Landscape Special Interest Group June 2017 pm

In this session, we looked at creating your own reports for counting planting, landscaping, and hardscaping in order to set up a materials and costs list. We found that some problems could only be solved by creating and attaching a Record Format to objects.

Topics Covered

  • 00:16    We started with a landscaping project already open so that we could look into creating our own reporting. When you want to create a report, get out a pencil and paper so that you have an idea of where you want to go. If you start in Vectorworks, you’ll get halfway through the Vectorworks design, and you’ll realize, “Oh! I forgot the excavations. Better go back and do that.” Then, your report is all messed up; you’ve got to add columns and rows. It’s so much easier if you sit down with a piece of paper and think: “What do I need?” Thinking through the landscaping and construction process and making a list will help you to include all aspects of the project in your report. You need to start thinking what type of items need to be on your report and whether you need a quantity or area or volume recorded.
  • 02:45    Plants are reasonably easy to report. For plants, you could select the Choose Schedule command (Tools > Reports > Choose Schedule…). But, would it give you all of the information that you need? To be certain, you can create a report instead (Tools > Reports > Create Report…). Once we specified Plant for the Listing Objects with Record setting, we started adding the data columns that we would need for our report, such as Plant ID, Common Name, Spread, Price, and Notes. We named our report Landscape Budge Report and clicked the OK button of the Create Report dialog box. Sometimes, it helps to look through another report, such as the default Plant Schedule, to see how the formulas are created. The Plant Schedule had a quantity column; we made our lives much easier by simply copying the quantity formula (=’Plant Record’.Quantity) from the Database Headers row of the “Qty” column. You can always right-click on the cell at the start of the Database Headers row, click on Edit Criteria, and see what criteria were used to gather the information on another report. On the Criteria settings, you don’t want to check the boxes for Design Layer Viewports (Non-referenced) or Design Layer Viewports (Referenced) because this could give you a false count. After formatting our report, we added a Landscape Area to our project and discovered that the report could find it.
  • 11:27     The challenge is how to have your report find a Landscape Area with grass or mulch or landscape but no plants. What can you do to make these areas easier for your report to find? One solution that we came up with is to add these areas to classes (e.g., Landscape Area-Lawn, Landscape Area-Mulch, Landscape Area-Topsoil). In addition to Landscape Areas, we also had Hardscapes on this project. Hardscapes are useful because they can have a thickness to them. So, we had some paving hardscapes and some lawn hardscapes, and we decided to separate the hard and soft hardscapes by class. With our Hardscape-Sand Base, Hardscape-Lawn, Hardscape-Mulch, and Hardscape-Topsoil classes created, we created another report that could find these Hardscapes. We included data columns such as Hardscape Name, Thickness, Main Area, and Main Unit Price.
  • Although we were creating three reports (planting, soft areas, and hard areas), we chose to append them to each other so that they could appear together. The top part of this report was the planting section. For that section, quantity was reported in the first column. It is important to note that quantity was not a data column that we could add when creating the report; we had to add it later. So, when creating the soft areas report, we added a Draw Border column as the first column, not because we needed Draw Border data but because we needed a fake first column that we could later turn into our quantity column for the soft areas section. In the Create Report dialog box, we also clicked on the Options button, toggled the “Append to existing worksheet” option, and selected our newly created Landscape Budget Report.
  • 26:52    We continued by formatting the Soft Areas section of our Landscape Budget Report. You must be careful to have your calculations use the same units. The area was reported in meters, but the volume was reported in millimeters. So, before multiplying the area by the volume, we had to change the volume to meters. What does lawn cost per cubic meter? The challenge is that, because of how Vectorworks does its reports, the columns are identical. To avoid over-reporting objects, you might need to separate your soft objects into Soft Areas and Soft Volumes and ensure that your objects are classed accurately. However, using classes might not be sufficient for solving this problem. One of my techniques for getting around this is to create a Record Format, which is a unique label that you can attach to any object. We created a Hardscape Area Type record format that had two choices in its pop-up list: Area or Volume. Next, we attached this record to objects that were either soft areas or soft volumes. For example, Sand Base and Mulch were Volumes, but Lawn was an Area. Then, we redid our report criteria to specify whether we wanted Volume or Area objects. To find Area objects, our Criteria read as follows: List objects whose… Field value [of] Hardscape Area Type = Area. The Record Format is a cool trick for ensuring that your objects are separated in very precise ways. To finish, we appended a Landscape Areas report to our Landscape Budget Report and formatted our report to make it easier for clients to read. All of this turns Vectorworks into a very powerful tool. In addition, having this kind of data at your fingertips allows you to move from designer to designer/builder.

Landscape June 2017 am
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