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Landscape Architecture is Fun

tree stamps, plant symbols

Color-rendered drawings make landscape architecture fun. When you are a landscape architect, drawing plant symbols is part of your job. How great is that!? It’s fun to color and shade the different circles, shadows, and stars. There would, no doubt, be many fewer landscape architects in the world if the job didn’t entail this fun coloring activity. In landscape architecture school studios, the halls are laden with the smell of felt-tipped markers. On the late nights before a project was due, you might faint from the fumes! Landscape design is fun because landscapes are colorful.

Landscape design uses circles. Architects and civil engineers are stuck with their slide rules and T-squares and straight lines, but landscape architects are the rulers of the circle template. A simple circle will not do for any self-respecting landscape architect! LAs have developed hundreds of ways to depict trees. No other engineering discipline can justify elaborate speckled and striped circles in faux 3D grandeur.

Actual landscape architects working on real-life projects rarely create color-rendered drawings. The elaborate artwork practiced in the university studio is typically only used for special fund-raising and promotional visualizations. Most government reviewing agencies want simplicity on plan sheets. Clients would rather save the money required for fancy graphics to spend on expensive construction, plants, and labor. Large-scale projects require design graphics that can be reproduced and easily read in black and white.

Even so, colorful tree renderings are surely are fun to draw! It’s the closest thing to being a comic book author, I suppose. No true professional landscape architect would ever, ever use tree stamps or generic, scanned plant photos in a landscape design drawing! They are an automatic indicator of amateur status. Some landscape designers create works of art using watercolors and felt-tip markers.

It is helpful to create your own unique tree and shrub blocks in a CAD software application, especially if you have attributes associated with each block. You can quickly run a count for an automatic material takeoff with the ATTEXT command when your design is finished. Here are some tree blocks I drew early in my landscape architecture practice. Knowing what I know now, I would have made each block a simple circle with a dot and varied only the botanical names for each. They did make the drawings pretty, though!

tree stamps, plant symbols

Plant Symbols and Tree Stamps