Vectorworks (Landmark) has been a constant throughout my working life and is central to my workflow as a landscape designer. I started using Vectorworks 20 years ago and back then, it was more akin to graphical-drafting software. Over the time, the capability of the program has developed and I’ve always tried to keep pace with the evolution to help grow my business.
What does Vectorworks do?
Vectorworks, is an advanced software solution that enables object scheduling and interactive reports. This means that when drawing an object (a line for example) it can be assigned a Data Record. These can be used to describe the material, fixing method, item dimensions and any other attributes necessary. Object or objects with Data Records can be summarised in Spreadsheets, which update in real time to reflect any changes to the design as they occur. When working on large projects CAD is therefore vital to maintain accuracy.
How is it used in the office?
For pretty much everything! Vectorworks is used throughout the design process. We use it for both 2D and 3D design allowing us to draw, explore and develop ideas from all angles.
Topographical information is imported into Vectorworks and scaled. This forms the base of all subsequent work.
Nowadays we tend to transfer the survey data onto the iPad to sketch out our preliminary ideas - it saves printing costs and avoids having to use tracing paper.
Once the general layout has been roughly agreed then the concept is brought back into Vectorworks so it can be redrafted with more precision.
At this point we may start to work in 2D and 3D to test the concept works in relation to the site levels and to get a better understanding of the proposed landscape by flying around the 3D model. Generally, we export our Vectorworks 3D work into SketchUp (new blog post coming soon) which is more fun and a faster tool to delve deeper into the concept design.
Vectorworks is also great for technical work.
For planting plans, Vectorworks has a library of species that can be selected and dropped into the plan. Each new plant is counted and displayed on a spreadsheet which is very useful for large gardens and commercial-scale developments. Additional information such as size, spacing, cost and maintenance can be attached to the plant symbol which clearly saves a lot of time if you use the same plants on different projects.
Hardscape specification is equally clever. We attach Data Records to surfaces, objects and edges. This means that all items are documented at the point of creation rather than leaving unknowns in the design.