Woddy's assignment

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)March 26, 2009

I thought I'd put this on a separate thread so I wouldn't feel too guilty about putting too much stuff - if you're not interested, skip this thread! :- )

I submitted the assignment at noon today. I'm sure there's lots wrong with it because everytime I look at it I notice something I should have added or changed! But it's time to move on and focus on other priorities so I said 'to --ll with it' and submitted it as it is.

Don't bother trying to read the small labels - they largely refer to a plant list that is a separate document. The overall plan:

The isometric elevation, rotated the 'proper' 30 degrees. Note that the house is drawn 'transparent' at the teacher's request so all sides of the garden show. The back corner got cut off as, rotated, the drawing no longer fits on the paper size:

(The teacher and I argued to a standstill over the isometric issue. She said she can understand why I found the unrotated one I submitted for Assignment B useful but that she is required to teach - and grade based on - the industry standard rotated view. 12 out of the 30 marks available for assignment B were for the elevation. The teacher only gave me 6 on the elevation part but 100% on the rest so my assignment B mark came out as 24/30 or 80% - so I think she was trying not to penalize me while still staying on-side to her teaching requirements! I agreed to do the rotated view for this assignment but I maintain is is uneccessary work as the unrotated view is perfectly adequate to give a reasonable 3-D feel for the design and probably only takes 10% of the effort required to do the rotated view! And there are examples in the text of non-rotated elevations.... I will use the non-rotated approach when I'm playing with the changes for my garden.)

Here is the general explanatory text that goes with the plan:


My client wanted a fairly simple and lower maintenance garden, with the main activities planned for the garden being dining, sunbathing and, at some future point, play space for grandchildren. The plan is, therefore, quite simple with clean lines and as much open space as possible with colorful, scented plantings to add interest.

The plan includes re-grading the backyard to a 2% slope to eliminate the step down at the back and make for a continuous surface from the dining patio to the lawn area so both the patio and the lawn can be used for sunbathing and play surfaces with no impediments of steps or level changes. The main hard surface material is exposed aggregate concrete (or client could easily substitute plain poured concrete which would probably cost a small amount less) The concrete was chosen because it is low cost, low maintenance, less prone to frost heave, long-lasting, and visually simple so it wonÂt add Âbusy-ness of pattern when, in the future, there may be a clutter of child toys, and in the meantime, provide a neutral background that allows the display of color from the plantings to have center stage. Utility paths (to the clothes-dryer and along the garage) are narrower to emphasize their secondary status and of inexpensive concrete slabs (client could choose to substitute and use the exposed aggregate for a somewhat higher cost.)

The fences are mainly Âsee-through (a preference expressed by the client) black aluminum with a plain wood one on the south side where the neighbours have a pool. That one is stained Pewter Gray to fade into the background, provide a foil for the lilac thicket and the blue-toned juniper hedge along the path by the garage. On the north side, the style chosen has closer-spaced pickets which will provide greater screening (in combination with the vines on the fence) of the neighbours unattractive garden. The west fence between the garden and the nature preserve has more open spacing of the pickets to allow the view of the nature preserve to flow into the backyard. The fence also has vines to provide some screening from people who may be passing by in the nature preserve. A lockable gate in the fence provides access to the preserve while maintaining security.

Scent, color and edible things are important elements of the garden. There are two pear trees (the clientÂs preferred fruit tree) as two varieties are needed for optimal pollination and fruiting. The trees are underplanted with low, flowering groundcover to allow for easy access to harvest the fruit and clean up windfalls. An underplanting of spring bulbs adds further color and the orange-scented thyme under the front garden pear adds scent opportunities from spring to fall. The groundcover of alpine strawberries along the back fence provides all-summer fruiting for snacking while the honeysuckle on the fence provides summer color and scent. The small vegetable garden is stocked with the clientÂs expressed preference for tomatoes, peppers and onions. The iron tuteur in it provides support for the indeterminate (vining) cherry tomatoes and also a year-round focal point for the view from the family room sliding door. A ÂThe President clematis is planted on the back fence, aligned with the tuteur, to enhance the focal point with a color splash in early summer. A lilac thicket is planted along the south fence beside the patio to provide a generous source of the clientÂs favorite scent. ÂPolish Spirit clematis is planted with the lilacs to climb into the lilacs and add extend the bloom season. ÂSweet Autumn clematis on the north fence adds late summer color and scent and adds to the screening and earlier fragrance of the honeysuckle vines. It the front garden narcissi and lilies underplanted in the driveway borders adds early and late scent. Mockorange and summersweet add summer and late summer scent in various places. Blue and white predominate in the colors (clientÂs expressed preference).


While I learned some interesting and useful things in the course, on the whole it was not what I was hoping for. I was looking for something where discussion of design at a more conceptual level would be the bulk of the course, perhaps with 'what's wrong with this picture?' type analysis to illustrate/reinforce the design principles. Instead, this course was largely about how to do the drawings. (The isometric drawing was not a part of the course as such. I just refused to do the depthless type so taught myself - by reading one of the recommended texts -how to do the isometric approach. I'm sure I drove the teacher crazy!) The design concept stuff was there but it was largely a self-study thing plus feedback from the teacher on how well you incorporated the elements into the plan. But, since there was only one property planned (thank goodness, given the amount of work involved!), the exposure to different situations and solutions was minimal.

I'm not sure if I'll take any more courses in the program. It might be fun to try the CAD one where you get to play with professional software (on a limited-time student license from the software company...) I wouldn't take any course during prime garden season though so I'll have to see when it is scheduled for. And who knows if I'll be wanting do do anything like this come fall or winter....

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow! Woody I am so impressed (but not in the least bit surprised) by all your hard work. I am going to have to go back and really look a the drawing and go bit by bit through the description you've provided.

I'll bet the teacher enjoyed you; it must be fun to know there is a bright and inquisitive mind out there in "classroom land".

I hope you're having a celebratory glass of wine tonight, you've earned it.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 6:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Bravo! That is a tremendous amount of work and your plan is beautiful. Congratulations! :)


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 6:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'm frustrated and tired for you Woody! But I think you got a lot out of it nevertheless. Thanks for putting those clematis in such nice spots too. ;)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 8:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think these drawings are amazing and should be framed!

I'm not sure I could've tackled the transparency - that seems mind boggling to me.

GB, your eyesight is better than mine...how'd you see clems? or did you just instinctively know they were there?


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bravo, Bravo!! What a mind blowing amount of work those drawings represent. I hope you are justly proud:0) I can only imagine the hours and hours that went into them. A shame so much of the emphasis was directed towards technical drawing rather than thoughtful design. I'm sure you should have aced the course.

Just in case you were looking at other options, a keen gardening friend of mine took a distance learning course from the English Gardening School and was very pleased with what they had to offer. I thought the quality of their publications was excellent (but perhpas I'm biased being a Brit LOL!)

Thank you for sharing your work and ideas with us


    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Susan, those are really good! I could never do such tedious hand work. What are the dimensions of each page?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Marian - the paper size is 11"x17" for the course but I gather in 'real life' it would be at least 24"x36" or bigger...

Mary - I have noticed the ads for the English Gardening School in the RHS magazine. And there are the RHS courses too... I guess one advantage of the U of G courses is you can just take the courses that interest you and they can count towards a certificate/diploma or not, as you like. So there no feeling that you didn't complete a program if you want to stop after just one course. The Internet format was ideal for me; it's just that the course content wasn't quite what I was looking for. I'll have to look around at options and then see whether I'm still in the mood to do something more once the gardening season is over for this year.

Saucy - The reference to the clematises is in the verbal description of the plan. You need the plant list key to find them on the drawing (and the drawing posted here is too small to read the numbers anyway! :-) GB - I was going to consult with you about what ones to use but ran out of time and just named ones I was familiar with!

The transparent house was interesting. I had to 'build' it from scratch with only the floor plan outline, the height of the walls as provided by the teacher, and the fact that there was a 2' roof overhang! It's not quite right I think on the back part of the house but good enough for the purpose of the assignment.

The whole isometric drawing thing is actually quite simple to do - if a bit fiddly and tedious! You follow a straightforward process using fairly crude shapes for the plants (drawn to scale based on mature height and spread) and, when you put it all together, it produces that rather astonishing drawing - with zippo artistic talent required on my part! Since it was all done at a scale of 1/8" = 1' small details were killers to work with. It took me two days to draw that table and tuteur! Rotating things 30 degrees when they're that small and have so many lines (all those chair legs etc.!) is hard on the eyes... And since the technique produces a 3-D effect, I kept losing track of what was bottom and what was top as the little image seemed to have a life of its own and 'morphed' a lot :-) And tilting everything at 30 degrees started to 'get' to me - when I was reading something after working on the drawings for a while, the text of what I was reading seemed to be on a slant!

But it was mostly fun - and good mental exercise :-) But now it's time to mess around in the real garden! I do hope to get out and measure things next week and do a proper scale drawing of the front garden and the changes I want to make there. (I suspect I may end up just 'winging it' as usual if spring gets underway quickly sometime soon and I run out of planning time....:-)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 3:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Woody, what a wonderful project for the winter and you must be so gratified by the result.I enjoyed reading your description of the plan as well. Fabu-fabu !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 5:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It seems I've nailed reading and failed comprehension! The mention of clematis went right over my head :)

Mary, that gardening course looks spectacular!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 6:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Very impressive that you could tackle this project. You had to have certainly given your brain a good workout. And your eyes. I am wondering if there are parts of the plan that you are going to use in your own garden this year? I think you had a productive winter and I can't wait to see what you choose to do next winter. I'll bet it made the winter just zip by too. I agree, framing them for the wall would be much better than if they got forgotten in a drawer somewhere.

I thought the English course looked very interesting, but quite expensive. Was it about a $1,000. for the course?

You did a great job, Woody!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Woody, thanks for sharing your drawings and course experience. It sounds so well thought out. I wish I had you to help me plan. My stuff is always such a mish mash.
You worked hard and proved yourself. I think it is great that you even wanted to challenge yourself with all that you have on your plate. I greatly admire people who make the most of their lives. Norma

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

PM2 - it was sort of the other way around - i.e. the plan incorporates a lot of stuff/combinations that I use in my garden here. Since Barb was my 'client' and she helped me build a lot of the garden here, some of her requests for what to include were based on the things she liked in my garden. So we were cheating a bit :-)

Norma - it only sounds well thought out because I've had ten years to get sort out what things I like together. If I had done the course ten years ago the plan would likely have not sounded so well thought out!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 3:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Woody...what is more promising in design than ideas that have been tested! :-)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 7:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Wow! What a lot of work Woody! Brilliant drawings. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 8:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Woody, your project is AWESOME!!! Very impressive. The attention to detail is wonderful. Congrats on a great job.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Bought Colocasia esculenta tubers... now what?
I bought today a pack of 4 Colocasia esculenta tubers. They...
anemones was a better name
campanula confusion!
I have a question, everyone! I've always eyed campanulas...
diggerdee zone 6 CT
hey newbie: straw or hay
so you say.. whats the difference.. well .. i will...
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
spring things
replanted this as part of last years back garden renovation...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™