Landscape productivity tips

We consider it important when using CAD software in your landscape design practice to work efficiently. The notes here provide some advice on doing just that. In no particular order of importance, we believe that:

It is worth putting effort into your design studio’s template

Set up your layer set, dimension styles, double line styles, and text styles, and incorporate a design studio palette with well-tested species symbols tagged with plant names.

Using layers is important

Although you might develop new design work on layer zero, to begin with, we suggest moving entities that are naturally grouped onto a layer.

YouTube movie This case study shows how a landscape designer using gCADPlus software uses and manipulates layers to work efficiently. We start with a simple design for the front garden and then move on to a design for the redesign of a community park that features tennis courts, BBQ areas, shelters, and grassed play areas. Layout sheets are used to provide instruction for demolition, new construction, planting details, and a detailed planting scheme and plant schedule.

Leaders are good for text labels

There is a real advantage to using a dimension leader to label areas in the design.

YouTube movie Here we show that labeling spaces with informative text in landscape designs created with CAD software such as gCADPlus and AutoCAD is best done with the leader command. With a small adjustment to a dimensioning style, a custom label style can be easily created.

YouTube movies

The movies grouped here assume that you have been working with gCADPlus (or some other CAD software such as AutoCAD) for some time and wish to improve productivity.

Tip #1

Drafting Tips #1 We discuss the need to be aware of the status of various switches – osnap, polar tracking, etc. while working on CAD landscape plans.

Tip #2

Drafting Tips #1 We develop a series of paths on a 45-degree angle. The importance of precision movement using osnaps such as the midpoint snap are discussed.

Tip #3

Drafting Tips #3 We emphasize the importance of drawing full size when developing a CAD plan for a site. We use the measure tool to estimate the distance from a boundary to the footprint of a house and scale accordingly. Once our model reflects the real-world measurements, we insert a block of a vehicle and show that there is enough space to fit two cars into the designated parking area.

Tip #4

Drafting Tips #4 How to change drafting style from lineweight ‘byentity’ to lineweight ‘bylayer’.

Tip #5

Drafting Tips #4 Just as lineweight of an entity can be set implicitly or BYLAYER, so too can linetype patterns. Here we change the linetype scale of a closed polyline so a hidden line shows. We then hatch the zone making sure that the correct layer is active.

Tip #6

Drafting Tips #6 We show how to clean up a ‘messy’ polyline imported from AutoCAD. We add point data and snap to the points in order to create a new polyline. The align dimension tool is then used to add dimensions to assist a construction team in laying out the design.

Tip #7

Drafting Tips #7 It is best to adopt a light touch when applying hatching to zones in a landscape drawing. Too much hatching can overwhelm the design. We apply a grass pattern and a brick pattern to indicate the type of surface covering. The advantage of setting a border for a polyline shape is discussed.

Tip #8

Drafting Tips #8 Users new to CAD drafting often find managing lineweights tricky. Here we show the importance of the LWT switch in the status line, the value of controlling lineweight by layer settings, and the need to take output sheet size into consideration.

Tip #9

Drafting Tips #9 The importance of managing layers. Using Draw Insert raster to provide images of species used in a design.

Tip #10

Drafting Tips #10 We show some of the many ways that a symbol denoting a species can be labeled in landscape CAD plans. A discussion on the various types of plant schedules that can be drawn in gCADPlus follows.

Tip #11

Drafting Tips #11 We take a base plan in gCADPlus and write a DXF file ready for importation into SketchUp. A 3D SketchUp model is then constructed using this base data.

Tip #12

Drafting Tips #12 We show how to use the same symbol over and over but assign different plant species to each instance of the symbol.

Tip #13

Drafting Tips #13 We show one method for handling CAD surveys in the gCADPlus environment.

Tip # 14

Drafting Tips #14 Managing paving in gCADPlus landscape drawings.

Tip #15

Drafting Tips #14 We show how a company that specializes in assisting clients to create highly productive urban food gardens uses gCADPlus. They use templates that are well stocked with symbols (blocks) of raised garden beds, aquaponic assemblies, and chicken runs to quickly produce a design. Care is taken to incorporate several layouts with title blocks and logos such that the design is ready to print in double-quick time.