Sunday, February 7, 2010

What is a Hard Landscape Portfolio?

I was asked this lately and realise I have skirted around the details in previous postings.

The task was to prepare full construction drawings from Plan, Elevation and Section through to the Detail. Enough to allow a contractor to build each project successfully.

Furnished with some plans, some photographs and some written material the level of detail was up to each person to decide upon.

For some of the students, me included, this meant learning the 'how' of what to build i.e foundation width, depth and content, how does a retaining wall retain, what are the components of a decking structure and how do they fit together, how deep is a pond? and what sits beneath it? how deep is a step riser?, what are the dims of a brick?, a concrete slab? and even a roof tile? plus endless beams, joists, noggins, hoggin, mortar and sub-base components. This detail fathomed, how to brace, hang, support and wedge (!) together. Lastly to gather it all elegantly and efficiently into the CAD program of choice, Vectorworks 2010 which turned out to be stage two of the steep climb to knowledge.

Stage three was printing it all out with perfect titling, positioning, labeling and the right amount of information. Each requiring detailed knowledge of printer performance, features and why DPI might be relevant.

The learning aim was clearly about getting the written construction material off the page and into heads. Then from heads and sketch pads into Vectorworks. Upping skills in both areas, pronto. Having a real project is, for me at least, a blessing, something to actually 'do' rather than play at doing.

I leanrt more than I needed to in some areas and not enough in others.

The final part was a Bespoke portfolio of 12 pieces drawn with enough detail for a craftsman or woman to build for our clients. A creative exercise and most enjoyable although some of my crafts people will need to be magicians as well!

All in all my HLP and bespoke took me 192 hours (curtesy of to complete. That's sitting down at the computer hours, not faffing about making tea, reading, researching, getting help, discussing with peers, tutors, sending 'help' emails, completing Vectorworks tutorial book, deciphering VW help text (bad, really bad!) and the many other tasks that surrounded it. For that, Tickspot reckons another 40 hrs, give or take.

All will be on show at the end of year exhibition in June (16/17), of course updated per instructions from those marking them in the coming weeks.


  1. Hey again Rosalind, good reading about your progress and year end exhibition. Good luck with it all, and I am going to try out Tickspot, sounds just like what I need!

  2. Hi Tracy
    Tickspot is certainly to be recommended. Found it invaluable for monitoring tasks and projects sections.


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