Drawing Ground Textures

ink drawing showing ground textures

I'm a pen and ink artist to heart so love adding textures to the ground plane in my landscape plans. Yes, they take a little time, but add such character and readability (if done correctly). The key to adding ground textures is achieving a good balance of white to dark spaces or good CONTRAST.

You'll have to think ahead about what will be the white space and what will be dark. I typically make lawn areas the white space, since they are often the strongest and largest area. I use a stippling technique on lawn to accentuate it's space. Stippling is the middle texture below.

If a patio or deck is your largest area, maybe this becomes the white space instead. I often leave plants as white space and make the ground below them dark. This makes them really pop. I leave textures off plants otherwise the plan gets too busy. Another way to add good contrast is adding shadows to everything including plants, furniture and structures.  A gray marker works well for that.

Always consider line weights (read more about those here) when adding textures. Textures should be the thinnest line, with any line surrounding it being a little thicker. If you don't use a thin line the textures will overpower your drawing and make it chaotic.

After drawing the plan below I realized that my evergreen plant symbol (like the grouping at the top and bottom center) was competing a bit with the mulch pattern, so I had to darken the plant up a bit. I didn't want to lose the edge of the plant into the texture below it. Sometimes you just need to adjust as you go - or better yet, plan better than I did!

I encourage you to study how textures are used not only on landscape plans, but also in illustrations and graphic design. Most importantly experiment drawing different textures. This is a great reason to doodle! Call it graphic research.

Garden Graphics Tool Kit

An awesome online course that teaches simple and fun drawing techniques to help communicate your garden vision. Enrollment open in January each year.

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