Why Sketchup for 3D Garden Design?
On most projects, I now work exclusively in Sketchup, a computer-aided design (CAD) programme that allows me to ‘build’ a garden, and its constituent elements, in 3D. Clients love having realistic 3D representations of the garden before it is built, rather than having to interpret 2D plans. Sketchup is quick and efficient to use, and enables me to dovetail my work with architects, structural engineers, interior designers and other professionals
Sketchup enables me to show the client far more effectively how their completed garden will actually look. It gives clients a clear idea of spatial arrangement and movement, and it’s easy for me to make animations such as walk-throughs or fly-throughs that I can than share instantly. Clients who really want to get involved can even download a free version of Sketchup to move around inside the model themselves, or use VR goggles – though most are content for me to produce drawings and animations of their garden
Accurate Professional Drawings
Sketchup Pro is widely used by Architects and produces accurate scale drawings, for a landscape contractor to work from, ensuring that the garden is built exactly as it was designed. I design all built elements brick-by-brick, so that I can decide where any cuts or joints work best with the design. Using 3D design software makes me a better designer, and now that I design this way, I would never go back to 2D or paper. Designs can be completed more quickly, and any problems with levels or spatial organisation become apparent far earlier in the design process.
The advantage of CAD over hand-drawn design is that revisions to garden designs are made simpler, quicker and ultimately cheaper. This is because several drawings can originate from one model of a garden, so that changes to that model update all related drawings. This frees me up to re-think a garden at any stage or to make revisions that stem from clients’ suggestions, without worrying too much about how much time it will take. It’s also easy to do clever things like design different versions of a garden (or areas of a garden) that are kept on different layers that can be turned on and off to show clients different design options – by cost, material, or spatial organisation.