It is suggested that each noteworthy tree, shrub, or mass of plants be located even if there is no final determination about whether or not they will be incorporated into the proposed design. As with other site elements, existing trees and plants should be sketched on paper and identified with a special notation. For instance, the principal trees that are to remain on the Duncan site are labeled T1 through T9 (Figure 6—38). A shrub or shrub mass can be noted as S1, S2, and so on.
Plantings near the house walls can be easily located with the baseline or direct measuring system, whereas shrubs located elsewhere on the site can be positioned with triangulation. Trees are the most time consuming to locate and require five separate measurements. First, locate the center of the tree by triangulation. Because the end of the tape measure cannot actually be placed at the very center of the tree, the tape should be held on the side of the tree trunk in line with the tree’s center (Figure 6—34).
Example of locating a tree in relation to house corners.
Second, measure the diameter of the tree trunk by holding the tape measure near the tree (Figure 6-35).
Third, calculate the distance between ground and the bottom of the tree canopy. This height can be estimated by relating it to the known height of another person (Figure 6-36).
Fourth, estimate the spread of the tree canopy by noting the drip line on the ground on opposite sides of the tree, and then measuring it with the tape measure (Figure 6-37).
Finally, estimate the total height of the tree by relating it to the known height of an assistant as suggested earlier for the height of the telephone pole.
Photographing the Site
It is highly recommended that the site be thoroughly photographed with a digital camera when visiting the site to take measurements. Photographs can also be taken during the process of site inventory if that occurs at another time. As previously suggested, it is sometimes more efficient to combine site measuring and site inventory in the same site visit to save time. Whenever photographs are taken, they can serve a number of purposes as discussed more thoroughly in the next chapter.