Creating a Design Plan

Getting your garden design down on paper can help you visualize your ideas and make sure they work with your yard and budget.
Color Sketch of Landscape Design

Color Sketch of Landscape Design

Photo by: DK - Design Your Garden © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Design Your Garden, 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

To create a good garden design, you don’t have to draw a plan, but it can help. Some people are able to assess their space instinctively without committing anything to paper. They have the confidence to decide what they want, lay down lines, create the shape, and design the planting. For others, drawing a garden plan is a necessary exercise. Sketching out your designs forces you to consider all your landscaping options, and allows you to work on numerous possibilities for your yard. It doesn’t restrict you—you can adapt your designs at any time before construction—but it’s good to visualize the essence of your garden, so that you can consider the benefits and the pitfalls before you commit to its implementation. 

Putting pen to paper may scare you, especially if you feel you can’t draw, but everyone can—it just takes practice. First, take your scale plan and either photocopy it several times or draw on a tracing-paper overlay. Alternatively, use a computer garden design program to draw up your ideas. Then think about your wants, needs, and the styles you like (if you've made a list of these things, now is the perfect time to pull it out). It's often helpful to take lots of photos of your yard and spread them out on a table to remind yourself of the different areas. You can then draw features on tracing paper laid over your photos to give you an idea of how they will look in situ. When you have something you like, transfer your ideas onto your paper plan. 

A plan can also give you an idea of the costs involved and the materials you will need. You shouldn’t restrict your dreams, but you should be aware of the budget, and the time scale, both for completing the building work and for your planting to mature. 

You won’t always get your garden design right the first time, but the process of laying down your ideas will lead you in the right direction.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Garden Layout and Design Plans

Discover tips and ideas you can use for developing your own garden layouts and design plans.

How to Plan and Design a Garden

Design a garden that will inspire you for years to come. Learn how to make a garden that works for you.

Garden Design: Connect Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Let your indoor space inspire your landscape design plans.

The Best Garden Design for Your Lifestyle

Discovering an outdoor design that works best for your schedule, budget and space is key to garden planning.

Designing Outdoor Spaces

Give clients exactly what they want with these nine tips.

Making a Garden Plan

Accentuate your landscape with a bed or border. Choosing the right plants, using color for effect and contrasting flower shapes are essential for proper garden planning.

Formal Garden Design

Craft a landscape that stages a formal atmosphere to reap rewards of orderly beauty.

Planning Your Outdoor Space

A master plan that incorporates everything from long-range projects to nitty-gritty details will help you design the backyard of your dreams.

Garden Design: Defining Your Space

Define your garden with landscaping that pulls all the elements together to create one unified, inviting space. We made over the yard below to do exactly that.

Ideas for Designing With Plants

Use these simple guidelines to achieve the garden look that best suits your budget and lifestyle.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.