D2 Process


The Design Process


Lorien Hall

Inchbald School of Design

January 27, 2014

The unfolding landscape reveals itself as I move over sweeping terraces, steps and lawn; down pathways and into fields and meadow I wander.

I am approached by a feeling of wonder and even grandeur, yet this space is so intimate and familiar.

As I walk and pause, and walk and pause, I realize I have come to a garden of gratitude and abundance, where the sowing and growing season is rewarded with a bountiful harvest of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers and even water.

Like rain feeding the earth, concentric circles ripple outwards, reminding us of the blessings of the harvest, whether through a maturing landscape or good deeds accomplished; a celebration of a life well-lived.

Vistas within and without are emphasized and discovered, that of sculpture or a church steeple. Spaces exist for gathering, dining, and laughing, but also for the private conversation - close to the security of the home, or out in the nether reaches where the mind is not bound by the mundane tasks of the everyday.

D2: The Design Process


  • Site Visit to the Jones Residence

  • Site Inventory/Analysis & Notes

  • Exploring Curves

  • Mood Board

  • 3 Concept Plans: Grid, Circular, Trid

  • Master Plan Development: Circular

  • Planting Plan

  • 3D Drawings/Model

  • Final Master Plan

Site Visit to the Jones Residence

From the beginning I was excited about the potential of the Jones' landscape. The dilapidated and somewhat helpless state it was in somehow made it endearing. And as I mulled around the property in body and thought, I was enchanted by the nuances that made this place unique.

Perhaps the highlight of the visit was the piece of property not yet owned. I hesitated at first, but then climbed over the barbwire fence (in a skirt no less) and explored the space which seemed unused for years as it was full of stinging nettle. It was an escape and enclosed from the surrounding properties. One felt removed and a world apart and I think that is so because of the rawness and wildness I felt. All of this was brought to a climax when in the distance, over the tops of the trees in the far end of field, one sees a church steeple. It was indeed a delightful discovery and became an important part of the design process.

Two decisions I made that day on-sight were 1) I wanted to maintain the ditch, and 2) I wanted to work the mysterious stone “relic” into the design.

Also, I had an idea of the feelings I wanted to maintain, enhance and in some instances, create. But other than that – I had no idea where everything would head. And that's the adventure of it all.

Site Inventory/Analysis & Notes

I had a copy of the survey on an A3 paper with me the day we went to site. I wrote down several observations which I made on my own on the front side and wrote out a program list of sorts or things I heard from Caroline Jones on the backside.

I think it's good to write down first impressions and first experiences when getting to know a site. Everything is new and raw and your impressions seem to be more of a knee-jerk reaction, for better or for worse. I did refer to my notes afterwards, but maybe not as much as I would have liked to.

Once back in studio I continued making notes and observations on various copies of the survey – dealing with the site itself and with some core design ideas that worked themselves into the concepts and even into the final design. It's nice to see that thoughts I had from day one are now the backbone of the final design.

Exploring Curves

I enjoyed this day in studio even though I remember being in a very nonchalant mood. I moved through my curve studies quickly and effortlessly. I didn't want to think, and I didn't want to over-analyze. So I didn't.

And even though I didn't use the curve studies in my final design, it was still a useful exercise which may come into play in the future.

Mood Board

A mood board was not required for this project. But after having experienced working with one on D1 and feeling that it had a major influence on the outcome and success of D1, I decided to go ahead and create one for D2. Though I didn't do this immediately.

After a few days of feeling uninspired and a bit directionless in studio, I saw Robert put his mood board up on his wall – I quickly followed suit. And I am glad that I did. It was something that I could refer to when I was at a crossroads or a point of designers-block.

I think for me, always including a mood board into my design process will be very important. I am a highly visual person and the images I gather helps to keep me centered on my initial vision.

3 Concept Plans: Grid, Circular, Trid

Once the process of developing the three systems or concepts (grid, circular, trid) was complete, I was very pleased with how they each turned out. During the process I wasn't so convinced and was stubborn for a few days in studio about what level I was and wasn't going to take my designs to.

In the end, and with encouragement from Marcus, I relinquished and pushed my concepts further than originally planned and was extremely grateful that I had (they were still pretty basic). I found each of them to be exciting designs with great potential and would have been (mostly) pleased to further develop any of the three.

Though I felt that the grid concept was more true to the architecture and style of the house, I was curious to see where the circular one (the selected one) would take me and what I could discover in those spaces as I developed and resolved each area of the design further and further.

It was great to see the landscape come alive in several different directions.


My inspiration for the grid concept is two fold: 1) lines pulled from the house, doors and windows to create a grid, and 2) the shape of the eyebrow over the doorways. Combining those two elements resulted in some really fantastic spaces around the house which were echoed further out into the landscape.

I felt that this grid was true to the house in many ways. It was simple and straightforward, but still interesting. At one point I hoped it would be chosen because I also felt that it would be the easiest to finish developing and I was tired. Not tired of D2, just tired.

A favourite aspect of the grid concept was the water feature out in the middle of nowhere in the new area of the property – I also loved how the shed and greenhouse mirrored each other, as well as the several axis woven into the design.


It was on a Thursday and Andrew was giving a lecture about curves and something about concentric circles in design. I raised the thought of concentric circles echoing out in the golden ratio. He said, “that's what you're going to do in studio.” (something similar anyway) – well I think he may have forgotten, but I hadn't. So when it came time to do my curvilinear concept I carried the idea of concentric circles radiating out in accordance with the golden ratio.

I took my first measurement from the part of the house which I wanted to emphasize and made that the diameter of the first circle. I placed these circles around very important trees, the center of the home itself, and a key point near the back of the property. I then created a grid of sorts by drawings out the concentric circles around these points whose diameter was created by multiplying the original circle's diameter by the golden ratio (1.618). Combining this grid with my initial thoughts of views, vistas and corridors...resulted in the original concept for the circular or curvilinear design.

It was fascinating to watch this space create itself. And again, I had to push it a level further than I originally had planned on, and I am very grateful that I did.


I am too tired to deal with trid right now. I have a major headache. I will just say that I was the most reluctant and the least enthusiastic about this concept until I worked it out. Then I ended up loving it – but more for itself rather than for the site.


Master Plan Development: Circular

The concept based off of the concentric circles was selected to move on to the final stage and become my design for the Jone's landscape. As strong as the initial concept was, there were a lot of holes and weak areas as well that had to be resolved. First off, the areas immediately around the house had to be addressed – pushing and pulling – pushing and pulling. My breakthrough with this area came when Andrew told me to put down my mechanical pencil and pick up a regular pencil. That shift seemed to free my mind and even though I still had to go through several edits before the area came to an acceptable resolution, it was resolved in a wonderful way.

From there I tackled each area individually – the greenhouse and it's garden, the area around the existing relic, the way the shed sits with the orchard..figuring it all out bit by bit. And even though the resolving phase took a lot of time and put be back in the schedule, well – the areas had to be resolved and I knew it when I had it and couldn't be satisfied until everything felt at home.

Planting Plan

The planting plan took me a while to sink my teeth into. For some reason I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I think that is because I was focusing on such a small and specific area without addressing the planting scheme for the landscape as a whole first. I think if I had created a well developed overall plant palette for the entire landscape, zooming in on a little space and defining species would have been easier. But that's just one aspect of the planting plan. I think a major reason for developing the plan was practising the technical side of a planting plan and not so much the aesthetic side, I could be mistaken.

So now on to the technical. If I were to do it again I would do it differently. I would not have free-handed my design, but would have used a straight-edge and a circle template so that it would have combined with my master plan graphics better. But sometimes you can't know and realize these things until you have finished going the other route.

3D Drawings/Model

This obviously has not happen. Yet.

I took photographs of my 2D drawing at an angle then printed them out so I could create a 3D drawing off of those photos. It was hard to see my photographs through the trace paper so I taped them to a window upstairs creating a light table of sorts.

I can't say I gave it diligent effort in trying to create 3D drawings off of these photographs, but not too far into it, I could tell it was going to be difficult and unconvincing. Creating 3D drawings off of a sketch model seemed to be working well for others in studio so I thought I would go that route.

That decision turned into going the finished model route. And not ever having made a real model, time was spent researching how and what and who, etc. So no model has been created yet! But it is coming.

Final Master Plan

Today my main focus was deciding how I would render my plan. D1 was with colored pencil, and while that was a great exploration I knew the same techniques weren't right for D2. And while D1 turned out great, I don't feel like it quite reached the very depths of me and pulled something out.

But I believe that this afternoon that happened. And it made for a good way to end a school week.

I have these certain markers from the States (I decided to go with Chartpak) which create fumes (mmm, fumes) and fill any studio with said fumes. And while my classmates enjoyed them for the first 10 or 20 minutes, it was apparent that I would need to relocate to finish working and experimenting with my plan. I went to the lecture room, but not long after I settled down I was relocated again as a meeting was about to take place. I found the "storage" room - filled with files, drawings, projects and a table to spare. Perfect. (I think that being isolated was the key to my success with this rendering).

At one point I became frustrated with the direction the rendering was going and the markers were bleeding out on the paper, which initially bothered me, but ended being an asset after Claire pointed out the benefit of such a look. Anyway, I initially wanted something monochromatic, sophisticated, elegant. But what was resulting in front of me was something bland. And it was bothering me. So once I was by myself is the unused studio - I started adding color. Whatever color I wanted - wherever I wanted - nevermind that I was coloring the grass blue and grey and yellow. It did take me a few seconds to feel okay about this, but inside I was thinking, "But this is what I want to do. This is what I feel." And so I went for it.

For years I have been wrestling with my personal rendering style as a landscape designer. I have been having a hard time finding "my look" - something that connects to my very center. I have wanted my designs to feel more expressive and painterly...rather than a literal interpretation of a landscape. Rendering the grass green and the stones grey is not a poor choice...but I have been wanting to try something a bit different. And I have been wanting to try something different for at least 5 or 6 years and it paid off!

I hope to use the techniques I used for D2 again and again. It feels very “me” and I am more found and settled as a “designer”.