5 Suggestions for Drawing a Killer Backyard Plan, Even when You’re Not a Designer


Most owners are on the hunt for the “finest app” to make use of to design their backyard, as a substitute of hand-drawing their very own plan. 

The difficulty is… you don’t know what you don’t know.

The reality is… apps are NOT the reply.

I do know, I do know. You’re not Picasso. You’re embarrassed by your personal stick figures. You may’t visualize a backyard out of a clean web page.

However fortunately, you’ve received me to information you.

It’s time to ditch the “can’t do” angle and ineffective apps. They’re holding you again from getting your dream backyard.

By the top of this publish, you’ll be capable to draw your personal killer backyard plan that’s distinctive to YOUR backyard and YOUR fashion.

Let’s get began!

Watch this video to discover ways to draw a backyard plan (or preserve studying for the step-by-step directions).

1- Get To Know Your Area

Earlier than we hit the drafting board, we have to hit the backyard! A backyard plan drawing with no backyard to place it in is… a drawing.

So, first, measure the realm the place your backyard mattress will likely be.

Make a remark of:

  • The scale of your backyard mattress (size and depth).
    • What form is your backyard mattress?
    • Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical?
  • Something you shouldn’t block with vegetation (like home windows, doorways, utility entry). 
    • Measure the size of every object.
    • Measure how excessive above your backyard mattress they’re.

Upon getting these particulars, you’ll be capable to see potential downside areas earlier than you even begin drawing.

Typically, if there’s a low window or a utility space to take care of, it forces you to create an asymmetrical design. It’s higher to know these items earlier than you get began. They’re harder to right after the actual fact.

Measurements of garden bed in plan and elevation view.
Listed below are measurements of a raised backyard mattress in each plan view (prime left) and elevation view (backside proper). If I have been to solely see the plan view drawing, I wouldn’t have observed that the home windows are solely 24″ from the soil degree. Now that I do know this, I can design in a method that gained’t impede views from the window. Illustrations by Fairly Purple Door.

I do know this measuring step feels sort of boring. But it surely’s completely important to create an correct backyard plan. You’ll by no means see an expert designer skip this step… irrespective of how boring it could really feel.

Simply do not forget that if the design you create on paper doesn’t match, blocks views or obstructs utilities, it fails.

“In case your design works on paper it would work in actual life.”

-Amy Fedele, PrettyPurpleDoor

Upon getting your measurements, will probably be very straightforward so that you can plot out the backyard house.

Bonus Tip: Whilst you’re measuring, snap some pictures of the backyard mattress. Ensure you take footage from completely different angles. And, positively take one from straight on (standing proper in entrance of your backyard mattress space). Extra on this within the subsequent part.

2- Choose a View

Now that you’ve got your measurements, you’ll have to select a view to attract from. There are just a few completely different views to select from. The important thing right here is to decide on the view that can make it best so that you can visualize your backyard house.

3 Drawings of Same Cape Cod Style House - in Plan View, Elevation View and Perspective
Backyard plans could be drawn from above (plan view), from instantly in entrance (elevation view, or 1 level perspective) and in 3D (2 level perspective view). Illustrations by PrettyPurpleDoor.
  • Is it simpler to visualise your backyard from above?
    That is known as plan view. In plan view, you’ll view backyard vegetation as a sequence of circles and different shapes. This can be a view I sometimes use later within the course of, after I’m selecting vegetation.
  • Is it simpler to visualise your backyard from instantly in entrance of it?
    That is known as elevation view. This can be a flat, 2-dimensional (2D) view typically known as 1-point perspective. It permits you to see what your backyard would appear like whereas standing proper in entrance of it.
  • Is it simpler to visualise your backyard with depth within the house?
    That is known as perspective view. That is probably the most detailed view you should utilize because it’s a third-dimensional (3D) view. That is typically known as 2-point perspective. Drawing what your backyard will “truly” appear like in 3D can typically be very complicated, particularly in case you’re a newbie.

For the needs of this publish, we’re going to make use of elevation view for our backyard plan drawings. 

A 2D elevation drawing provides you the most effective of each worlds.

You’re in a position to visualize what the backyard will “truly” appear like, with out the added complexity of drawing in three dimensions.  

3- Use the Proper Instruments

Earlier than we get to drawing, let’s just be sure you have the correct instruments out there to you. 

Ditch the Apps

First, ditch the concept an app or a drawing program goes that will help you to visualise your backyard plan. It’s method simpler to do that by hand, particularly if all you want is an easy drawing.

Listed below are some causes that I usually don’t advocate utilizing panorama design apps.

  • Apps are very restricted, particularly free variations. You’ll end up attempting to design an area however gained’t have the correct plant shapes or sizes to you.
  • Apps may give you a false sense of actuality. While you’re utilizing an app, it’s straightforward to squish and squeeze to make your vegetation match collectively. This isn’t what occurs in actual life. So, when you can squish an 8 foot rounded shrub right into a 4 foot pyramidal formed shrub in an app, this gained’t translate to actuality.
  • Apps are a time suck. As if drawing a backyard plan isn’t difficult sufficient, you’re additionally including the additional complexity of getting to be taught a brand new laptop program. This could be a complete time suck. Hours can go by and also you’ll nonetheless be looking for the “excellent vegetation” to put in your panorama. Which leads me to my subsequent level…
  • The vegetation gained’t be suited on your circumstances. Particularly when utilizing a free model, you’ll have a really restricted selection of vegetation. And, relying on the place you reside, the vegetation you’re selecting might not even develop in your geographical space. To prime it off, they could be suited to circumstances that you just don’t have.
  • Apps solely present a second in time. Due to the character of drawing a backyard plan, any app that you just use will solely present your backyard at one cut-off date. So, your whole shrubs will appear like they’re flowering within the photograph. However, what do these vegetation appear like in spring, summer season, fall and winter? In case you are selecting vegetation that bloom in several seasons (which you have to be), you’re going to get a false sense of what your backyard will truly appear like from any design in an app.

Now that you already know why you shouldn’t use an app, let’s discuss what you have to be utilizing as a substitute.

Tracing Paper Over a Photograph

Printed photo of house with tracing paper over top
Tracing paper over a photograph is my most well-liked technique for brainstorming backyard mattress structure concepts.

Utilizing tracing paper over an precise photograph of your house is an effective way to get began drawing a killer backyard plan. When drawing in elevation view, you’ll wish to select the photograph you took in step 1 that’s a straight on view of your backyard mattress. This view will make it best to attract your plan.

So, print out the photograph you snapped earlier. Then, use tracing paper over the photograph to attract out completely different backyard plans. I like utilizing tracing paper as a result of it provides you the liberty to discover many alternative concepts shortly. 

Listed below are some tracing paper choices you may attempt:

  • Strathmore Tracing paper pad 50-count (Purchase on Amazon). This can be a good, handy strategy to buy your tracing paper. It is available in a pad with sheets you may tear out.
  • Canson Tracing paper roll 12”x50yds (Purchase on Amazon). My instructors have at all times inspired me to buy rolls of tracing paper that may be torn off shortly. Typically, utilizing a pad could make you extra conservative when utilizing the tracing paper and a roll of paper could be extra releasing for the artistic course of.

Draw out your shapes on the tracing paper over your photograph. Then seize one other piece of paper and check out once more. I’ve at all times discovered that this iterative course of works finest for arising with new concepts. Typically, my finest drawings are 5 and even 10 variations in. So, at all times preserve drawing and attempting to think about new concepts.

Bonus Tip: For those who’re having bother seeing your photograph via the tracing paper, turning the photograph right into a “cartoon” or line drawing utilizing a cellphone app might help. Or, print out your photograph and darken the key traces of your photograph with a sharpie so they’re simpler to see via the hint paper.

Tracing Paper Over Graph Paper

Tracing paper over a hand drawn garden plan on graph paper
For those who don’t have a photograph, utilizing tracing paper over a backyard mattress plotted on graph paper is one other strategy to sketch concepts.

For those who don’t wish to or can’t work from an precise photograph, you too can draw out your house on graph paper utilizing the measurements you took in step 1. I like to make use of one block on the graph paper for 1 foot of backyard house. Or, no matter ratio works finest for you.

When you’re completed together with your base sketch, it’s a good suggestion to “ink in” your pencil traces with a pen. It’s going to allow you to to see the drawing extra clearly via the tracing paper. It could additionally make your drawing really feel extra official. 

Ensure you don’t draw on this “finalized” copy any more. Make photocopy of your official base plan and draw your backyard plan concepts instantly onto the copies. Or, put tracing paper over the finalized base plan to iterate your concepts shortly. 

Plant Kind Cutouts

In case you are completely not into drawing your backyard plan by hand, don’t fear, I’ve one other resolution for you. Seize my free printable plant kind information and you should utilize my drawings.

How to Use Printable - 4 Steps

Simply print out a photograph of your backyard mattress, then minimize out the plant kind shapes and transfer them round on the web page. It’s a very enjoyable strategy to experiment with completely different backyard mattress layouts.

Coloured Pencils or Markers

Holding a marker to color in the final garden drawing sketch
Use coloured pencils or markers to paint in your drawing. I like the alcohol markers by Prismacolor. Illustration by Fairly Purple Door.

Lastly, you’ll wish to have some coloured pencils or markers out there so you may add shade to your drawing. Including shade to your drawings can actually allow you to to visualise the house. 

Many panorama designers use alcohol markers by Prismacolor or Copic to paint of their drawings. Some designers even use watercolor paints to paint of their drawings. 

However, you don’t have to get that fancy. A easy set of coloured pencils, markers and even crayons will likely be nice. I’d advocate utilizing what you’ve available. However, in case you’re trying to purchase a brand new set or pencils or markers, listed below are some I’d advocate.

  • Prismacolor coloured pencils, 36-count (Purchase on Amazon)
  • Windsor & Newton promarkers, 12-count (Purchase on Amazon). This can be a good easy set with lots of the colours you’ll want for drawing landscapes.
  • Prismacolor markers, 24-count (Purchase on Amazon). You may also purchase these markers individually on-line or in a pastime retailer. Typically this could be a more cost effective choice to get the colours you really want for backyard vegetation.
  • MeiLiang Watercolor paint set, 36-count (Purchase on Amazon). I even have this watercolor set and I actually like how vibrant the colours are.

4- Draw Easy Shapes & Kinds

We’re lastly on the drawing step! I hope you’re as excited as I’m to get began! The best method I’ve discovered to attract vegetation is to maintain it easy.

Hand Drawn Plant Forms
All vegetation could be diminished to a easy kind, similar to mounding, rounded, vase-shaped, horizontal, spikey, weeping, oval, pyramidal and extra. Illustration by PrettyPurpleDoor.

Each plant has a fundamental kind or form. Some frequent shapes and varieties are: 

  • Mounding
  • Rounded
  • Vase-Formed
  • Horizontal or Spreading
  • Spikey
  • Weeping
  • Oval
  • Pyramidal (& extra)

What’s nice about utilizing easy varieties is that you just don’t need to be an expert artist to attract them!

I like to attract very messy at first. If I just like the drawing, I’ll use one other piece of tracing paper to refine my fundamental plant varieties even additional. I proceed to do that till I’m proud of the ultimate drawing.

3 Garden Drawing Sketches on tracing paper from messy to refined to detailed.
Phases of my backyard drawings utilizing tracing paper over a printed photograph. Illustration by Fairly Purple Door.

Do not forget that it doesn’t matter how “fancy” your drawing appears. So long as it’s clear and simple to grasp, you’re heading in the right direction.

Garden Bed Sketch over Graph Paper
Right here’s one other instance, the place I’ve sketched fundamental plant varieties on tracing paper positioned over my graph paper. Discover how I attempted to make use of completely different plant varieties to maintain the design fascinating? I began so as to add the names of vegetation I believe would work on this design… however in case you’re undecided what vegetation to make use of but, that’s completely nice, too. I’ll present you ways to do that in Step 5. Illustration by Fairly Purple Door.

Simply in case you’re dreading this “sketching” half, I’ve put collectively a free printable plant kind worksheet that you should utilize. I’ve drawn all of the plant varieties for you and offer you quite a lot of completely different sizes to select from. 

All it’s a must to do is print out the plant varieties and shade them in to fit your wants. You may minimize round every of the plant varieties and rearrange them to see how they’ll look in opposition to the photograph you took in step 1. How straightforward and enjoyable is that?

Cut out plant form shapes scattered across the top of a printed house photo
Right here, all of my plant varieties are minimize out and I’m prepared to begin having enjoyable arranging the completely different vegetation alongside the muse. Seize the free printable right here.

Whether or not you’re drawing out your easy varieties by hand or utilizing the free obtain, listed below are some tricks to just be sure you’re heading in the right direction:

  • Even flowers can have a novel kind and construction that provides curiosity to a design. Like alliums, for instance.
  • Utilizing a number of plant varieties creates curiosity. 
  • Repeat the identical plant varieties to create unity in your design. 
  • Concentrate on the fundamental varieties that match into your environment, reasonably than particular vegetation.
Garden Drawing with arrow pointing to allium flowers
Plant varieties aren’t only for shrubs and perennials. Even flowers can have a novel kind and construction, like these alliums within the drawing. Illustration by Fairly Purple Door.

Nonetheless Caught? Attempt utilizing the Blocking Methodology. Beneath is a brief video for a way this technique works.

Right here’s a fast overview of the blocking technique. You may learn extra about it right here.

5- Choose Your Crops Final

Have you ever observed that all through your entire means of drawing a killer backyard plan, we haven’t even thought a lot about vegetation? 

So unusual, isn’t it? 

However, selecting the best vegetation on your backyard house, whereas it’s necessary, it’s normally one of many final steps. Design and planning at all times comes first. 

Though I’m drawing easy shapes and varieties in my plans, I usually have some thought of what vegetation I wish to use in a given design. However, I don’t pressure vegetation into my designs, if that is sensible.

Even if in case you have no clue what vegetation to make use of, that’s okay. When you’ve created a backyard plan with plant varieties that you just like, you may then analysis vegetation which might be the same dimension and form to what you drew. 

Web sites like Backyard.org will let you analysis vegetation by all completely different traits that can fit your rising circumstances and tastes.

Fortunately, there are so many plant choices out there to us in each completely different form and dimension. You’ll have loads of vegetation to select from, so don’t fear about selecting your vegetation till the top. Get the backyard plan drawing labored out first!

Wrapping Up

Now that you just’re aware of my prime 5 ideas for drawing a killer backyard plan, you may skip the stress of staring anxiously at a clean web page and really benefit from the extremely enjoyable and artistic means of designing your dream backyard!

First, take measurements and get to know the house the place you intend to place your backyard. Take a look at the realm from completely different angles and snap some pictures of various views. 

Now, sit down with some printer/bond paper or graph paper and use tracing paper to provide you with completely different concepts. I normally have some vegetation in thoughts throughout this course of, however I don’t attempt to pressure something. Simply draw easy shapes like rounded, oval, pyramidal and spreading. Attempt to distinction the configurations and dimensions of your vegetation to make it fascinating. If drawing feels too tough for you, seize my printable plant kind worksheet so you may simply minimize out the plant shapes and transfer them across the web page.

Upon getting the fundamental shapes mapped out, you may then select your vegetation. Ensure that to analysis the entire vegetation you intend. Use an internet site with numerous filters and superior looking out like backyard.org. Select vegetation that can thrive within the circumstances that you’ve got vs. what you would like you had. And, attempt to decide on a number of long-blooming perennials or vegetation that create curiosity at completely different occasions of the 12 months. 

For those who’re searching for extra help in designing your dream backyard, you’ll want to take a look at my Design Your 4-Season Backyard Course, the place I’ll take you step-by-step via my very own course of for creating the 4-season backyard plan of your desires.

Store my Amazon storefront for my important gardening books & software suggestions!

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5 Steps Infographic to Draw a Garden Layout
Don’t neglect to pin this publish for later. Illustrations by Fairly Purple Door.