Creating your garden plan

Gardens are rarely the shape we think they are, so drawing up a detailed plan is really useful. It’s not difficult, and will definitely help you all the way through the design process

Once you've gathered your inspiration and got to know your space, it's time to map out your garden. Drawing a scale plan will help you create a design that works, and makes it possible to order the correct quantities of materials, saving you money, time, and inconvenience. Bear in mind also that it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to change your plans on paper than it is to change a terrace or pathway once it’s built.

Measure and map out your garden’s size, shape, and layout, including existing elements and where the sunlight falls. Most boundaries are not neat and square to the house, and they often have kinks or obstacles in the way. But don’t worry. There are basic techniques that you can use to measure all manner of shapes and plot fixed features on your scale plan.

How to measure a basic space

These simple steps use methods called triangulation and taking offsets to map out your space accurately. Make a rough sketch first and use it to log all your measurements. Then transfer them onto paper to make a precise scale plan.

If you have an established garden with lots of plants or structures that make access to the boundary tricky, you might find it helpful to look online at an overhead view. The further you get from the house, the less critical it is to get accurate measurements; close to the house it is key.

Create your scale plan

When you’ve taken all your measurements, transfer them onto paper to create a precise scale plan. Most average-sized gardens are designed in either 1:50 (where 2cm on your ruler = 1m on your plan) or 1:100 (where 1cm on your ruler = 1m on your plan).

Use the longest measurement on your sketch to work out the best scale to use. Using a scale ruler or a normal centimetre ruler, follow these steps to transfer the measurements onto paper. Lay tracing paper over your finished scale plan to sketch your design ideas for your plot.

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