Every design project needs a plan. Even if you are planning a do-it-yourself landscape project, a landscape plan will help you in many ways. Drawing a plan lets you quickly try different design options.
An accurate plan helps you determine the quantity of material you need, helps you to visualize your project, and communicate with anyone else that will be helping during the process.
Drawing a Base Plan
Your base plan shows the existing conditions for your project site. This might include parts of your house; show the doors and windows, landscape features such as walks or walls, existing trees and other vegetation. These are all drawn from a bird’s eye point of view, as if you were looking straight down from above. It is important to measure accurately and to draw everything to scale. An easy way is to use graph paper with ten lines or grids per inch. Each grid can equal one foot, ten feet per inch on paper.
As you begin to develop design ideas, it is helpful to explore different options and concepts. Print out several copies of your base plan or use tracing paper as an overlay. Start by loosely drawing general shapes or bubbles where different activities might occur. Think of these as outdoor rooms. There might be sitting areas, an eating and cooking area, places to play or a garden spot. Don’t worry about exact sizes at this point. Look at different arrangement for your activities thinking about how they relate to each other and to your house. Also consider the sun, shade, views and relative noise for each area.
Refining Your Design
Once you have a good arrangement, begin to refine the shapes for the hardscape elements such as patios, walls and walks. Explore how different shapes and edges might work together in your plan. If you first draw a patio with rectangular edges, try a design option with flowing curved shapes. Continue to try different shapes until you find what works best for your site and needs.
After you have drawn the hardscape elements, add plant materials. Start with the largest plants as they are the ones that do most to define spaces. Add groundcovers and perennials last.
Staking Your Plan
Once you have a final plan, you should test it in your yard. Use wood stakes and strings to accurately lay out the arrangement of the features as you drew them. You may find you want to make some minor adjustments based on how everything fits, or doesn’t fit, in your yard. Make the corrections to your final plan on paper.
Your final plan can then serve as a guide for calculating quantities of materials, such as how many pavers you need. You will also find yourself referring back to the plan many times as you install your home landscape project. Having completed your first plan, you can consider yourself a landscape designer.
If you need assistance determining the types or quantities of materials that will work best for your plan, visit us today.