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05 Oct 2017

Creating landscape design plans

When creating a landscape design plan, your priority is finding solutions. You might find it a difficult task at first but when you start with a good idea of what you want your garden to look like, you have taken away a chunk of the work away.

A simple scrapbook or notebook will go a long way in helping you create your landscape design plans. You could jot down landscapes, furniture, artwork, plants, lighting plans and other things you would like to have in your garden. You can also use bubble diagrams to simplify things and identify various areas of the garden for activities like playing, dining and relaxing.

Also you must also design structural shapes, spaces between the garden elements and the different routes or plants in the garden. You must consider all these in your landscape design plans.

The mood and atmosphere of your garden will be influenced by the colors, textures and patterns that you select. Some colors will make an area look bigger while some could make it look otherwise. The use of yellows and warm red colors will make a garden area livelier.

White and other pale colors will reflect lights into dark areas. You can also use textures for better effects in a garden. Surfaces could be matte, glossy or shiny. There is no specific template for a landscape design plan. Feel free to experiment and come up with creative designs.

Understanding landscape design plans

A landscape design plan is a 2D representation of a 3D garden and it allows one to visualize a garden well and come up with great ideas. Your ideas can be shared with others and easily and it can be easy to identify where different elements in the design should be placed. You can use a scale plan or a rather simple sketch to showcase your garden design plans. Various kind of landscape design plans will be shown here along with how they can be used.

Working landscape design plans

It is not necessary that working plans are accurate or built to scale. They are used to showcase ideas, the relationship between horizontal surfaces and the location of screens, walls, trees and other elements. Pathways and views can also be included in the working plan.

Overlaid Photos

It is hard to master perspective drawings. You can place a tracing paper over the photo of your garden and draw ideas on top of the tracing paper to give a 3D view of any change you want to implement.

Bubble Diagrams

Bubble diagrams will help you experiment relationships among areas in a garden. It is a good way of exploring before drawing a plan that is more detailed.

BUBBLE DIAGRAM, garden design, landscape architect



Finished Landscape Design Plans

Finished landscape design plans are plans that are drawn to scale and show exact locations, dimensions and accurate arrangements of features and elements. These plans are majorly for construction purposes and they are read by contractors and builders who use them to measure lengths and other areas that are used to estimate expenses and locate exact areas on the ground. Cross-sections are used to indicate changing ground levels. Changing ground levels can also be annotated on the overhead plan.

landscape design plans

Overhead Plans

Overhead plans show the exact locations and sizes of elements like areas of planting, alignments and locations of linear elements like screens, walls, fences and hedges and singular components like pools, trees, lights, steps, specimen shrubs, drainage points etc.

Planting Landscape Design Plan

Planting landscape design plans show the location of plants in a garden and their exact number. It also shows the position of large specimens and drifts and groups of the same species. Planting plans are the most useful of all plans. They must be very precise as the planting might be done by an independent contractor without the presence of the designer. A planting plan can help one calculate the total number of plants needed and their exact arrangement before they are planted.

Landscape plans planting plan

How to Draw up a Planting Plan

A planting plan can be drawn using special design software or by hand. Those that have little experience in reading planting plans might reproduce the symbols in color.

Cross-section or Elevation Plans

Cross-section plans are used to show the impact of changes on a garden. If you have a sloping garden, you can employ the services of a land surveyor to draw an elevation or cross-section plan. This plan will show the important levels before and after alterations are made. Slopes that are highly intricate or complex will need extra plans to be drawn up.

CROSS-SECTION, garden design, landscape architect

The Use of Scale for Drawing Complex Landscape Design Plans

A scale plan is a proportional visual representation of a garden. It can be drawn by converting actual measurements from a garden to a scale measurement. It is advisable you buy a scale rule that will help you make draw up the scale plan. The scale rules are marked with measurements like 1:50, 1:20 and 1:10. With scale rules, you won’t need to make calculations. When your scale plan is complete, you can use it for your planting and design ideas.

There are several scales to be used for a scale plan. It could be 1:100, 1:20, 1:10, 1:50 etc. A 1:1 scale means that 1 cm on paper is 1 cm on the ground. So, it shows the exact size of an object. A 1:50 scale means that 1 cm on paper represents 50 cm on the ground. For small gardens, you can use scales of 1:50 or 1:20. If you have a large garden, you can use scales like 1:200 and 1:100. A lot of times, designers draw various plans and use different scales for the plans to highlight different details. A planting plan can use a 1:50 scale while a structural plan can use scales of 1:20 and 1:10.

Also read: Creating a garden.

03 Sep 2017


In this 21st century, the word “SUSTAINABILITY” has become a popular word with people reacting in a positive way to the world’s decreasing resources. Because of this, the sustainable garden design has become more of a way of life than a mode that revolves around recycling and reusing renewable resources,  embracing conservation and biodiversity and practising organic gardening.

   In the late 20th century, when the New Perennial movement was introduced, it blends flowering perennials and grasses and this led to a boost of interest in natural gardening methods. German and Dutch research into sustainable plants has been very popular in this area too.

  There is a common belief that sustainable gardens are too rural, but this should not be. There are lots of sharp and wonderful styles that include renewable materials such as timber from verified locations and advanced method of planting. At times, local materials are used if the need arises, this helps to reduce the garden’s carbon footprint and form a sense of regional belonging. With the use of natural controls and balanced ecosystems, pests and diseases can be prevented, instead of using chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Environment that are good for local species and help boost biodiversity are included in the design.

   This does not mean to say that this gardens accept only local species alone, foreign species are also accepted as long as they attract the needed insects and wildlife and they do not invade the garden.

   In bigger gardens, prairie and meadow species are planted extensively, especially in America in the designs of Late Ed Bye and Jens Jensen. In small sustainable gardens, wilder species can be planted too so as to have different habitats within a small space without a complicated design solution.


A sustainable garden is that which has the ability to serve as an effective ecosystem with little or no intervention. This is what makes it different from a local garden.

  In setting up an habitat where planting neighbours survive, ecological principles play a major role. It also helps to balance competition and match species to the dominant soil and climatic conditions.


  Sustainable garden materials need to be evaluated against a number of requirements. Recycled products are good because they reduce the abuse of new resources but at times their carbon trail can be on the high side whereas getting timber from a local plantation can be a better option.

   Among other things to consider are drainage of landscaped surfaces and permeability. They should be designed in a porous way so as to fill up ground water,  or designed in a way that water goes into a certain place so as to reduce stress on supplies. A major key in a sustainable garden is planting and other types of useful wildlife habitats. Make a selection of plants that survive in prevailing climate and harmonize each other so as to prevent pest and disease. However,  you might still need to make use of biological control. Your own organic manures and compost heap should be used as soil boosters.


GREEN ROOF systems help to provide insulation, manage rainwater run-offs, convert existing roofs with the use of pre-planted sedum mats. New structures can contain bigger habitats.

Green Roof landscape design and garden design

ENCOURAGING WILDLIFE  If you create an effective habitat for wildlife, then diversity would be increased. The more the habitats such as bee hotels, old logs and insect friendly planting, the higher the diversity.

wild landscape design and garden design

RAINWATER HARVESTING  Water containers are always a good means of storing rain water no matter how small they are. If you require a storage with larger capacity, you can make use of pump mechanism and underground storage.

  RAINWATER HARVESTING  landscape architectural design

RUSTIC GARDEN FURNITURE  You can contribute to your local economy by getting a craftsman near your home to make your furniture. All the furniture should be made from well sourced, natural materials.

MODERN RUSTIC GARDEN FURNITURE landscape architectural design

RECYCLING FEATURES It is very important that you Recycle organic waste through compost. Compost bins may be needed so as to have constant supply. Put them in locations where you can regularly and easily access them.

RECYCLING FEATURES landscape architectural design

NATURALISTIC PONDS For natural habitats for aquatic creatures and birds and insects like dragonflies, you can set up a wildlife pond with sloping sides that are easily accessible and have margins to give cover.

NATURALISTIC PONDS landscape architectural design

Also read: Garden design and colors.