Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Garden Design Tips 4 - Surveying Using Offets

In a previous post I described how to use a surveying technique called triangulation to measure garden boundaries and locate accurately other garden elements.  Offsets are another simple, effective way of measuring boundaries, locating borders, structures and other important points within the garden.  They are particularly good for measuring curves.  

Secure a long tape to a known or measured point on the house wall with a tent peg or a screwdriver.  You can use another fixed point if the house is not convenient, but the house is always best as it is composed of straight lines and regular angles.  

Walk with the tape to the end of the garden, unreeling as you go.  Ensure the tape is at a 90° angle to the house. Make sure the tape is flat to the ground and peg it down securely so that it is straight and as taut as possible.  You can buy a special metal square to get the angle right, but a square piece of cardboard or wood will work just as well.  

Take measurements at a 90° angle to the tape at regular intervals and to all relevant features.  Using a rigid metal tape makes it easier to ensure you are measuring at a 90° angle to the tape.  Mark these measurements clearly on the sketch survey.  If the survey becomes too cluttered plot individual features on separate sheets.  Label everything, including any separate sheets clearly to ensure you can translate them onto the finished plan when you draw it up at home.  

Example of measuring boundaries using offsets


Example of measuring a curve using offsets

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