Making marks is all part of the design process. Typically I start work with pencils and graphite markers on tracing paper as the first step, sometimes working with coloured crayons on top sometimes not. Each designer has their own creative process.

pencils and graphite sticks with reference colour marks

Making marks helps to get the flow of a space, it’s in plan mode so the eye can see links and flows more easily; relationships and sight lines with the house and then the wider landscape.

I usually have a survey of the site to work over, giving me the boundaries and key info about the house. Survey can be simple garden surveys, done by me and my team

Drawing up a survey from our measurements

or for more complex sites done by a surveyor.

Section of a surveyor survey

From the survey we work through site analysis annotating key views, site issues and removals as well as positives, best views, things to enhance, things to screen and so on. Each layer of information helps the deisgner to understand the site better to see the site from many angles and in much more detail.

Then forgetting the detail the drawing starts to form shapes and spaces, links, connections, pooling spots and transitions spaces. Large spaes, narrow spaces, still not defined as one thing or another just marks on the tracing paper, moving around the site, inside the boundary, seeing how the space could work, several ways. Moving back and forard, picking once good seciton and adding more or taking something away. Design for me is an iterative process. There is never just one solution, BUT there is a better solution taking into account the client brief, the site and the designers eye.

Pencil on tracing paper

It all comes together on tracing paper.

The the next level starts as it moves, for me, into Vectorworks, CAD. Seeing shapes and spaces with a more citical eye, experience tells the designer the width of a path, the working size of a terrace for 8 diners, how big a swimming pool terrace needs to be and so on so the smoothly drawn suggestions fall into more dimensional and purposeful drawings.

The last design stage is to put it into 3d. A block modelling program then gives the viewer the sight lines the views, the angles the unexpected reveals and the issues to too tight turn to overly large terrace the too small border, more tweaks run back up the design line, CAD is adjusted.

3d block modelling to get a better view of things

I print and leave for at least 24 hours. The I return and re-look, reading brief and looking at the whole. Does it flow?, is it beautiful?, does it meet the clients dreams?

CAD drawing ready for presentation to clients

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