3D Models, Rendering and Videos

If your aim is to invest in your garden significantly to ensure you have the gardens of your dreams, we strongly recommend that you get your landscape completed in 3D.  Think about that past house, kitchen or bathroom you had designed – did you see it in 3D first, was that useful to help you make changes to increase its functionality?  Do you wish you had seen it in 3D first?

I would argue that Gardens can be much tricker to design than internal spaces, as they are rarely sensible shapes with four square corners, and a perfect flat surface.  They also grow and change over the seasons and the years.  So the use of 3D design can be especially useful to get into those hidden alcoves, nooks and crannies and make your garden work for you in all areas as well as to illustrate what your landscape will look like in different seasons as well as how it will mature over time.
In the past, we used various 2D techniques to show colour, composition and processional potential of a project and perhaps also 3D sketches.  To create these amounted to hundreds of hours of work and as hourly rates increased, it was no longer feasible to do this.  While effective to a point, it became time consuming and more expensive than could be justified for the size of many projects to do this.  Changes will always be required due to Client preference and feedback, Cost Management Issues and Architect coordination. 

Over the last few years, various software enables designers to generate good, basic 3D renders through to almost photo realistic landscape renders.  The more realistic, the more time is taken and the greater the cost will be.  Basic renders and videos allow you to see your design and the associated area relationships and scale, but they may not depict accurately the plant material chosen.  More photo realistic renders will give you a great indication of materials and the look of the actual nominated plants.  The software is getting better all the time – quicker to use and with better catalogues of plants.  Our office no longer offers purely 2D drawings for more complex projects as you can not get the drawing coordination you require in todays builds that way.  Once we are documenting your project in 3D the rendering part of the projects becomes pretty cost effective and as the renders and video are created from the model, which also creates the detailed design documents, it realistically depicts the actual detailing of a project. 


Botanical Traditions Basic 3D Renders


Another key tool we can utilise when designing a project in 3D is an accurate understanding of the shade and shadows created within the site at different times of the year.  It is very common for Clients to tell us they have a very sunny garden or shady gardens, but when we look in nearmaps at different times of the year we find this is not the case and when we speak to our Clients we often find out that they only use their gardens in a particular season or time of day which has informed their impression and we then also take this pattern of use into consideration during the design stage.  We frequently cross check our model shade studies with nearmaps images and find they are very accurate. 

Recently, the cost of landscaping as increased substantially which means that spending the additional money during the design stage helps you understand the design which you will be getting as well as save you money during the construction phase by ensuring projects are as coordinated as possible.  Where all consultants are using the same model, the process becomes very powerful – you can check rootballs against service locations, Tree Protection zones and post locations, irrigation pipes, gas and electrical clearances etc. 


Botanical Traditions Basic 3D Renders


The Real Benefit of 3D Models, Rendering and Videos

The most important result from the Landscape Architecture profession completing digital visualization is how the Client develops an understanding of the design prior to the commencement of Construction.  In most cases our Clients are blown away when they see their landscape designs come to life on the screen,  during the Construction phase any renders, but especially those updated to show the Construction set of drawings become valuable to the Contractors on site to accurately interpret the design intent. 
Anyone can walk through a beautiful landscape and appreciate the art once it is Constructed, but most people don’t understand the work that goes into creating the design and then the Contractors role in building the design.  Showing these with the Client during the design process allows for greater collaboration and understanding.

There are several different options available to you when it comes to 3D design, depending on how in-depth you want your design to be, available budget and size of your garden space.


Above – Private School Master Plan Illustrating Actual Planting Design and Season



Above – Private School Master Plan by Botanical Traditions