I wanted to share my process of creating a garden design sketch, which is part of the initial schematic design phase. I start by drawing over a photo of the site. I choose the most descriptive photo, one that provides the most informative, unobstructed view of the site. In this case, it was a photo taken from an upper level of the yard, so the viewers has a slightly downward perspective, which can be very helpful in understanding the space. I modify the brightness and contrast so that I can more easily draw over it.
The next step is to figure out the perspective lines, this example happens to be easy and provides us with some obvious clues. The red lines on the photo below show the edges of the lawn which is close to rectangular. That means we can use the parallel side lines to help us find the vanishing point and horizon line. So I trace the edges of the lawn until they meet (red lines). Where they meet is called the vanishing point. That point helps us determine the horizon line, which always runs through the vanishing point horizontally (the blue line). The horizon line is helpful in understanding where other perspective lines might end, when you have two or three point perspective. Right now we are just dealing with one-point perspective. The black lines show how you can draw lines that originate from the vanishing point to help determine where a new patio might be and path.
From this point, I draw in the hardscape and planting, starting from foreground to background. This is where creativity comes into play and a familiarity with how plants grow is helpful. In another post I will break this process down even further. The drawing below shows the new landscape design filling the space.
Next, I color in the black & white drawing (I started to above, and then realized I should scan it!). Since I’m thinking in terms of real plants I will use, I try to be somewhat realistic in my color choices, but this is also a wonderful way to experiment with different colors to see how it affects the viewer’s perception of depth and mood.
Sometimes I take the drawing to the next level of imagination. For instance, I’m continually adding drawings to my coloring book (that I created and offer on this blog) and I felt this design would lend itself well, with just a few tweaks. So I draw it again with some different details, I hide/ remove the house, so that it feels more like a secret garden. I add in a few taller trees that don’t actually exist on the site. I make it very coloring friendly by ensuring there is a clear understanding of where one plant starts and stops. The drawing is still fairly loose and open to interpretation, which is just part of my style.
Stay tuned for a follow-up post that gets in to the details of how to draw actual plants and trees in a perspective drawing! Questions or comments? Please leave them below!