DRAWING IN YOUR SNOW
- Taking time over the drawing phase of your landscape making journey, whether in snow, on sand, lawn or paper, will strongly influence the quality of the choices you will ultimately make in the design of the things for your landscape.
- Drawing in snow is a pleasant way to get thoughts going for your future projects. The great thing about snow as a medium is that it comes right to your house and presents you with a full clean canvas, allowing you to draw everywhere within your connected landscape, at full scale and all at the same time.
- As you wander through the snow and mark the outlines of shapes that you are thinking about creating, you will be exploring the tangible ‘footprints’ of your future built projects, planted beds and the paths to such things.
- Once drawn out roughly, you can physically experience the relationships of all the landscape elements. Walk everything to see how the flow and the relational shaping feels, from all directions, adjusting your imprinted lines until you are pleased with form, flow and linkage of all the parts of your place.
- Play with slow curves, fast curves, driveway apron curves, deck configurations, or anything you like. Site wall beginning and ending points, table and chair locations. You are searching for pleasing spatial relationships both functionally and esthetically. These will endure when the projects come to life.
- Now you can check the views of your evolving outlines from elsewhere, indoors and out. Try to avoid random footprints as best as you can until your intended shapes are done, but if the process gets messy, there will likely be a next snow for a new clean canvas. you will have more chances to try various things to find some ideal solutions if you start with the early light snows, This process can be one of the upsides of the snowy season.
- With a tape measure in your pocket, when you come to some conclusions you can give yourself some coordinates for key relational points to roughly record what your winter thought process has concluded.
Even without much in the way of recorded measurements though, you will have learned alot from your experience with the snow lines, and the thoughts they engendered.
- By Spring you will perhaps have developed some ideas of what you may want, consulting your memory and measurement notes. Once the ground is green or brown again you can be laying things out in an exploratory way using some braided line, marking sprays and stakes.
Invariably there will be new or preeminent considerations which come to the fore as your organic things reawaken, become fully three dimensional and your active outdoor life begins again. Add these thoughts into the mix and keep thinking.
- While having carefully considered your range of choices before beginning your projects, you may find that you want to adjust and fine tune your compositions right up to and even during the time of building. That’s fine.
Leaving details as flexible as possible until it is necessary to finalise them usually leads to the best custom work with natural materials, if you can continue to pay close attention all along the way.
“If the designer is forced by complications to figure things out on paper, the final result will be better if the plan is then memorized and hidden, and the work laid out on the ground with the help of stakes and string”
………………………………………………………………….Fletcher Steele Gardens and People
1] 5/8” braided marine or arborist’s line is my favorite, in 30’ lengths or so. Tosses well and can be fine tuned in its shaping.
Cans of invertible white chalk or waterbase spray ‘paint’ are my usual choice for marking grass or earth but not for masonry or stone. These wash out of the greens after a couple of weeks , so re-mark as needed so you don’t lose your carefully thought out lines before the work begins. If you arrange to mark after the grass is just cut, the marks will last better.
( Based on my articles ‘The Quiet Season’ and ‘Landscape Design in Snow’)
DRAWING ON THE BEACH
- If it happens to be a warm season instead of winter, and you can get to a suitably sandy beach, you can try out alot of your ideas with just your feet and hands and perhaps a ‘pencil’ of driftwood or shell.
- Drawing in the sand in a reduced scale can help you think about shapes, curves, intersects and relationships of things experientially. If – Then propositions are easy to experiment with in the forgiving sand.
- Contemplating the curves made by the lapping waters of lake or ocean can inform your thinking about naturalistic forms that may be beautifully incorporated into features of your own place.
- Since you can’t take the beach to your house, it is only a conceptual exercise, but it can be very helpful. You may want to find a time when there are no other people on the beach, as they probably won’t understand what in the world you are doing and it is a nuisance to have to explain and lose your pleasant concentration. If the sand is just moist enough, your lines seem especially beautiful, so try for the time of an outgoing tide.
“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake”
All written and visual materials on this site are Copyrighted. (C) Ellen Cool 2010