It’s often difficult to envision what a 2D landscape plan will actually look like in the built environment. 3D modeling is a handy tool in the world of design to help our clients envision the true sense of place and we’ve found a great program to aid us in this endeavor. SketchUp is a 3D modeling program that, unlike many of its competitors, is simple to use and easily self-taught. One of the best features is that a free version is available for download through their website [www.sketchup.google.com] making it widely available – always a plus when trying to coordinate with clients, contractors, etc.
We have been able to utilize this product in many facets of our work. Frequently the only tool we have to present a design is a rendered plan; though very useful, sometimes plans can be difficult to read, or more so, difficult to interpret how it will look in real life. This is where SketchUp comes into play. We can build a 3D model of our design to show the clients exactly how a design will look in reality.
Once the base model has been created we can then work out design details, such as material selections, furniture design and placement, planting design and selections, in the model. For example, if a client is torn between two materials for a certain area, we can easily import these materials into the model for a side by side comparison, greatly simplifying the selection process.
We have also been able to use SketchUp to work out the mechanics of certain design elements. In one such instance, we were designing a fountain and having a difficult time detailing exactly how all the elements would work together. We decided to model it in SketchUp and were then able to work out the fine details in a 3D environment, much more cohesive with real life.
All-in-all, we have found SketchUp to be a highly beneficial tool in the visualization and evolution of our designs in the built environment.
Written by Amanda Jaloway
Amanda designs and prepares most of our 3D renderings on Kudela & Weinheimers’ projects. Having 3D renderings is a valuable tool for helping our clients experience their space before it’s built.