Share what you do: Site measurement and base mapping
Just went yesterday and measured a large back yard for a fire feature, new landscaping, a pool, and patio. During my second visit after I have had the customer sign a design contract I typically go out and take measurements of the existing site.
Here is how I do it but i would like feedback on ways to speed up or improve my process:
1. Ask for plot plan of home if available (this one was not ugh!)
2. Main structure: Measure home using a standard tape. I use the running measurement technique for this and my long tape.
3. Put all measurements down on graph paper using 1/4" = 5' for a large property. Rough sketch but I do count out all items and place it appropriately on the graph paper. I usually also include measurement and location of all windows as that is important for all planting material location.
4. Features that stay. All decks patios, and stairs as well as other items not on the main house that will likely stay.
5. Triangulate all existing trees. This takes forever.
6. Photograph all the house features with a DSLR and a 17mm lens. I try to note all the gutter drains, as well as take pictures of plants and areas that show how a potential client takes care of the landscape. I photograph the views as well for screening purposes.
7. Take a general note of how the land lays roughing it out with my eye. Very rarely do I bring the laser level to shoot grades although I am thinking I should just bring it and do it while I am there.
I usually go by myself and use a 200' tape and a 25' tape. On larger sites I will bring an 11x17" graph paper but most jobs I just bring a 8x10". I also utilize an old screwdriver to hold my tape as I am usually solo. I will also bring my architects scale depending on how many measurements I take.
So what do you do? How do you make the process quick and efficient? How do you deal with rain or windy weather?