When redesigning a garden layout, it is often useful to have a good plan to work from. The benefit of creating a garden plan is that you can discuss the layout with your family or client, and you can even create shapes to move around and try new ideas.
The first step in creating a plan is to carefully measure the garden. Start by measuring the length and breadth, and carefully note the dimensions of the house or property that borders the garden. When you have these measurements, record them on paper. A rough diagram can be used for initial recording, but it is important that the plan is drawn to scale when the detailed garden design process begins. Graph paper is very useful for creating scaled drawings, and will reduce the need for constant measurement of each garden element on the paper.
When you have measured and recorded the boundary, the next step is to record any permanent features that are to remain after the redesign. These features could be natural elements such as trees or hedges, but could also include walls, paths and even manhole covers.
When drawing items like trees, the most important tasks are to record the position of the trunk and the extent of the canopy over the garden. This will give an indication of the degree of shelter and shade offered by the tree, and will also mark the limits of drier soil where there is less rain, and of the area affected by the root system.
Having established the starting shape of the new garden, the next step is to plan the changes you will make. If you are planning to introduce more trees, flower beds or paths, it may be useful to create cut-out representations of their final size so you can judge how the whole set of elements will fit together.
These can be moved about your plan, and it is easier than drawing and erasing a range of different suggested locations. This technique can also be used for non-plant items such as a bar-be-cue or table. Paths can be drawn to reflect your new ideas, and the whole garden created on paper with some thought, rather than making it up as you go along.
As the plan has been drawn to scale, it will also be a useful tool for ordering materials. The dimensions of features such as paths, walls and lawn can be measured, and from this the quantities of materials can be calculated.
Having created the new garden plan and used it to order materials, the next step is to transfer the plan to the actual garden area. Features that have straight edges can be marked out very accurately with string and wooden pegs. Areas, which have curved, or irregular boundaries, such as trees and paths, can be marked out with rope. The rope can either be left in place, or it can be used as a guide to mark the line with spray paint, sand or flour.
The important benefit of creating a plan for your new garden is that you can think about the plan in a relaxed environment, discuss it with others and experiment with layouts without effort and expense. A little effort taken in creating a garden plan will pay you back easily in time and effort saved.