Just how do we design a landscape?

All by hand.. After several years working in investment banking and an ongoing design eduction at the Inchbald School, which places high importance on the traditional crafts of the drafting table and sketch book, I relish the chance to put the laptop away and pick up the pencil. 

Beginning with the simple outline of the garden, we break the area down into sub dimensions, proportionally correct to the garden. These could all be different shapes and sizes, and while moving them around the space, we're constantly thinking about the relation of these basic shapes to the house and the intended style.   


Next is the process of introducing mass and void, as what is a landscape, other than varying degrees of each? The mass of a huge and glorious Oak in the middle of a field, or the dark void of shaded tunnel through overhanging trees. Doing so, we begin for the first time to introduce actual features that are identifiable as belonging in a garden. Stairs, trees & dining areas among many others. 


And now to the sketch book, a process that I in particular enjoy. Being able to visualise some of these masses and voids and their relationship to the greater space enables us to clarify and condense our ideas. 


At this stage, the design has really taken shape, although its still in rough sketches and in our minds. To now move forward, means developing the ideas further and continuing to investigate in depth, how each component works within the space. A quick 'sketch model' does this, whereby we build scale models of the site and cut and change as we progress.

After this, its finally its time to transfer our clarified ideas and concept to the drawing board. All done by hand, these plans are beautiful in their own right and are a source of pride, taking several hours of very detailed ink work to achieve. 


Once rendered, this plan is then complete and conveys the design to the client, alongside of which are presented detailed sketches and mood boards. These plans have even been known to be framed by clients, for a future talking point.


Well, there's certainly a lot more to it than that, but this will have given you a brief glimpse into our world and the varied steps that go into a design. Of course, its not only our scribbles that make the design, but the unique ability in all of us to interpret these scribbles in differing ways and being able to filter these through to a successful design. That, at the end of the day, is what really differentiates designers from each other and what we take pride in.

And with that, enjoy your day..