A basic sketch can save a lot of time

We have been designing the frameworks for garden room buildings for years, and have had several different workflows for doing this. With experience, though, we have found that making a basic sketch can save a huge amount of time when we start modelling a frame in SketchUp.

Like many people, we are keen to start seeing our vision take shape, and in the past we have opened up SketchUp and started modelling, only to find that we keep going back and forth to the calculator to work out spacings and deleting elements of our model because the measurements don’t stack up. This system really isn’t productive!

When we say basic, we mean basic

We found that spending 20 minutes before we start modelling can save us hours. When we say a basic sketch, we truly mean a basic sketch – this is the sketch we have done for a set of plans that we are working on.

It is very simple but gives us the basic information we need to speed up our modelling process. It shows us how many joists or studs will be in the frame and we have worked out the spacings between them.

A cross section helps too

With the sample plans that we publish on this site, we create designs that are going to fit within the Permitted Development rules. These rules have maximum heights attached to different shape garden rooms. You need to have these height allowances at the forefront of your mind from the get go when designing. To ensure we don’t make mistakes with our design, we head over to SketchUp and make a quick cross section drawing, which we can refer to as we create the model.

To create this cross section we set the camera view to a side view and then use the rectangle tool to create scale sections of our frame. We use the guideline/tape measure tool to mark out our maximum heights. We then use the dimension tool to mark the measurements of different sections, as you can see below:

These two steps allowed us to create this frame in four hours

Working with these two basic drawings allowed us to model this large garden room frame in under four hours. Knowing our height measurements and the pitch of the roof from the beginning made modelling all the mitred parts easy.

We have found that this basic sketching is invaluable in our garden room design process, and it is something that you can easily incorporate into your workflow too.