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The Demise of the Drawing Board

In 2008 we purchased our first copy of Vectorworks, now the industry standard CAD program for landscape designers.


We loaded it, we look at it and we drew squares and flew around spheres we had made, but that was there it ended. We continued to hand draw.


Then one day our Junior Designer saw an ad from the Society of Garden Designers about a computer aided design seminar to be held in London on a boat moored on the Embankment. We booked two places.


About 250 garden designers from London and the south east attended. Presentations were given by the manufacturers of Vector works and Sketchup followed by endorsements by the Society members already using the programs. As the day progressed an almost tangible feeing began to fill  the room. This feeling was the moment that the 250 designers present realised is was time move forward and commit their future to computer aided design.


There was no doubt the benefits of Cad to designers of any size are almost immeasurable. Speed and accuracy of drafting, ability to amend instantly, plant data bases, constructional details at the click of a mouse and the ability to communicate with other professions instantly via e mail. But it still needed to be learned!


Youtube was then in its innocent infancy and tutorial clips where not available, so a book was purchased and hour by hour we leaned the hard way. Read a section, try it out, fail, discuss where we went wrong and slowly conquer each skill.


But still we drew on the boards.


Then one day, alone in the office and facing a large country garden, I thought ‘Shall I draw this by hand or shall I tackle Vectorworks and do it on the computer’. I decided on the latter!


This inevitably took longer, but after several frustrating days this large garden was there on the screen in glorious digital format!


From that day on, the drawing board was never again used, becoming a large table for anything but drawings.


Working in the studio we quite quickly became proficient in both Vectorworks and Sketchup, developing libraries of styles, symbols and plants and a developed a Practice protocol so all drawings were the same whoever developed them.


Now, the ability to create 3d models and fly throughs of projects before a turf has been turned helps clients understand schemes and allow them to share in your vision for their spaces. Not only this, but designing in three dimensions allows us to spot detail that can be missed on a 2D plan and not picked up until much later in the design process when amendment could be difficult and costly.


It all seems too good to be true…its not…it is every bit as good as it sounds…….. but I do miss my time away from the computer at the drawing board!

This is a mockup. Publish to view how it will appear live.

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About Us



Paul is an experienced and widley respected garden designer based in Cambridge.


He has an extensive portfolio of gardens in a wide range styles and locations. Paul is a full member of The Society of Garden Designers.​

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