Landscape Site Grading Principles embodies a new approach for teaching site grading for designers who think and learn visually. Knowledge and skill in site grading are essential areas of service for landscape architects and allied design professionals. Demonstration of competency in site grading is a significant component in the test for obtaining professional licensure to practice landscape architecture.
Site grading plans must not only solve practical requirements and meet various governmental standards but also create landforms that contribute to the aesthetic ambition of the overall landscape site and architectural design concepts. Landscape Site Grading Principles will provide students with the necessary background, knowledge, and problem-solving skill set to develop landscape-grading plans that meet standards of care related to meeting public health, safety, and welfare design standards.
The predominant site grading textbooks used in site grading courses take an engineering approach. Landscape Site Grading Principles teaches grading principles through visual means to better meet the needs of the visual learner. It provides a hands-on approach to allow students to better understand grading principles. This is accomplished by integrating text with illustrative diagrams and actual examples photographed in the everyday landscape. Finding a more effective approach to teaching site grading has been a goal of mine. I have found that students seem to better grasp grading concepts when I utilize a more hands-on approach.
For example, I have taken blackboard chalk out with me on campus walks with students to draw hypothetical contours and spot elevations on the ground, walls, and other surfaces. I find doing this helps students visualize what they have struggled to visualize reading existing textbooks. I have also used PowerPoint presentations, but this method, while visual, does not necessarily help students visualize how to apply my description of the images on the screen to manipulating the site contours and making the required spot elevation calculations for their assignments.
While most students view grading and other technology-related courses as something other than design, in fact grading is just as much a design subject, and just as visual, as any other aspect of landscape design. Although landscape grading does involve a certain amount of computation, many students do not readily “see” what they are creating from calculating spot elevations and reconfigured contours.
With the publication of Landscape Site Grading Principles, faculty will be able to help students more readily visualize grading concepts and solutions and become successful at solving site grading problems while creating aesthetic solutions. Site grading education continuously evolves, and curricula change, reflecting the changing nature of the design professions and the nature of professional practice. Site grading is typically taught as a stand-alone course in a landscape architecture and architecture curriculum technical stream.
Download Landscape Site Grading Principles Grading with Design in Mind By Bruce G. Sharky easily in PDF format for free.