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Design Tutorial

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Designing your yard doesn't take a professional, just a little help from us. A professionally designed yard adds value and beauty to your home. brings that professionalism to the homeowner in a simple and easy fashion.

Our trees are selected by a landscape architect, and we use only hardy and popular trees that add year round beauty to your yard. Where do you place the trees within your yard? Just follow this design tutorial and your yard will look like you knew exactly what you were doing! At, it's our goal to make your look good.

Things You'll Need

  • Access to Here you will have access to all the information you need to make decisions about your yard.
  • Imagination: This never hurts when you are designing anything.
  • Friends and Family: It is best to have some people around to bounce ideas off of. Also, you will need plenty of people to stand around the yard and pretend like they are trees!
  • Tape measure: You need to make sure you maintain the correct distances for any obstacles.
  • Flags or stakes: So you can temporarily mark where things will go.
  • A nice day: While you can certainly do all of this indoors, it is nice to get outside and take a good hard look at your yard.
  • 1/4" Grid Paper: You can pick this up anywhere that sells paper, or print some by clicking here.
  • Pencil With Eraser: Trust us, you will need the eraser!
  • Ruler: Or a straight edge of some sort.
  • Colored Pencils: If you would like to add color to your drawing. Resources

  • Advanced Search Options: On, you can shop by tree type if you aren't sure what is right for your yard. You can shop by tree species if you already have a good idea of what you need. You can also search our entire site if you are looking for something specific.
  • Detailed Tree Descriptions: If you select a specific tree you can view that particular tree's vital info, full plant description (including why it rocks, where to put it, and what it needs), rating, and any user reviews.
  • Tree Selection Guide: This guide will give you detailed information about tree selection, and breakdowns of each area of the yard with suggested trees for those areas.
  • Tree Layout Guide: Once you know what trees you need, this guide will help you figure out which trees go where.

    To get started selecting the right trees for your yard use the above resources, and you should have no problems at all. If you still have questions feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email!

Step One: Select Your Trees

This is the fun part. This is where you get to choose between stately shade trees and colorful ornamentals; where you can become the artist and your yard becomes a blank canvas. You can choose to add a little color here or maybe a little extra shade over there, custom tailoring your environment to suit your families' needs.

Reading through our Tree Selection Guide and viewing tree descriptions on our website will assure you make the best decisions when selecting trees for your yard.

Step Two: Layout Your Trees

Ok, so you know what trees you want. Now all we have to do is figure out exactly where to put them. Again, this seems complicated for some, but there really isn't anything to it. This part should also be done out in the yard where you can get the best idea of what things will look like.

All you need to do is read through our Tree Layout Guide, and it will give you the details you need to place trees correctly in your landscape.

Now that you have decided which trees you want and where you want them, all the hard work is done! You can either go ahead and purchase your trees, or continue on and actually sketch your design.

Step Three: Create a Base Map

For this step you will need your 1/4" grid paper, pencil, and a ruler. You may also choose to use a compass or other round template for making curved edges. Keep in mind that making a good landscape design sketch does not require any special artistic ability, although it never hurts. So...let's get started!

Draw Boundaries

Every good design starts with a basic structure. If it is available to you, your plat of survey (you know that map thingy they gave you when you bought the house) will be immensely beneficial. It will give you the exact measurements of the lot and the structures on the property. If you do not have the plat of survey then you must measure your lot either with a very long tape measure, or by counting the amount of step or paces each boundary line is. These measurements do not need to be exact, but they should be as accurate of estimation as you can get.

For the purposes of this tutorial each square on our 1/4" graph paper will represent 1 foot, and everything will be drawn in accurate dimensions. If need be you can adjust this accordingly and each square can represent 2 feet or 6 inches.

Using your pencil and ruler draw your boundary lines to scale. This means if your lot is 100' by 50', you will draw a box that is 100 squares by 50 squares on your grid paper.

Draw Existing Structures

After you draw in the boundaries, the next step is to draw in all existing structures. This includes any buildings, trees, patios, play sets, fences, etc. Make sure to measure all these structures, and also to measure the distances they are from the boundary. When you draw your design you want all the measurements to be correct, but you also want everything to be in the correct place. For existing trees you want to approximate their mature canopy spread and figure that into the design as well- you don't want to put things too close together.

Step Four: Sketch Your Design

Sketching your design will really allow your ideas to come to life right in front of you. This will help you identify potential problems or perhaps make necessary adjustments. Just the act of drawing everything out will help make sense of all the jumbled ideas inside of your head and will provide a payoff for all the planning you have done to this point.

You have already selected your trees and identified how to lay them out, now it is time to draw in all of the trees you have chosen. Be sure to keep in mind the areas that you identified in the previous step and plan accordingly. Trees represent the backbone of your landscape so make sure to put them where you want them.

Trees should be represented as a large circle, make sure to draw them at their mature size so you can get a real life idea of how much room they are going to take up. Vary the circle pattern slightly to represent different types of trees.

Now that you have something on paper, all the design work is done. You can either go ahead and purchase your trees, or continue on to get even more detailed.

Draw Shrubs/Flowers

Add in your smaller accent features such as shrubs and flowers. Again, make sure to represent the shrubs at their mature size; some of them can get extremely large. As a general rule of landscape design, plants look best in odd numbered groups. Also, try not to plant things in a straight line unless you are going for a formal look.

Try to design your flower beds in layers. Start by placing evergreen shrubs, such as Boxwood or Yew, in the very back to provide a color base and a backdrop for the rest of the landscape. Proceed to build out from there based on different types of plant you like. The very front of the landscape should be annuals and other small flowers. Make sure not to plant shrubs close to the front that are going to grow very large and block the view of the plants behind it.

Add Color

Using your colored pencils really helps bring your drawing to life. Color in the areas that will be grass or mulch, and pick which season it is and color each plant appropriately. If you make a photocopy before this step you can color your design in each season. Look at the color and make sure your design has balance and diversity.

Updated on 28 Nov 2023