Planning Changes To Your Yard? 4 Steps To Create Your Own Landscape Design

To most people, designing a landscape for the yard means eyeing up the terrain and buying plants at the local nursery. But, crafting a landscape design that will last and that will provide many hours of enjoyment in the future calls for a little more planning. 

To help you start your own landscape design, here's a 4-step guide for any skill level.

Draw a Grid. You'll need to start by measuring out your yard's overall perimeters and transferring them onto a piece of paper. Draw a grid on the paper so that you can place landscape elements in reasonably good approximation of the real thing. Your grid can be any size you need in order to capture the main aspects of the yard. Depending on the size of the yard, you could choose anything from half an inch equaling a foot of yard space to the same equaling a meter of yard space (or more).

Measure and Diagram. Measure the permanent parts of the yard, such as sheds, trees, and fence lines. Place these onto the grid paper in pencil so you can make adjustments as you go. Feel free to make multiple copies of the grid page so you can start over as much as you need to. Be sure to include things like drains, elevation changes, utility connections, and play areas. 

Draw New Elements. Once you have a skeleton drawn for the permanent yard structures, add a few new features by drawing them in. Sketching items first helps you maintain focus on the big picture, such as how things connect to the overall look and whether you're able to access water or power. It's also a lot easier to fix or change. 

Test New Features. After settling on a drawn addition for the yard, test out how it will look in real life. You can do this using a variety of methods. If you're adding a garden bed, for example, lay out a hose to simulate the bed's dimensions. Planning an outdoor entertainment space? Place some outdoor furniture in the new location to see how it's affected by wind, sunlight, or the view. Find ways to mimic the effect of the new element and then live with it for a while to see how it works in real life.

Your DIY landscape design system will surely help you take your yard from just a dream to a reality. If you encounter specific challenges with your particular property, take the time to work with professional landscapers to find the right solutions. The extra effort will be worth the time when you're enjoying your new yard.