Once you have completed the dimensional survey and have a list of figures that comprise the measurements of your garden, you are ready to transfer this information to a scale drawing. This will form the basis of your final design and allow you to plan the features, planting and furnishings in accordance with the limitations of your available space. The plan will also be the basis of your total cost estimate – important to some people like clients and those of us on a budget.
As with the survey, the preparation of a scale drawing is a straightforward business, but one that confuses many people. Drawing something to scale is simply reducing in equal proportion all the dimensions of the object, in this case, a garden project, to a size that can be shown on a piece of paper. At it’s simplest, if you take a dinner plate that is twelve inches in diameter and draw it on a paper so that it appears to be six inches across, then you have reduced the plate by a scale of 1:2. If you reduced it four times, it would be a scale of 1:4 and the drawing would be three inches across; if twenty times, 1:20 etc. Of course, there comes a point at which any further reduction results in an object on a piece of paper that is entirely too small to be useful – or even legible, some folks are certain my handwriting fits into that category. Choose a scale that is small enough to fit on a piece of paper, but large enough to allow sufficient detail in your work and remain sufficiently visible to you as you age.
In the case of most gardens, this scale is usually 1:100, or each eighth of an inch of drawing represents a foot of garden. In smaller gardens, try to work with 1:20 or 1:25 or even 1:50.
Before you make the drawing, make sure the finished plan will fit on your piece of paper by checking the overall measurements and converting them to a scale. If the garden measures 40’ by 20’, then by using a scale of ” to 1 foot (for practical purposes, 1:100), the final drawing will be 10” by 5” and will fit on a typical piece of paper.
Many people prefer to tape graph paper down to a board or a table (in my experience a board is more portable and can be taken into the garden and on fact finding forays to a nursery more easily than a table) and tape a sheet of tracing paper over it. Start near one of the corners, number the grid in inches up and across the sheet. Take your survey information and transfer the measurements onto the scale drawing.
Once you have lain your lines on the paper to show the layout of the space that will become your garden, indicate important items like the placement of drains, faucets, power outlets, doors and windows that open into the garden. Then indicate the position of sunlight obstructions and views that extend beyond the garden.
Soon you will have a complete drawing that encompasses your garden in detail, but in miniature. Indicate the direction of north on your drawing. This will prove invaluable as your design progresses.
Do not use this original for actual work, but photocopy it several times and use the photocopies for different parts of your work – keep the original separate in a file that you can go back to for additional photocopies as needed.