Design Process

Here is a look at a backyard for a couple who does a lot of entertaining, and needs the appropriate space to do just that-entertain in a highly stylized way.


[Everything is new or different.]

The patio is extra large to accommodate a tent for larger more formal gatherings.

More on this job over the next week.

This black and white line drawing ws done for me, this is my creative process as I think my way through a space. how it will look, how it will feel.

From here I normally do some sort of color rendering to show the client. This job was a little different, there were already a lot of color renderings showing different area’s of the property.
So . . . I threw in a couple line drawings along with a lot of color renderings.  Just to keep things “a little different”.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. I like the flowing feel of this setting.

    The area seems to be private enough for an intimate feel yet expansive enough for larger gatherings.

    I would like to talk with you about your proposed pergola.

    I have some questions for you about a few things, Let me put my sketches together for you.

  2. Rick,
    Nice spatial divide. Looks like fairly formal setting with an informal, naturalistic walk. From your drawing, looks like about 1/3 patio, 2/3 green space contained within the architectural structures. Could that be the Golden Mean? Dude! Excellent!,

    Yes, yes it is . . . excellent . . .

    if I may quote Bill and Ted. Liking the brick wall. Is that the one with all the detail?

    Yes it is the one . . .

    What’s on the other side of it?

    As little as possible-we are blowing the budget to Pluto . . . Pluto-Pluto is Pluto still there? Even if Pluto isn’t a planet is it still there? Anyway budget has been blown to Pluto! . . .

    I know, I’m a pain in the grass.

    Yes, yes you are . . .

    I’m sure you’re not finished with the process, but my eye keeps putting a large tree off the corner of the patio so I don’t have to look at all the buildings at once. You know, soften things up a bit.

    Soften thing up?!? Soften thing up . . . no way. BEsides I need room for a tent 60’xsomething(I forget)-need the space . . .

    But hey, I’m just a guy with a shovel.

    Yes, yes you are . . . but it’s a mighty fine shovel. We need to come up with an itinerary for the wall workshop.

  3. I think your drawing is wonderful. I wish I lived in the same area as you. This comment maybe is not what you expected. But I found your site is very interesting, and I will recommend it to all of my friends.
    I am just wondering what the landscape designer will need to start the design.

    A good designer needs information. Information from you the client, and information from the site. The designer also need the information of what is available to be used-that’s where experience comes in. Tell the designer everything you want now, and all your hopes and dreams for the future so the space can be designed accordingly.

    I am interested in hiring a landscape architect. We brought a Spanish looking house last fall, and it sits on an acre. I know that the designer would like to know the client’s interest, but what other information or he or she need to know as well? For example the site survey, the topology of the site and utility lines, also we have septic system in the back yard.

    Yes all of those things will help. you need to find your septic, it may need work someday!

    The problems we don’t have this information. I wonder if we have to provide the info or design will obtain it and added to the bill?

    Find everything out about your property, not just for a designer, but for yourself. have a plat/site plan it will be in your closing papers. Fin that septic, find any other big lines. Know your easement and setback situation-these may/will come in handy someday.

    By the way, I have called several designers, and they all booked till fall.

    Everybody is booked until the fall . . . didn’t you folks out there get the message from the media that the U.S. economy is in shambles? The fall? Wow . . . maybe I need to move.

    So I have to wait a little bit.
    We live in east of Seattle.
    Thank you
    I definitely will check your site back.

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