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How to Draw Landscape Plans

A Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide

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You say that you’d like to learn how to draw landscape plans, but you’re downright intimidated by the scope of such a task? Okay, I won’t lie to you: drawing professional-quality landscape plans is a big deal. After all, it is not for nothing that aspiring designers go to school to learn how to draw landscape plans.

But one question you need to ask yourself right away is this: Does the particular project that you’re considering demand detailed, perhaps even professional-quality landscape plans? If you are merely establishing a new planting bed – say a mixed border planting that will act as a privacy screen – then you probably don’t need a detailed landscape plan. A simpler drawing will be suitable for your needs, similar to my drought-resistant landscape plan. Such simple drawings can be upgraded with the addition of accurate measurements, so you’ll be able to get your plant spacing requirements right.

So when do you truly need complete, detailed landscape plans? I would encourage people moving into new homes, where the landscaping is virtually non-existent, to have such landscape plans with which to work. Likewise, homeowners engaging in makeovers of existing landscapes that they consider obsolete will profit from the guidance offered by detailed landscape plans. In these cases, even if you have to pay a pro to come in and draw the landscape plan for you, it will be worth it. Such undertakings are just too complex to be left to guesswork. Detailed landscape plans provide a bird’s-eye view of your property and allow you to determine whether one projected component will mesh with another.

A landscape plan is not born; rather, it evolves. You put measurements, rough sketches and notes on paper, then tinker with that data until you arrive at the final plan (my article assumes that you’ve already thought about what improvements you’d like to make to your yard, which includes solving problems such as poor drainage). The process can be described in terms of three phases, each of which results in a type of drawing, as I relate in the remainder of this article, beginning on Page 2....

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