Gardening Plans
How to Measure your Garden

Starting Gardening Plans...

Learn how to measure your garden. Create practical gardening plans with accurate measurements...

Don't get in a tangle - basic instructions to help you measure your plot....

After deciding what you want and need and assessing your plot, it is best to start planning your garden design ideas out on paper...

To create garden layouts properly, that you can use to create a wonderful garden, you will need accurate measurements of your garden.

If you aren't used to measuring, it can be easy to get into a right tangled mess!

Don't get all tied up with it though - if you approach measuring for your gardening plans in a calm and considered manner, the measuring can all be done quite simply...

...and without too much hassle!

It is usually easier to measure your garden layouts with 2 people, so, if possible, do this job with a friend.

Measuring for your Garden Plans

You will need:

  • Someone to help
  • A long tape measure (preferably 100ft/30m)
  • Pen and paper

How to Measure for Planning a Garden

  1. First, draw a rough sketch of the garden outline from above. Look down from an upstairs window if you have one - if not, just do your best.
  2. If you have a large garden, you can tape 2 or more pieces of paper together, so it will fit on comfortably.
  3. Mark on the rough positions of the main:
    • features
    • outbuildings
    • paths
    • trees
    • flowerbeds
  4. Choose to measure in metric (meters and centimeters) or imperial (feet and inches) - and stick to this throughout!
  5. Choose a position to start, and measure around the boundaries, including the house, windows and doors.
  6. Take 'running measurements'...

    gardening plans - taking running measurements

    ...or measure in small sections...

  7. gardening plans - taking section measurements

  8. Measure all the boundaries, and also the diagonals

  9. gardening plans - basic measuring involves boundaries and diagonals

  10. Take measurements at right angles from the boundary, to plot on any features

  11. gardening plans - basic method for adding features to your plan

Advanced Measuring for Gardening Plans

The above measuring instructions for garden layouts are great for simple, and small, gardens...

...but for any gardens which are slightly more complicated, you really might struggle to create a clear garden layout plan.

There is another way of measuring your garden, which you might actually find easier, and more suited to your particular garden.

This is called 'Triangulation' - and is not so scary as it perhaps sounds - just another way of doing it...

I actually find this way of measuring easier, and use it most of the time.

You simply need to create a triangle, in order to locate the position of a feature.

For example:

To locate the position of a tree:

  • Measure the length of the closest boundary (or house)
  • Then measure the distance from each end of the boundary to the tree

  • Basic triangulation measuring for gardening plans

  • Structures such as a shed, or a patio, can also be measured in this way...

    ...later, we can draw an accurate plan with a pair of compasses, to draw arcs of the right length, to plot the exact site of the tree.

  • You can also measure from a fixed (measured) point along a boundary too, to a structure...

  • advanced triangulation measuring methods for gardening plans

  • You can also use both (either) methods to measure and plot a curved boundary or flower bed...

    Take a series of measurements at fixed points along the boundaries...

  • two different methods for curved boundaries and features on your gardening plans

  • With the combination of these measuring methods for your gardening plans, you should be able to come up with a complete sketch of your garden, with measurements.
  • Remember, this is not an accurate garden layout plan to scale, this is just a sketch, with measurements, that you will draw your plan from...
  • Your sketch plan will probably look something like this. This is my sketch plan for my back garden.

  • Gardening plans - my sketch plan for my garden

    Click here to see a larger image
    (Opens in a new window)

  • You can also make any notes you like on your plan - anything that will help you - just remember to keep it clear and readable.

Next, we'll develop your garden design plans further, and use this sketch plan to draw proper layout gardening plans...

Next step - Click here to learn how to draw garden layout plans

More information about Drawing Garden Layouts at Home

Learn about measuring and drawing slopes in your garden - Sloping Garden Design - Assessing your Slopes

Return to the main list of steps for designing your garden

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