As a landscape foreman for well over twenty years, I’ve been pondering this myself. Thinking back to all of the blueprints that I’ve artistically drafted for the really artsy company I started with, near mature size tended to be more important than using exact plant depictions. Then again, these are top down views I used to draft. Nowadays, most of the big firms are using Eagle Point Land Cad stuff, and also is top down, generic, but colored version of what I used to draft by hand. You can get more artistic looks with it, but most companies don’t dedicate all of the time necessary to do so.
This all said, I was thinking of the possibilities of actually doing it in Carrara as pointed out by Evil Producer. But rather than having to create actual replicas of each plant, just a good similarity to illustrate the look would likely make for a great sales tool - by helping the salesman show the client his ideas with actual images. Top Down prints have really saved many in the industry, by being able to express their ideas without truly naming every plant right up front, allowing for further design to take place after the initial presentation. I always presented complete plans, well documented with plant lists and occasionally a perspective sketch for areas where the top down view wasn’t good enough to my liking.
Top down would be really easy with Carrara - but actually so would perspective. I just uploaded a friendly picture in another thread next to this one… I guess posting it a third time to show you something would be okay. But Koukotsu, an artist who does some really cool renders and shares them in the Post Your Renders thread, always used Ambient Occlusion in her renders, and I was inquiring about it. I can’t remember if it was her, or Evil Producer, who put the bug in my head to rneder out the result of the AO using multipass… so I tried it and made this sketch-style image. I’ll put a more photo-real style image below it to show what that looks like too…
But although this is different than what you’re talking about, I know that I could use my site measurements to create a landscape architecture presentation using Carrara - and it would likely be faster and better for me than drafting either by hand or on computer. If you look at the last of the promo pictures that you scroll through for the Carrara 8 Pro sales page, it shows a new feature for the plant editor that looks most useful for this. The latest enhancements that they did for Carrara 8 Pro already, are very good. I believe I could do it.
For a more artsy look, Project Dogwaffle Pro has just added to their particles brushes: Foliage brushes that use “rules” that you may set, or pick from a huge list of presets, and they automatically create the trunk, branches, leaves and blossoms. You have the ability to create your own and/or edit existing ones and save them -= so you could keep building your library as the job requirement dictate. Just some more food for thought.
Click thumbnail to see full-size image