Category Archives: drawing by hand

Why do we sketch by hand?

Is it surprising to learn that with so much sophisticated software available at our fingertips, some landscape architects still prefer to sketch their initial thoughts by hand!  With many powerful software packages available, isn’t sketching, perhaps, a little old-fashioned? After all, many people are proud to proclaim that that they rarely handwrite anything, let alone draw.

Well, fashions come and go but we believe at Liz Lake Associates that sketching is a vital and inspiring step in the design process. This is particularly true during the early stages, as it helps us develop and clarify our own understanding of the project.

When we begin working with clients, we will visit the site under discussion and will thoroughly explore the landscape context. We will take in every aspect – evaluating the views, both in and out of site, the geology, the climate, even when and where the sun sets to maximise the site setting.  Sketching at this stage informs our masterplanning process, helping us to create a holistic design that aesthetically and functionally is in harmony with the surrounding environment.

Take a look at some of our sketches. They vary, of course, there is no one style of sketch. Some will be drawn quickly, produced with a pen and a dash of inspiration.

William Guy Gardens

William Guy Gardens, Bow for LLDC

Others will use colour and show more detail.

Ponds Manor, Clavering

Ponds Manor, Clavering


Residential Central Open Space for St Modwen Homes

Barnsbury Complex

Barnsbury Complex for Mount Anvil


The Galleries, Brentwood

The Galleries for City & Country

However simple or detailed, they are not the end solution, nor are they art, but they do help us to capture and communicate an idea or a vision of what we want to achieve. Ultimately they could be discarded, superseded, put on a file or even displayed by the client at the end of the project. They certainly capture a moment in time.

If an idea comes to into your mind, you may jot it down, either on paper on onto a laptop, tablet or even a phone. It is the same with our sketches. They are our thoughts made real, to develop, polish and enhance at a later stage of the process.

We will be returning to this subject in future posts.