Developing a Landscape Plan

It is not always easy to visualize certain aspects of landscape design without a plot plan that is scaled-to-size. If you’re moving into a newly constructed home, your builder or contractor may have some initial design specs that include landscaping that can save you some time. In all cases, arming yourself with an accurate plot plan will save money (and maybe headaches) down the road.

If you don’t have a lot survey or a mortgage survey to begin with,

 Your local town office for a plot plan, You may find it easier to create your own site drawing. If hiring a professional landscaper, he or she will prepare a plot plan. Meanwhile, you can take measurements and begin your own. If new to your location, it will help you to familiarize yourself with the site. If you simply desire a landscape overhaul, drawing your own plan will help you to be more creative, think outside the box.

Using graph paper, decide upon a suitable scale.

 Tape several pieces of graph paper together and use a larger scale if need be. Typically, a scaled-to-size plan will be 1″ to 8 feet or 10 feet. Depending upon your graph paper, it may be easier to choose a ratio that corresponds to the size of the squares on your grid, i.e. five squares equals five feet. Remember, this is just a rough draft. Later, you can pencil in and erase on paper or edit, add, and delete on a computer-generated site plan much more easily and much less expensively than a mistake in your yard.

Start by drawing in the boundaries of your lot.

 Next, add the dimensions of your house and other buildings. Draw in existing walkways, driveway, water features, decks, high traffic areas, etc. It’s is always wise to add in the location of your windows and doors, bearing in mind access, what you want to see when you look out the window, privacy, etc. Draw in existing driveways, walkways, fences, etc. Think about your desires for your new landscape while you draw in the details of your existing landscape. Note the shaded areas as well as those that get more sun. It is also useful to note any relevant property setback requirements as well as features of abutting neighbors that may affect your landscape.

If you’re considering adding a hot tub outside,

You’d likely not want it placed in full view of your neighbor’s picture window. Also, if you plan to add plantings, consider the potential growth of those plantings: imagine designing your site around a tree sapling, but failing to take into consideration that this sapling will grow to a much larger height and width? A benefit of drawing your own existing site plan is that it will open the door for new ideas and help you to evaluate the feasibility of your wish-list items.

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