Free Design Tools For Homeowners
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Free Design Tools For Homeowners

Jul 13, 2018
Video Length:  1:00:35
Presented By:  Jake Lott
Small residential jobs can be overly challenging – often, too much time is wasted on just preparing the necessary files with accurate dimensions. But what if clients could provide you with properly created and formatted CAD files? Luckily, some helpful (and free) resources allow homeowners to prepare CAD files of their properties. This webinar is intended as a resource you can provide prospective clients, giving them the ability to generate those files – and feel comfortable sending and receiving DWG and SKP files of the design.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)

  • Intro/TOC
  • What Is the Goal?
  • What Resources are Available, and How to Download Them
    • Google Earth
    • SketchUp Free/SketchUp Make
    • DraftSight
  • How to Download Each Program
  • What Does the Workflow Look Like?
    • Setting Up Usable Files (Drafting)
      • Google Earth
      • Draft Sight
    • Saving Files
    • Sending Files to the Designer
    • Loading and Viewing Files from the Designer
    • Sending Back Revisions
    • SketchUp

0:00 – 4:46: Intro/TOC

4:47 – 6:29: What Is the Goal?

Create an interface between the homeowner and designer.

  • Ability to provide the proper files (deliverables) to the designer
    • Remember: Garbage in, garbage out
    • Using the proper tools will allow for the proper degree of precisions, allowing for more accuracy in the design.
    • Saves the designer time, which saves the homeowner money
  • Ability to view, navigate, comment, and send the files back to the designer
    • Keeps all communication and design intent in a more organized format, making for a smoother process from beginning to end.

6:30 – 16:39: What Resources are Available, and How to Download Them

Remember to look through each product website to find additional training resources.


Google Earth (7:35)

We recommend using the Earth Pro on Desktop option.


How to download Google Earth (8:35)


SketchUp Free (9:30)

How to download SketchUp (10:13)


DraftSight (12:16)

How to download DraftSight (12:23)


Recap: What should we now have on our computer? (14:25)

16:40 – end: What Does the Workflow Look Like?

Setting Up Usable Files (Drafting) (16:40)

Google Earth (18:36)

Navigating in Google Earth (18:55)


“Do not automatically tilt while zooming” option (19:50)


Speeding up navigation to specific points using the “Fly to” option and speeding up the mouse wheel (20:20)


Techniques for zooming, moving around, panning, and getting a street view  (21:15)


The Ruler tool (22:50)

  • Setting the units (23:08)
  • Determining the distance between two points (23:22)
  • Drawing and editing a path (24:15)
  • Drawing a polygon and calculating square area (25:24)
  • Mouse navigation (26:05)


Scaling the site and saving it as a base map in Google Earth (27:35)


DraftSight (30:23)

The Options dialog box (31:50)

Here, you can set up dimensions, drafting styles, and other items that determine the look of your DraftSight interface.


Setting the units (32:44)


Attaching an image of the site (33:45)


Setting the scale (35:10)


Drawing tools (40:20)

  • Drawing a line (40:50)
  • Drawing a polyline (i.e., multiple lines that stick together) (41:05)
  • Creating a closed polyline (42:45)

Keep the eaves in mind when attempting to follow a roofline in a site design. They will likely overlap the planting design to a certain extent.


Saving Files (45:10)


Sending files to the Designer (45:45)


Loading and Viewing Files from the Designer (46:20)

Loading the designer’s file into the drawing as an Xref (46:20)


Viewing the designer’s file and making notes using the Annotate tool (47:22)


Sending Back Revisions (49:36)


SketchUp (50:05)

How to create and save a SketchUp model (50:50)


The SketchUp tools (51:30)


Hovering on a tool to see additional options (51:45)


Bringing in a site using the Add Location tool in SketchUp Make (53:15)


Exploding an image and making it a group (55:00)


Scaling the site image using the Tape Measure tool (55:15)


Using two known reference points and the Rotate tool to align the site image properly (56:00)


Drafting in SketchUp (57:55)


Opening a file from the designer and navigating around the site (58:20)


Adding notations, saving the file, and sending it back to the designer (58:40)


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