Landscape Exercise 02 – Existing Plants

Landscape Exercise 02 – Existing Plants

  1. Open the previous file that you drew, My Site Plan 01

We will now start to use the landscape specific commands. Let’s identify, resize and label the existing trees.

  1. In the Top view, zoom in to the rear garden so you can easily see the four existing tree circles.
  2. Select the Vegetation-existing Style Set from the list
  3. Select Options, Component and set the weight, colour and style to Original. Leave the Layer option unchecked as shown so the inserted plants end up on the current layer. OK.
  4. Select the Insert existing plant icon and wait for the dialog to appear.

The first time you use any of the landscape commands there will be a short delay as all 2000+ plants in the database are loaded into the system from the Excel file.

The dialog will look like this.


  1. Scroll though the existing plants in the list and select the symbol you would like to represent an existing tree. Here we have chosen number 39.
  2. You can insert either a Component/Figure or Image file. Choose Component/Figure.
  3. We are going to replace the plain circles in our drawing with actual plant Components, so select the Replace button and then select each of the circles in the drawing; they’ll be replaced by the selected Component.
  4. To label and size them correctly select the Label Existing Plant icon, then set each field in the dialog as shown.
  5. Now select the upper left tree in the drawing. The label ‘T1’ should appear at your cursor.
  6. Move the text near the center of the tree and click. The text label will be inserted and the tree Component will be resized to the value you entered in the ‘Spread’ field of the dialog box.

The dialog box will immediate reappear ready for you to complete the details for the next plant.

  1. Enter the following details for the remaining 3 trees. Working from the top right tree down.


  1. To include an existing plant schedule into your layout, switch to the Layout view (or create one and call it Existing Site Plan Layout if you didn’t start with a template) and select the Existing Plant Schedule
  2. Complete the dialog box as shown and click, OK.
  3. Look at the prompt. Locate a position on your Layout where the top left corner of the schedule should be. You don’t have to be too accurate as you can always move the schedule.
  4. Oops! You probably forgot to insert the schedule using the appropriate Style Set, so select the schedule using a selection box and then select the ‘Text’ Style Set to change the colour, layer, style and weight of the schedule. Or select the ‘Text’ Style Set first, then reselect the Existing plant schedule tool and reinsert the schedule. You don’t have to delete the current schedule because the software will do this for you, so long as you haven’t placed it on a different layer.
  5. Remember tree T4 is to be removed. You should indicate this by setting the line style for that tree to a dashed line. The tree is drawn in the Top View and so you’ll need to switch to the Top view to make the change.
  6. It is also a good idea to create a new layer named ‘Trees to be removed’ and place the tree on that layer so we can switch it off later.
  7. Update your file using File, Save.

Concept Plans

The first two icon commands in the menu refer to ‘Concept Plants’. The idea behind concept plants is that these are plant types you would place in a concept plan at the very early stage of the design process, before you’ve chosen the actual species of plants to use. The selection you choose typically refers to the purpose of the plant and is labeled accordingly.

Concept drawings are created to ‘flesh out’ the overall theme and ideas of your design, taking into account the various uses of the space, the prevailing wind, soil and neighboring influences. Concept plans are mostly used to present ideas to clients and to gain acceptance or feedback. In Landscape Architects offices they are used to help co-ordinate the design process with Architects and Town Planners and to make sure that the landscape design is complimentary to the building design and purpose of the development.

Concept drawings may be quite artistic and highly stylized. They are usually the first drawings a Landscape Architect or Landscape Designer will produce and are typically based on an existing survey drawing. They form the foundation for planting plans, hardscape plans, lighting plans, irrigation plans and construction drawings.

Typical information that your concept plans will incorporate are:

  • new features such as paving, structures, lawns, garden beds and retaining walls
  • existing features such as structures and trees and hardscapes that you will be keeping and these MUST be clearly labeled as ‘existing’
  • new drainage and services such as electricity and water supply (in consultation with others)
  • ground slopes as a percentage or ratio value
  • datum markers and elevation markers for the terrain
  • height markers for steps and building elements such as decks, raised planters and pools.
  • traffic flow indicators showing the likely passage of people or vehicles
  • labeling of all new features and surfaces including materials and colour
  • names of key trees and a broad indication of the types of other plantings and their purpose
  • a north point and sun position
  • prevailing winds if relevant
  • lighting if it enhances the concepts being presented
  • special hardscape features and dominant focal points such as sculptures and play scapes.

Concept plans may also include photographs, 3D perspectives and elevations that help to communicate your design ideas to people who may not be able to comprehend plans easily.

Concept drawings will rarely include:

  • dimensions
  • window heights
  • irrelevant notes from the site survey
  • technical specifications
  • construction details
  • individual plant names other than specimen shrubs and significant trees
  • plant schedules
  • trees to be removed

Be sure you make it clear on your concept plan what is new and what is existing and what the end result will ultimately be like. This is not a plan about detail and it is very likely that this plan will be altered several times before the final design is agreed to.

Placing the concept plants and features on a set of unique dedicated layers will make it easy to later switch off specific information when not required, but still keep the survey data available for the next set of drawings. This is a key benefit of CAD – no redrawing.

If you choose to hand colour or use imaging software to create artistic effects with your drawing, be prepared to repeat the process if the design changes. If you use the inbuilt colouring and shading effects then changes will be far more rapid.

Advanced presentation techniques covered toward the end of this course can be deployed to make your drawings attractive and unique. You will be able to mix various computerized techniques with hand styled techniques to create your preferred look and feel.

Here are a few examples.



The examples above show a small level of the diversity that exists between various concept drawings. Take inspiration from artists and others whom you respect, and then develop your own style.