January 10th, 2024
Existing Conditions Drawings in landscape architecture serve as a critical starting point for landscape designers and architects when planning and designing outdoor spaces. This process helps them understand the unique features of the space and how those features will influence the design and use of the property. Below are the key elements that are included in existing conditions drawings:
1.     Site Boundaries: Clearly outline the boundaries of the property.
2.     Property Lines, Fencing and Adjacent Properties: Clearly defined property lines, existing fences or walls and representation of neighboring properties and their relevant features. Consider neighboring structures and landscapes that may impact views.
3.     Utilities: Location of existing water, sewer, gas, and electricity lines as well as manholes and stormwater drains. Highlight any utility easements that may impact design.
4.     Structures, Landmarks and Water Features: Position and dimensions of existing buildings, structures and notable features like large rocks, monuments, or other landmarks. Identify existing bodies of water such as ponds, streams, or wetlands. Show drainage patterns and water movement across the site.
5.    Topography: Significant slopes are documented to better understand the placement of hardscape features like patios, retaining walls, pathways, and pools. Topo lines help gauge the amount of grading required to minimize expenses to the client. Topography lines can also help with drainage issues throughout the property.
6.     Hardscape Elements, Road and Access: Map existing paved areas, walkways, and patios and identify materials used in hardscape elements. Location of existing roads and pathways on and around the site as well as access points and driveways.
7.     Vegetation: Identification and location of trees, shrubs, and other significant plants. Recognize the size and health of the existing vegetation.
Photographic documentation is also a key element for Existing Conditions Drawings. Taking photos of the site from various angles and perspectives allows Landscape Architects to refer to the project for inspiration. These photographs also help Landscape Architects consider views from the surrounding landscape and features they want to highlight. Existing Conditions Drawings are crucial as they provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of a property and assist architects in making informed decisions during the planning and design phase of a project.