During preliminary design, the initial plan studies should be developed as tracing paper overlays on top of the best alternative functional diagram so that the organization of this earlier step can be carried directly into the preliminary design. Later, as the preliminary design evolves, the functional diagram may be set aside. In some cases, the initial layout of the functional diagram may be altered during preliminary design because the designer is now looking at the design in a more complete and detailed fashion. For example, a space designated for planting may have to be enlarged to accommodate the size and number of plants that are to be placed in the area. Or the proportion and/or configuration of a space may need to be revised to make it more visually attractive. The designer seldom considers any portion or phase of the design to be sacred or outside the possibility of improvement during preliminary design.
As during the development of the functional diagrams, preliminary design ideas are drawn freehand with a soft pencil on tracing paper. Drafting equipment should be set aside because these instruments only get in the way of the quick and spontaneous thinking desirable during preliminary design. For beginners, there is often a great temptation to use drafting equipment at this point, owing to the belief that the drawing will look neater and more professional. This is generally not true. As seen in Figure 9—1, a preliminary plan drawing can be clearly legible and professional looking even when drawn freehand.
The preliminary design, as mentioned before, should graphically show all the elements of the design solution in a semirealistic manner. This graphic style is sometimes referred to as being illustrative because it attempts to illustrate the appearance of the design elements. To do this, the designer should rely on fundamental principles of drawing such as line weight variation, value contrast, use of textures to describe the appearance of materials, and use of shadows to accentuate the third dimension in the drawing. Usually, a preliminary design plan should show the following to scale:
A. Property lines and adjoining street(s).
B. Outside walls, including doors and windows, of the house. Although it is desirable to have a scaled floor plan of the interior of the house, this is not necessary. However, it is recommended to at least label where the various rooms are within the house.
C. All elements of the design drawn and illustrated with the proper symbols and textures including:
1. pavement materials.
2. walls, fences, steps, overhead structures, and other structures.
3. plant materials. Trees should be drawn as individual plants, whereas shrubs should be shown in masses.
4. water fountains, pools, and so on.
5. furniture, potted plants, and so on.
In addition, the preliminary design plan should identify the following with notes or a legend on the drawing:
1. Major use areas such as outside entry foyer, entertaining area, eating area, lawn, and garden.
2. Materials for pavements and other structures (walls, steps, overhead trellises, etc.).
3. Plant materials by general types and sizes (deciduous shade tree, 20-foot – high coniferous evergreen tree, 6-foot-high broad-leaved evergreen shrubs, and so on).
4. Major elevation changes on the ground plane by the use of contours and spot grades.
5. Other notes that help describe the design to the clients.
6. North arrow and scale.