By Nancy Penrose

Have you had ideas about what you want your yard to look like but didn’t know how to make those ideas a reality? Most homeowners have no experience with landscape design but everyone deserves to have the vision for their yard to become a reality.

Here’s how you can get a head start on designing your landscape. The tips in this article are not meant as a substitute for the steps needed for a professional landscape design plan. It is always recommended to have a specialist assist with finalizing and executing the design. But, you should have some basic knowledge under your belt so you can better visualize how you want your landscape to be. It can also help you work out your budget right from the start.

What is a Landscape Design?

A landscape design, or landscape plan, is a visual representation of an outdoor area. It uses scaled dimensions to accurately show the area and includes all relevant elements like trees, bushes, flower beds, grass or other turf, etc. It would also include the location of man-made elements like lawn furniture, a shed, fountains, concrete, a deck, etc.

How Do You Start Planning a Landscape?

A landscape plan starts with broad strokes – a basic outline of the area. You then gradually add in the elements you want to include. You would first draw the boundaries and major features of the entire property. Include the buildings, streets around the property, the lawn areas, the fences around the edges of garden areas, etc. You’ll want to note where north is on the design.

Then you would add in the existing features, specifically those that you can’t or don’t want to move in landscaping. This could include the location of walkways, rocks, water features, trees and shrubs. Use appropriate colors to differentiate these features.

Now start adding in new elements. You can show where you want to bring in new trees, shrubs or flowers. Draw in any walkways, pavers, decks, and planting beds. You can include lawn furniture, a shed, a gazebo, whatever fits the vision for how you want the landscape to look. You will have to compare this to the existing features, but your finished design plan should include just the elements that you want in your landscape.

We hope this helps get you started designing the yard you want!

Nancy Penrose is the owner of Big Trees Inc., located in Snohomish, WA in the Seattle area. The company is one of the largest tree nurseries in the Seattle area with over 120,000 trees available in over 300 varieties. They not only deliver young trees, but also mature trees in a wide range of sizes. Some types of trees available include spring flowering, deciduous, evergreen, and privacy trees. The company also does tree transplanting including large trees. Their blog can be seen at or They can be reached at 360-563-2700.

Big Trees Inc.
10928 Springhetti Rd
Snohomish, WA 98296