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Is this design OK to present?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by spitfire3416, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    I have to think an online landscape design course would be a waste of money. The most important part of any art or design training is critique, and you're not going to get that in a meaningful way online.
  2. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 520

  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    Freelance. Almost all of the medium and large landscape companies in my area use freelance designers these days. There was a time when many of us had designers on staff. But most of us have come to realize that wasn't really sustainable - especially after the recession. There is one or two companies around here that do really nice high end jobs and the owner also does the design work too. But they don't do much volume.

    The thing is, if you get fairly successful at marketing yourself, landing and installing landscape jobs, you won't have time for design anyway. You'll be too busy writing proposals and managing jobs. So it's just easier to find a freelance designer to handle that part for you. For the last 7 years or so, I wouldn't have been able to do designs, even if I wanted to. Not to mention the fact that I can't produce designs as good as my designer can.
  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

  5. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Like they say in fly fishing "match the hatch". The level of design effort and presentation quality has to match the project, client, and investment that you or your client are willing to make.
    I'm a Registered Landscape Architect with very poor hand drawing skills. That is one of many reasons that I draw in CAD. You still have to apply the same drafting principles in CAD and you still need to learn about the tools that you are drawing with. That's another subject. Back to "match the hatch".
    Papercutter is right on the money in his understanding of the landscape design business. It is very diverse both in what a client needs as a design, what the range of complication and graphic presentation is necessary, what an individual's skill sets are to do it, what direct competitors are doing, and what is economically efficient to either sell or invest your time in doing.
    The first rule is to get the most out of the skills that you have and do not force yourself to work beyond your capabilities. If you are not a master of color renderings, work with black and white line drawings. Not even 5% of my plans have seen any color. Part of it is that I'm not great at it, but most of it is that it adds to expense and it is easier to sell cheaper plans than more expensive plans.
    A design/build contractor is making a plan in order to communicate what will be built in order to get a contract. That is a lot smaller a task than developing a plan to go out to bid for multiple contractors to make apples to apples bid proposals. In other words, it should be simple in terms of technical information with an emphasis on selling them on the end result.
    Make no mistake, the best selling that you can do does not have to be through your graphics, but through your ability to describe the landscape that you are proposing. The strongest way, in my opinion, is to describe why each piece is laid out where it is - how it affects the appearance of the house, how it distracts attention from the driveway, how it screens the neighbors RV, how it frames the view of the lake, how it makes the front door the center of attention from the street, .... I do all that the first time I meet with a client (for free) and then get them to hire me to draw a plan for $1,500.
    It is just an easy to sell a $7,000 foundation planting and walk with a minimal sketch. Those folks want to spend their money on the walk and shrubs, they don't care about hanging a plan in the living room. You can laugh and say "my craft is building landscapes, but here is a rough idea of the layout that I'll do for this contract".

    I have other LAs (on message boards) telling me that you can't be successful without doing 3d fly throughs and using the latest and greatest software and graphics, but they are looking for jobs and I'm making a good living in a bad economy doing very little more than just selling 24x36 pieces of paper.
  6. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 984

    Wow that is good hand drawing. looks like computer aided.
  7. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 984

    I took that course. It does show you a lot but takes a long time to complete if your busy, and like someone else said, you really have no instructor to spend any time with you. You can email them but it's not the same. And the price is a bit high. If cost is not an issue to you then I would say it is worth it. I learned a lot of things from it for what I needed.

    It does give good teaching on drawing by hand if that is what you intend to do. Also came with pens and tools to get you started.
  8. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    save your money, buy some books and pro landscape image editor. I can have a nice presentation ready very quickly.
  9. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,635

    If you want to get serious about designs and you have the construction knowledge and creativity, then why not give dynascape a look. The amount of time you'll save with hand drawing and coloring will far outweigh the initial cost of the program. Here is a design that was put together in an afternoon. I was also able to take measurements and quantities of materials with a click of the mouse as well, something you can't do with hand drawings.

    Btw your second design is much better.

  10. SRT8

    SRT8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CA
    Posts: 1,294

    One was done by hand the other was done on the computer.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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