Lines, and offsets and symbols, Oh My!

I’ve been following the yellow brick road through the AutoSketch forest, where apple tossing tree symbols and a wicked witch of the west (the instructions, not my instructor), cackling ‘You must follow these directions exactly, my little pretty!’ tried to thwart my progress to the Emerald City (completing the AutoSketch training module) and my meeting with the Wizard (completing the drawings for Lesson 3 of my landscape design course).  The good witch, Glinda, was right.  Ruby slippers did not let me down.  Yes, I had a slight setback – the witch’s flying monkeys swooped down and threw a slight hitch into my computer when I was installing the pdf writer necessary for converting the skf files of AutoSketch to pdf files.  But my trusty traveling companions– the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, that lovable Cowardly Lion, and of course Toto (I’ll leave my family members to guess who is who) – came to my rescue and let me be so I had time to complete lesson 3 before the hourglass ran out.  And in spite of the witch’s roadblocks, and the Professor/Wizard’s hot air balloon releasing into the stratosphere unexpectedly early, my ruby slippers brought that little bit of magic that allowed me to find my way back to Kansas … which, in my case, involved turning the page to lesson 4.

By now … if you are still reading and not aware of my journey to complete a landscape design course … I must have you completely confused, especially if you are not a Wizard of Oz aficionado.  So, in honor of the Tin Man, here’s my story.  A while back while I was chopping that tree … no wait, I was trudging my way through the steps needed for learning all the idiosyncrasies of AutoSketch, a computer aided drafting program suitable for landscape design … a sudden rainstorm hit that rusted me right here, axe in hand.  Sorry, I digress again.  While working my way through the ins and outs of creating single lines and polylines, circular and elliptical arcs, circles and ellipses and polygons; and using marker points, offsets, and trim and snap tools, the holidays hit.  I was frozen in time, part way through my lessons on how to apply lengths and angles to each drawing tool.  And in spite of my tuck-tuck here, snip-snip there, attempts to clean up my desk and clear my time to continue my lessons, none of my preening worked until January came along.  Finally freed from my rusted stance, the witch’s soldiers and evil deeds, and my lack of courage, I was able to move forward and continue on my journey.  I collected the brainpower, the heart, and the fortitude to complete the AutoSketch tutorial.  I’ve returned back to the other side of the rainbow to work on the rest of my lessons.

A friend who previously took the Anna Gresham Landscape Design course said working her way through some of the lessons felt like walking through concrete.  I must agree, but getting to the other side of the concrete jungle is a worthy effort.  Perhaps if I were a bit younger, say about 30 years, my brain would more easily digest what’s needed to master a CAD program.  Or maybe I’d be more likely to learn it faster if I could concentrate only on this, rather than having to work and handle all my other adult responsibilities.

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Don’t laugh, these are the end products of all my drudgery … drawing a square, a circle, a circle in a square, 3 triangles (one made of a bunch of concentric lines), an ellipse, and some more involved forms.  For each I had to learn, practice, and master enough of the CAD program to complete these exact renderings, and trust me, this is not an easy process for a busy, sometimes overloaded, aging brain.  My civil engineer son will definitely roll his eyes if he reads this post!

But enough.  What’s done is done.  The Wicked Witch has melted  – her lovely wickedness stopped by a seemingly simple splash of water.  I’ve completed the Epithet lesson, and now the first Autosketch lesson.  The next step of my journey involves creating a design brief questionnaire that will allow me to note down all the aspects of a property I might be asked to design.  The standard information includes the clients name, number in their family, expected uses of their yard and gardens, who does the maintenance and how much gardening work they might actually do, and various notes regarding the specifics of the area to be reworked and how the clients want to use their landscape.  I’m in the process of compiling my own questionnaire now.  Have any ideas?  If someone were to come into your garden, what would you want them to know about you, or your expectations, so they could design the outdoor area of your dreams … or at least a spot that fits your budget?

5 comments for “Lines, and offsets and symbols, Oh My!

  1. January 20, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I took a garden design course, last winter. We also had the same questionaire, I just used my self as the example. It was a very, very short course, and used graph paper for the design. I have thought of purchasing a computer design program, but you are scaring me! It sounds terribly difficult.

  2. joenesgarden
    January 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    It’s not easy, Deborah, but it is very doable. The instructions are extremely comprehensive and very clear. It just requires a fair amount of time. My point was not to scare anyone away, but to show that I might have been better off had I been able to set aside more time to focus on my lessons. I may not have ‘young’ brain cells, but my mature cells still work. Stretching them by learning a new computer program keeps me, and my brain, in good cognition.

  3. January 21, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Now close your eyes and click your heels and say ‘There’s no profession like landscape design, there’s no profession like landscape design, there’s no profession like landscape design’.

  4. joenesgarden
    January 21, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Debbie … I have! Thank goodness for those Ruby slippers.

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