Sunday, July 30, 2006

What goes into a design?

Is it art? Is it design? Is it symbolism or is it just functionality of space laid out on paper? The design in the picture was actually co-designed by another design professional who gave me the concept to draw out and render as you see it.

As the question is asked, what went into it in order to make it a design? I would say that all of what was mentioned above goes into it...and much more. In the past when I have quoted prices to potential clients regarding design work, I have been met with some resistance. It was almost as if I had to defend my abilities and years of experience as a designer.

What goes into a plan is simple:

- My ideas of what the space can be used for.
- My knowledge of the building code as well as grading and drainage.
- My keen understanding of site conditions, soil conditions, sun exposure and existing plant material which all dictate what new plants can be introduced.
- Building Material choices
- Construction Phases
- A proper scale to build from.
- My years of experience in designing and building projects.
- My years as a professional Gardener
- My understanding of people and personal understanding of the particular homeowner I am designing for.
- My 5 years of University education in Landscape Architecture.
- My background of art and nature studies both before and after my years of university.

Is it that simple once you read all of that? To some, yes, to others... well... they would not have a clue as to what I just listed were things that needed to be looked at when designing. Designing a space takes time, it takes well thought out ideas and a foundation of knowledge acquired over many years. I started my first year of school in 1995.... as fresh and as green as a seedling first coming out of the ground. It took a lot of nurturing and care before that seedling was able to stand on it's own.

11 years have passed since I first learnt to properly use a scale bar or print a drawing up on a sheet greater then 8.5 x 11 in size. In that time I have learned to garden... professionally as well as personally. The fine art of pruning, planting, fertilizing and cultivating. Plant names and growing conditions....

As a labourer...

I have learned what it means to lay stone or interlock according to the lines I draw on paper. Dig holes for trees and shrubs to be planted in the spots where I marked them to be planted, or haul huge rocks around with either machinery or my bare hands according to where I spec them to be placed. I've also learnt the business of concrete!!! Pour it, cut it, finish it, wheel barrel it, or even break it for removal. You name it, I have done it as a labourer! ... I am finished with doing the labour... one could say I had enough of knowing what it is like to smell diesel fuel at 6 am or even 8 pm for that matter!

As a sales rep....

I've learnt pricing, salesmanship, client-professional relations, industry standards, contracting, legal issues and most importantly.... operating with morals and ethics.

What else can be said or looked at as a design professional? I've had the schooling and the practical experience for the past 11 years ... so what else could go into a design when drawn by me? Well, not much else except the years of experience yet to come...


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