• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Making a graphical layout of property  RSS feed

 
bill archer
Posts: 58
Location: Oregon Zone 8b
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Are there any programs out there that help to make a graphical layout of a property? I'm artistically challenged and have tried drawing it but could really use the help of a program if one exists, preferably a free one
 
Jason Jamora
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm interested in finding an easy to use program too. I have just been using google maps or google earth and printing out overhead pictures of my property to sketch on.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've used GIS and AutoCAD and done design/install freelance, and I recommend tracing paper overlays, pencil, ink, and colored pencils. If you must be digital, than consider PowerPoint, the free version being OpenOffice Impress, but I think good design sketching still benefits from the direct mind-eye-hand connection, and it rarely ever crashes...
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1996
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
you can try using googles SketchUp. I had pretty good results using it to make contour lines for my property map. It's really easy to import a google Map into SketchUp and manipulate it. You can add buildings and all kinds of other objects. There is a learning curve but there are also a few videos on youtube that can get you started. Good Luck
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1320
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How can you do a drawing when it is really, really sloppy?
And my place by google map is just black.... in shade!
So many curves that I cannot draw any plan! And I would like to!

Even measuring is more than an adventure...

Craig, is it done online or is it necessary to download the program?
(I have little room left!)
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1996
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Xisca Nicolas wrote:
Craig, is it done online or is it necessary to download the program?
(I have little room left!)


It's a downloadable program but I'm not sure that it's all that large of a file.
 
Madeline Aldred
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Craig Dobbelyu wrote:you can try using googles SketchUp. I had pretty good results using it to make contour lines for my property map. It's really easy to import a google Map into SketchUp and manipulate it. You can add buildings and all kinds of other objects. There is a learning curve but there are also a few videos on youtube that can get you started. Good Luck


this sounds easy will give it a try.
I too am artistically chalenged, so will try it and let you know how I go.

thanks
 
Rose Pinder
Posts: 410
Location: Otago, New Zealand
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Allow some time to get to know sketchup. It's not a programme that you can just pick up and use. There are lots of good tutorials online though, and help forums.
 
Madeline Aldred
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rose Pinder wrote:Allow some time to get to know sketchup. It's not a programme that you can just pick up and use. There are lots of good tutorials online though, and help forums.


Yes thank you have downloaded and have been having a play, looks like I will sit on this PC playing so have to be strong and get outside while the weather is good and do some outside stuff.
hard to leave sketchup alone though, can see it will be a great tool for mapping and designing things with.

thanks
 
Nicole Castle
Posts: 151
Location: Madison, AL
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just couldn't get the hang of SketchUp at all. I use Visio.

But sometimes paper is the right tool.
 
Madeline Aldred
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nicole Castle wrote:I just couldn't get the hang of SketchUp at all. I use Visio.

But sometimes paper is the right tool.

my partner is great with drawing,i cant get the hang of scale, if I dont get on with sketchup i will try Visio

thanks
 
Paula Edwards
Posts: 411
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I really think Paul is right. If you are using whatever sort of program it stops the creative process. Tracing paper is far better. The plan you draw must not be pretty it can be rather ugly - the ideas count. I like to draw with ballpoint for instance.
Even experienced designers still use trace paper in the design process (the very thin one 20 grams/m² is good it comes in fat rolls).
If you still don't like drawing, simply write your ideas down.

If you find it easier you might build a model, but you should have a contour plan for that. You can use corrugated cardboard for this.
A design process is not about drawing a nice plan. You could not draw a plan at all and go out and mark the areas out directly with strings, stones, pieces of wood, whatever you find. The design process is about pondering ideas and collecting information and finally tying information and ideas together and make decisions. You can draw a plan but you must not. A plan is merely an instrument for communicating your ideas and you can as well measure out easily and calculate the amount of space needed for everything.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love to use graph paper for many of my design tinkerings. The grid pattern makes it easier to deal with scale, and straight lines. Once the plan has been finalized, you can easily transfer it to tracing paper, and even add 'tick' marks at designated spaces if you wish.

 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Xisca, if your place isn't clear on Google maps, try Bing maps...looks like their images were taken on a clear day:



 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1996
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've found the maps from weather.com to be the best for me. I was actually shocked to see how clear the map there. Somehow google or bing were somehow not as good.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems to vary a lot. For me, Google is usually the best, but other times, Bing blows their sox off.

On that Canary Islands coverage, it looks like Bing found a clearer day.

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1320
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks!
There is a place with my saint, Nicolas, but this is not the island where I live, as you pictured Gran Canaria
I look for bing then, and weather, and compare, I agree it varies from place to place.

Edit:
weather uses bing's map.
It is not very clear but less shady and I could draw a first sketch...
Thanks
 
gustavo alcantar
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm a graphic designer who's moved into permaculture design over the past few years. While i dont think its necessary to have a gorgeous digital illustration for one's own backyard, i have done a few layouts in Adobe Illustrator for projects that need to be presented to city councils or foundations for grant applications, and i have found this level of professional artistic presentation really impresses folks. It can make a huge difference between landing $50k or not! The learning curve can be tricky (i have over 20 years experience) which is why one might find/hire professionals rather than DIY, if there's some budget of course (or lotss love).

The next level up for professional level, to-scale, contractor quality which can also be turned into 3D is AutoCAD or SketchUp (FREE and good - landscape designer friends use it at large corporate offices). I'm looking into learning Sketchup to help bring Permaculture into more professional environments.

Dont get me wrong, i LOVE using sketchbooks, tissue overlays and scribbling to allow organic ideation (agree with Paul & Paula), and i usually start with that for a while, BUT once basic layout elements are decided you can digitize these plus fixed elements (house, roads, neighbors, fences, contours, large trees etc) for a great basemap to experiment with. The advantage of digital vs handdrawn is that one can Copy/Paste or move things around very quickly without re-drawing the whole thing, just SAVE AS. and you can enlarge for detailed design, powerpoint, share/email, posting on forums, etc.... You can also print and then continue sketching on the printouts.

i'm attaching a recent sample - one page of a multi-page pdf presentation. mind you the plan is not yet finished (it never is) but it was to show our progress so, y'know please dont throw too many stones (i am open to constructive criticisms though)... i will post "finished" version pretty soon
 
gustavo alcantar
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Heres the attachment, trying to find the best filetype that the forum will accept and show nicely.
Filename: hc-design-hap-overview-title.pdf
Description: one page of a multi-page pdf presentation
File size: 1 megabytes
hc-design-hap-overview-title.jpg
[Thumbnail for hc-design-hap-overview-title.jpg]
 
Mark Livett
Posts: 58
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been using Microsoft Excel to print a graph, I just space the columns and rows to make squares scaled to 40cm to a side (the size of my paving slabs). I can print loads of them out in light gray and draw over the top.

For a finished plan for presentations or a sales pitch I use Sketch-Up, it impresses people who have never seen it before and have no idea that it is free off the internet.

Sketch-up is a time sink though, I had an idea for a circular raised bed, it took me a few goes on paper and pencil to discover bits that needed changing and design features etc. but when it came to transfering into sketch-up finished piece, it has been weeks, I have learned a lot about the program, (how to join circular pipes at right angles) but I still cant find out how to make a shape a solid mass instead of an empty box and frankly it won't effect the finished work anyway but I neeeeeed to know.

 
Robin Hones
Posts: 50
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am with Gustavo. The real issue is to use a tool appropriate for the task - that means not just the user but also the audience. If they are one and the same the issue is simple. But the "further" the audience is from the user, in all probability the tools need to be more professional or more professionally used. I use paper A LOT but nobody would accuse me of being an artist. If I wanted to present a project for funding for example, I would spend some $$ to get my plans done to a professional standard.

The other comment I would make is 2D vs 3D. Paper works great for noodling around. However, to truly see what is going on in a site which has significant height variables (contours, trees, buildings, etc) it really helps a "client" to see what is going on, even if that "client" is also the user. SketchUp is free, the cost of SketchUp is the time you take to learn, but I would submit that is no costlier than training someone with moderate artistic ability to make presentation-quality graphics. Again, depends on the situation as to whether it is useful or not.

My wife is an Interior Designer,and is constantly amazed at how challenged some of her customers are in visualizing how her designs translate into a given space. The ability to have views in 3D, and "fly" around the space on the laptop screen is a HUGE sales tool for her as it allows the client to see a "real" world.

If anyone feels disposed to learn how to do site design using SketchUp by working with a book, I can recommed "SketchUp for Site Design" by Daniel Tal.
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!