There are two types of scales commonly used in drafting; which is kind of what a landscape designer does when he or she draws a landscape. I use the architect scale so this post is based on it. The engineer scale is similar in that it too is six sided so there can be six different scales on it used for measuring distance. But the engineer scale is broken down into multiples of ten based on the metric system and cannot be used with a normal ruler like the architect scale.
The architect scale is broken down into measurements most folks are familiar with and can easily work with. The measurements are based on a ruler. For instance, if you use a 1/8 inch scale you automatically know eight times 1/8 (8/1 x 1/8 =8/8 or 1 inch) equals one inch. Now let's translate those measurements into feet. One inch of distance on the drawing using the 1/8 scale can only be eight feet! Easy right? Something that measures 1.5 inches on the 1/8 scale would be 12 feet (1.5"/1/8=12)! You can figure it all out in your head or you can just use an architect scale and make life so much easier. The architect scale is already marked in 'feet' with all measurements figured out for you-minus the ruler increments. Sound complicated? It is not, trust me. The only part that might be complicated is reading the distance from right to left or left to right. I will explain a bit later in this post what I mean.
The other scales on the architect scale besides 1/8 are: 1/4, 1/2, 1, 1.5, 3, 3/4, 3/8, 3/16, 3/32, and a normal ruler (but please don't use your scale to measure on your drawing-that's what a ruler is for-according to my teacher:).
Architect scales can be purchased from any drawing or office supply store. Be sure the scale you pick up is marked 'architect' or you might wind up with an engineer scale and will have to work on the metric system in units of ten.
Just what do I mean you have to read right to left? We are all taught to read from left to right right? Well, in order to have so many scales on a six sided ruler, most of the edges of the scale have two scales. Take the 1/8 scale for example. This one does start at the left of the scale so you read it right to left. On the other side of the 1/8 scale is the 1/4 scale and it must be read right to left. It is really easy once you get used to it and realize how simple a principle the architect scale really is. Just be careful that you make sure each time you measure you are on the right scale as it can be easy to get confused and mix up the scale and you surely don't want to do that while drawing!
|From In the Garden|
Prior to learning about the architect scale I would use 1/4" graph paper to design gardens. It works, yes, but it is more difficult to count each of the little squares and there is not as much flexibility with designing the layout simply because the little squares you count are rigid, they do not move with your plants. With an architect scale you can move your plants anywhere and space them however you want without counting squares.
Another big deal with the architect scale (engineer too) is that you can easily determine the largest size scale for your project. You first have to know a few things. Let's use my design above as an example and I'll walk you through what I did. This is a house located in east Nashville (Wyoming Street). The owner wished for a full sized volleyball court, some privacy and an updated front foundation garden. I first measured the total lot size which turned out to be 170' x 60'. Since this was to be a complete landscape design I knew I'd be using a full sheet of vellum to draw the design upon. A full sheet measures 24" x 36". You can also use a half sheet (18" x 24"), or quarter sheet (12" x 18") vellum depending on your project and its size.
A full sheet sounds pretty big and it really is when you are talking of drawing on it, but you have to somehow fit your design on it along with a title block and border. I think a good landscape designer will have a standard sized title block and border on all his or her designs so I too have a standard sized border and title block. My title block and border take away approximately 3.5 inches from the bottom of a portrait drawn design (as in the case above) and approximately 1 inch all around the paper on the other three sides. Now my space for drawing the design is actually only 22" x 31". It is in this area that I must fit the complete lot if I am drawing a complete design.
Once I know the lot size, the amount of space I have to work with on my vellum, and the orientation of the drawing, I then take my scale and try to measure the 170' length and the 60' width into the area using the largest sized scale possible. In this case the largest scale I could draw and still get the whole design in along with a spot for the plant list was 1/8.
I now use 1/8 scale to draw and measure all design elements on my design. The house, trees, shrubs, paths, you name it, they all have measurements which must be depicted accurately in order for the design to work. Always use the same scale on your whole drawing. Different sized designs may require different scales but each design should be consistent with one scale. Due to the very large size of the last landscape design I posted on, I had to use a 3/32 scale-a very small scale in my humble opinion but it was the only scale where I could fit a 300 foot plus property on the vellum.
If you are thinking of drawing a garden for yourself (as most of us do at one time or another) I suggest you start with a piece of paper larger than standard sized letter paper. Perhaps an 11" x 16" or larger. You need not use vellum if you are drawing a design for yourself so don't worry about that. Now get your garden size, orient your paper, and pick your scale and get to drawing. If you wish for a professional design check out my website.
We'll talk more about landscape design at another time when I will explain what a title block and what should be included in it. But for now, if you draw garden or landscape designs recreationally and don't have an architect's scale-go get one and make life easy on yourself. And P.S. don't worry about the holiday weight, gardening season is very near. Can't you feel the days getting longer? Plants are budding and soon we'll all be back...
in the garden....
P.S. I have changed the dates of my standard postings as noted on my sidebar. Instead of publishing the Plant of the Month, Bloom Day, and Veggie Garden Update on certain dates, I've chosen to publish them on Wednesdays only as annotated so as to allow weekends to be free from blogging. This Wednesday will see the first 'Plant of the Month' for 2010. And yes-there are plants blooming here...in the garden!