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Lesson 3 - Landscape Plans

Landscape designers use a series of plans to avoid the overall plan becoming too cluttered and unreadable. The plans are prepared in stages as follows:

  1. Site plan - the initial plan showing the existing features of the site (sometimes called the base plan).
  2. Concept plan - a sketch plan showing the overall concept of the new design including broad activity areas and major traffic routes through the garden (sometimes called the draft plan).
  3. Final plan - the new design.
  4. Planting plan - detailed plan showing the layout of plants.
Other plans that are sometimes used include a grading plan (showing existing gradients and proposed changes to gradients such as raised beds or mounds), an irrigation plan and construction details plans (eg. plans of walls, ponds, paths).

The initial site plan is drawn on plain white paper or graph paper. Subsequent plans are prepared using a series of overlays, drawn on tracing paper. For each new plan, place a new sheet of tracing paper over the site plan and trace the building outlines, boundaries, paths, etc. with a felt tipped or draughting pen (Staedtler or Rapdiograph). Whatever pen is used it should give a dark (but not too thick) black line. Ideally several nibs (or pens) are used to give different thicknesses of line.

If desired, the plans can be reproduced as many times as copies are required in a dyeline (plan printing) machine. If you do not have ready access to such a machine, most engineering architect or drawing offices will print your plans for you for a small fee.

Each plan should include a title box (see below) which is located in the bottom right hand corner. The plan should also include an arrow showing the direction of north and a legend. The legend will explain representations on the drawing (eg. the way trees, walls, rocks and other landscape features are drawn). Depending on how much detail is included on the plan, a plant list should also be included, either in the final plan or on a separate planting plan. The plant list should list all of the varieties of plants to be used in the garden with a number beside each. Corresponding numbers are written beside the plants on the design.
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