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Everything you need to know about using drones in landscaping

Mar 4, 2021 8:00:00 AM / by LandscapeHub

Drone usage goes way beyond the amateur flyer. In fact, drones have become a key tool for many industries. These applications include use in landscaping, so meet your new favorite piece of equipment. This one actually does the work for you.

Drone mapping has given landscape designers a new perspective. Drone mapping also saves time and money by streamlining surveying. It enables designers to deliver true-to-life plans so that clients can better conceptualize a project.

Using Drones for a Phased Design Plan

When you approach a new project, it’s like having a new canvas. The first thing you can do with your drone is to fly the site at around 150 feet. This gives you a clear overhead view.

At this stage, you can also use a drone to capture orbitals of any structures on the property. Then, use it for ground-level photos as well as measurements.

Drone Mapping Reduces Site Documentation Time

In a traditional survey, the time spent starts before ever visiting the site. First, there is the collection of documents and measurements of the site by hand. These measurements also have to take into consideration anything existing on the property.

Elevation points would also be taken so you would know the grade. All in all, most site surveys would take up to six hours and would require two people.

With a drone, you could easily do all these tasks in about an hour. Thus, you’d get back all those hours to focus on creating the design and whatever else is on your plate for the day.

Getting the Information from Your Drone

This part of using a drone is quick and simple. Most drones come equipped with software that has measurement tools, allowing the designer to transfer all the data, including elevation layers. It’s a simple transfer process then designers can get to work.

Creating an Image Trace

The next part of the process is creating a trace image of the landscape, which would outline any roads, structures, and existing landscape features. Without a drone, if a designer wanted to deliver this kind of image, satellite imagery from Google Earth would be required to then trace elements in AutoCAD.

However, those satellite images are often low resolution. These images may also be out of date. These factors make it more difficult to create something that’s accurate.

Developing the Contour Map

To address the topography of the site, a contour map is needed. If doing this traditionally, it would require hiring a land surveyor, which could take at least half — if not a full day — with additional costs incurred.

The drone capabilities eliminate the need for land surveying. The 3D model is imported from the drone, which is then used to develop the contour map. Again, the drone saves time and money.

Drone Models Help Designers Visualize Better

The detail provided by drone models is far superior to other options. Not only does it save time and money, it also gives landscape designers a more exact view of the existing space. It’s rather hard to have all the knowledge of a site with one visit without a drone.

Drone models offer the experience of being there. A better understanding of the canvas helps designers create a more thoughtful design that will work well on the site and meet the client's wants and needs. Moreover, these maps can include data about existing elements like trees.

Users can annotate the locations of the trees, the species, and size.

High-Quality Design Gives Clients a Real View

When you can present to clients a high-quality design with all the details, they will be able to visualize it without limitations. These 3D models have such a realistic view that it’s almost like being there. These are sure to impress any client and set them at ease as they'll be able to see exactly what they are getting.

Without drone mapping, the options to show clients would most likely be a diagrammatic rendering of the proposed design. This version pales in comparison to the drone model. When clients have a clear vision of what's to come, they'll be even more excited about the project and your hard work. 

Use Drones Post Project, Too

When you have finished a project, it’s a good idea for landscape designers to take a drone back to the site. There are two reasons why this is smart. The first is that you can take a nice panoramic video of the completed project that you could use on your website and/or YouTube page as a sample of your work.

Second, it might be advantageous to have the completed model, especially if you will continue to maintain the site for the client. These overhead views and models could help you better recommend a maintenance schedule.

Investing in Drones Make Sense

Drones for landscape designers will be an investment for your company. While you will spend quite a bit upfront, you should expect to see savings both in time and money in the long run. Further, the technology could help you serve clients better and attract new ones.

There are many different models on the market. Be sure to do your research before purchasing one. Look for drones that are specifically made for landscape applications.

If you enjoyed this post about drones in landscaping, be sure to read more from our blog, complete with tips and resources for landscape professionals.

Tags: Education


Written by LandscapeHub