Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Midden, Karen


AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF George J. Murphy, for the Master of Science degree in Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems, presented on April 3, 2009, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: COMPARING THE USE OF COMPUTER GENERATED AND HAND-DRAWN DESIGNS AMONGST LANDSCAPE DESIGNERS AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS MAJOR PROFESSOR: Karen Midden Landscape designers and landscape architects design landscapes in a way that integrates people and the outdoor environment in a manner beneficial to both. Traditionally, landscape designers/architects have produced their designs by hand. During the last twenty years a shift towards the use of computer aided design (CAD) software has occurred. It is unknown how many designers have made the transition and what their reasons for doing so are, as well as, why certain designers choose to hand-draw their designs. A survey was developed to 1) determine sample representation of professional, landscape designers and landscape architects using computer-aided design software as a design and communication tool, 2) determine sample representation of professionals, landscape designers and landscape architects using hand-drawn graphics as a design and communication tool and 3) evaluate why each has selected the design and communication tool of choice. Results indicate that overall the majority of landscape designers and landscape architects are creating their designs by hand. Specifically, more designers/architects from nearly every background and demographic category create their designs by hand, rather than by computer. There were three categories that did express a greater number of designers/architects that design primarily with computers 1) those whose projects are primarily non-residential, 2) those who are a part of a design department with greater than four employees and 3) those who primarily learned computer design in school. Landscape designers/architects who hand-draw their designs indicated "comfort level" as their most popular choice as to why they design by hand. Whereas, a majority of designers/architects who design with computers chose "save time" as their reason for using computers, rather than hand-drawing. However, when asked what is the average amount of time spent designing each project, the responses were nearly identical, thus using computers does not appear to save time. Results also indicate that a majority of computer designers produce some hand drawings prior to completing the final design on the computer. Whereas, very few designers/architects who hand-draw produce any computer generated drawings prior to finishing the final design by hand. Designers/architects who hand-draw and those who use computers produce the different types of drawings associated with the different stages of the design process in equal amounts, meaning that both types of designers/architects are still following the same design process. Dynascape, AutoCAD, and LandCAD are the more popular computer design programs being used by computer designers. A majority of the designers/architects who use these programs rated theirs as excellent, and a majority of these software programs also assist with cost estimation.




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