you wish to record. Then measure B to C. Offsetting Use offsetting to plot irregular features, such as a bay window or an irregular boundary. Create a base line on site using pegs and string. Measure the distance from the ends of the base line to a fixed element you have already plotted (e.g. corner of the house, corner of a patio). (This will enable you to reproduce the line when you come to create your plan, using triangulation.) Place canes along the base line at regular intervals (e.g. 1 metre) ensuring they are at right angles to the base line. Measure the distance between the base line and the tip of the cane where it touches the element you are looking to record. Use the same technique to record a curving path or irregular boundary. Creating the base plan The base plan, or site plan, is your record of the garden as you found it. Stick a sheet of gridded paper to the drawing board – this is to act as a guide for drawing straight lines and right angles. With masking tape, stick over this
a sheet of tracing paper. Choose a scale appropriate to the size of the garden and the size of paper you are using (usually A2). Transfer all your measurements taken on site – in the same order – to the sheet. (It may be necessary to return to the site to check any measurements that do not work.) For triangulation, open your compasses to the appropriate length for the first measurement (A–C in the example above). Place the point of the compasses on point A on your plan. Swing an arc with the pencil, roughly at the point where you judge the tree to be. Then set your compasses to the scaled down distance B–C. Place the point of the compasses on point B, then swing an arc that crosses the previous arc. Where the arcs cross is point C – the position of the tree! At the end of this exercise, you have a drawing that is covered in rubbings out and pin pricks. Trace the drawing through onto a fresh sheet of tracing paper. This is then the base plan. Never make any alterations to this plan. Site inventory This is a list of all the negative features of the site that you propose to improve – e.g. wall in poor condition, uneven lawn, neglected hedge, dustbins in full view of kitchen. Either write this as a list, or, placing a sheet of tracing paper over the base plan, make an annotated copy of the base plan. Site analysis This is a list of all the jobs you will do to improve the site – including how you will resolve issues raised in the site inventory – e.g. demolish wall, repair lawn, replant hedge, screen dustbins. You will already have discussed these with the client and they will help you draw up a budget. The design Lay a sheet of tracing paper over the base plan. Bring through onto this all the elements on the base plan that are to be retained. Write a ‘wish list’ of all the elements that have to be included in the design (this will have been agreed with the client) – e.g. patio for sunbathing, border for summer interest, play area, plunge pool. As you draw them, tick off each one as you go, so you end up with a design that meets the client brief. You can begin with a ‘bubble’ diagram – roughly draw on the listed elements, just to see if they will all fit in the space. If they won’t, you need to go back to the client to discuss what can be omitted. You may find it helpful to draw a grid on a sheet of tracing paper, placed between the base plan and the sheet on which you are drawing. Use the grid as a guide for placing paths, flower borders, etc. You can use a grid of 1m or 2m squares, or base the grid on one the measurements taken from the house – e.g. the distance between the ground and the bottom of the ground floor windows.