So translating design ideas into writing may not be as seamless for me as I expected … at least not if my goal is to convince someone that they desperately need my ideas over another designer. Those who have followed this blog before know that I’m taking a landscape design course. It’s a long sought goal for me to have a real piece of paper designating me certified as a landscape designer. Those new here can catch up with my previous posts.
The lesson was to develop a consultation questionnaire and write a site assessment proposal for a design re-do of a familiar property. The first part – a “Getting to know” questionnaire – is meant to entice the who, where, what, how, and when concerning any design or re-design. I dutifully developed this document – it ended up being three pages long - trying to factor in as many clues as I could conjure up that might tweak any future consultation I have with a prospective client. It covers the number of people residing or using the location in question; their likes, dislikes, and physical limitations; what is currently best and worst about the spot in question; and what they hoped to achieve. I’m happy to say it passed with no further suggestions from my instructor.
The site assessment proposal proved to be a little more challenging. Understand, for my day job I write synopses of medical research so that consumers better get the gist of the findings. In this venue, it’s important to provide enough information for readers to get the whole story … the who, what, when, where, why, and how. This is not, however, what one does when trying to get a client to pay for your design ideas.
My first attempt, though well written, gave away “all the specifics,” my instructor noted. I chose a narrow driveway entrance to a back lot. It has just 25 feet of street frontage and is the center of three driveways. It begins kind of non-descript then winds up into the woods for a few hundred feet before reaching the house (virtually unseen from the road). Instead of giving a broad overview of my ideas, I gave specifics – outlining pretty much all I would do to spruce up the narrow entrance and the more wooded sections farther along. In essence my first site assessment negated the reason for the client to have me draw up a design plan, as my instructor aptly pointed out. Hmmmm … not a very good business plan for someone who hopes to eventually be hired to offer her design ideas and plans.
So, I took the constructive criticism and reworked my report … not to have my grade amended, but to see if my second attempt better met the goal. It’s always a good learning experience for me to have the opportunity to take something I’ve created and have to incorporate the suggestions of someone more experienced than I. I learn best by doing and revising. My second attempt turned out much better … even garnered kudos from my instructor.
So now it’s on to the next lesson, an actual survey of an actual property. Since it’s winter, and this is the first time I’ve ever taken such extensive measurements and plotted out a property in a CAD program, I’m gonna go a little easy on myself and survey my own property. There will be plenty of opportunities for me to survey other locations farther on in the course. Wish me luck … I’m still a very green newbie with computer aided drafting. I may be offering a lot of home cooked meals to my civil engineer son – I’m not above bribing him to help his dear old mom master CAD.