Jun 11, 2013 10:50 pm
HI folks, it's my first post here so be gentle
I have approx 4000 sq.m of garden (including lawn, gardens and driveways) that I would like to landscape. At the moment we have significant issues with creeks appearing in unhelpful places when it rains heavily, and I have a lot of lawn that I would like to level in order to make it more useful. I would also like to build retaining walls and other mod-cons to make the driveways look better. Stone walls to replace corrugated iron barns. Raised paved areas. Pathways, Steps .....
I order to plan all this I would like to have a better idea of the lay of the land, so to speak.
As a complete newbie I think I need to purchase a theodolite and software package to help plan the job. I'm a BIG fan of overkill and so have been looking at AutoCAD (which I may be able to get a mostly legitimate licence for rather than purchasing the whole package) with something like http://www.globalcad.com/products/landscape.htm but wondered if there were better options?
Thanks for your help
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job2
Jun 12, 2013 8:11 pm
It's certainly going to do the job.
You may still require some consultancy in regard to the creeks and retaining walls.
Best to work with what you have rather than against it. Many designers can only dream of such features.
If you plan on changing the course of the creeks, you will be best to consult a hydrologist or at the very least an environmental scientist with experience in creek and river regeneration.
By doing the technical drawings yourself, you can expect significant cost savings.
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job3
Jun 12, 2013 10:26 pm
I think you mistook me Fu Manchu- the creeks aren't actual watercourses, just floods of water over inappropriate parts of the garden which I need to control and direct.
You seem to be a bit of a guru around here, thanks for taking the time to reply. Are there any particular bits of kit you would recommend for my purposes?
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job4
Jun 13, 2013 8:45 am
Your initial out lay is certainly going to put a big dent in any saving you will make from a one off project.
Autocad civil is a better choice for topography. Haven't used landcad plugin so cant comment.
Perhaps, hire a level instead of buying?
Not knowing your work background or skills, i would just comment on the steep learning curve on not only the software but in actually putting a survey plan together.
My suggestion to you would be a least get a quote on the survey plan (they will supply a file you can import to your software).
Then try it out with sketchup, there are plugins around for topography.
Or Vectorworks Landmark for a heavier program
I have been in the design and construction game for a long time, and there is no out of the box landscape program that fit all my needs. Personally use Revit for drawing (have to build your own library of items) and lumion or 3D max for renders. Initial learning curve 6 months full time, still picking out different ways to do things.
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job5
Jun 13, 2013 4:45 pm
Thanks for your thoughtful advice.
I my case the DIY is not about the money, I just love learning new tricks and I think I would enjoy the place more knowing that I built it. I have minimal experience in this area as you have probably guessed. This is going to be a multi-year project so hiring the equipment is not really an option, and based on past experience my plans and aspirations are likely to change many times which might make getting a professional a bit expensive.
MY FIL has AutoCAD, so I would be looking at an extra licence, rather than buying the program outright. The landscape add-on would of course be extra
Would I be looking at something like:
http://compare.ebay.com.au/like/3308137 ... eItemTypes
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/CST-berger-D ... 41667e5f8d
Or would an optical level be more than adequate:
http://www.gettoolsdirect.com.au/bosch- ... level.html
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job6
Jun 13, 2013 6:15 pm
Good on you for having a go at doing it yourself on your landscape. It is such a rewarding activity and everyday you get to look at your garden that you created yourself with great pride!
All the best with it, keep us updated on your progress.
Online Garden Design - Garden designs and DIY guides Australia wide.
Landscape Garden Design Online
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job7
Jun 14, 2013 7:54 am
In regard to levels, we use either the old school optical (two man job), or a laser level. But we don't use them for making survey plans, only on the construction side.
We use surveyors as most councils require that they are registered.
Software side, download a free trial (fully functional 30 days), think you can even save the file so you would be able to carry on later. Still would look into sketchup, with all the plugins available you could get a good result plus their are lots of tutorials out there.
Some big design firms still use sketchup for preliminary work.
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job8
Jun 14, 2013 2:14 pm
I will chip in here and agree with everything Cherub is saying. I have only started in the design side of landscaping in the last 6 months and i haven't found the need for autocad yet, sketchup has all the functionality required atm.
The thing is, even if you have audocad it is not going to get you a better design, it's only a drawing tool. There is not much that you can do in autocad that you can't do by hand drawing (residential level). Its just slower, and since time isn't an issue in your case why bother spending months getting to know autocad when you could be studying actual garden design principles? Autocad is a professional tool to create accurate drawings fast and is made for designers that create plans day in day out.. Not one off jobs. As Cherub pointed out sketchup is more than capable of handling your site and has a way smaller learning curve. Even gardencad would work in your situation.
The bonus with sketchup is you can pop up a 3d model of your site so easily and this is very very helpful in understanding your levels and contours.
You would be surprised by how many landscape designers/Architects still create hand drawn concepts before drafting them in CAD software.. A lot don't even use cad programs at all:).
If i was you i would get a feature survey done by a surveyor and use a dumpy level for construction.. Then do some study on garden design with the time you saved not learning autocad..
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job10
Jun 14, 2013 7:08 pm
Ok, perhaps I need to take 1 or 2 steps back. I think I better get in touch with the council and find out exactly what their requirements are. Common sense may not be sufficient I though that having a really good idea of the lay of the land prior to shelling out for experts would make decision making easier, but if they are going to demand a formal surveyors report anyway then I may as well get an expert in to do the job.
Thanks for the wisdom regarding software requirements. I'll have a play with sketchup.
Wow, Almost and Acre to landscape. What a fantastic project! Good luck - please post pics.
Don't hold your breath. It's going to take a while
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job11
Jun 14, 2013 7:39 pm
Didn't say you will need a surveyor, just in suburbia due to close proximity of boundary's we have to when carrying out any works which impact on others.
If your not doing any works on the boundary maybe not needed, talk with your council
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job12
Jun 14, 2013 10:59 pm
May I also add to this, whilst not being from a landscaping background, I am from a surveying background.
If you have no previous experience in the field and don't know anyone that does, perhaps some time learning the basics and concepts of surveying and instrument handling may be a start, it looks very simple from the outside but i assure you it isn't. Simply setting up a theodolite/total station correctly over a given mark can be frustrating for a beginner. You may also find out which instrument and other equipment is more appropriate for you. Along with this comes the actual measurement phase, where the readings should be taken to ensure the contours are an accurate representation of what's on the ground. Things like breaks lines, top of banks, bottom of banks are critical when it comes to contour plans and without an understanding of these you will just end up with a page full of measurements.
Similarly Autocad and other professional software packages are also quite in depth and can be very daunting if you don't know where to start. I am now out of the profession and haven't seen Autocad in quite a few years and wouldn't be sure if i could still use it immediately.
If it were me, I would get a quote for a detail/contour survey. If the site is fairly open it is pretty straight forward and quick job, meaning not too expensive. They can also provide you with a Australian Height Datum (AHD) mark for levels and other reference marks for you to use for future setting out purposes. A detail plan will also give you some idea where about your features and structures are in relation to the boundaries. Which could be quite important depending on how close you are planning your retaining walls etc to the boundaries. As already stated they can also give you a digital version to import into your own software.
Hopefully this helps somewhat and doesn't turn you off too much. And here i was trying not to write too much and just cover some of the pertinent points.......
Re: Tools for planning a big landscaping job13
Aug 19, 2013 4:35 pm
Thanks for that comprehensive post. I took your advice re:getting a quote and was a bit shocked at the $2500+ price tag for a suburban 800sq m block (investment property interstate that I was having similar ideas about). I didn't get one for this place as it is a much bigger job. Not that I disrespect the level of knowledge and skill involved, especially now that I have acquired a dumpy level and had a bit of a play! More that I don't need to be spending that kind of cash at the moment if I can avoid it.
Anyway I now have a dumpy level and have been inputting the points into Sketchup. The pictures are almost making sense! But I need to work on my accuracy. I'll start another thread to discuss that tho.
Sign in or Join to reply to this Topic
StructuralBIMGuyPlanning to build enclosed pergola, requesting advicePlanning to build enclosed pergola, requesting advice
You will require construction and engineering drawings and details for the above ground structure The existing slab may well need to be inspected for compliance with the…