Garden Plan

Residential landscape example

What is a Garden Plan?

What kind of garden are you planning? Perhaps your taste runs to a traditional Dutch garden with plenty of tulips in a dense, efficient, and symmetrical space. Or maybe an English garden, with stately lawns, hedges, and architectural features is your style. Then there's the Japanese garden, using an abstract and stylized design with a koi pond and brilliantly colored flowers and trees. Maybe you are after a functional garden of edible flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Regardless of the type you choose, creating a garden plan is the best way to make sure it turns out the way you want.

Tips Before You Start Your Garden Plan

Before you start planning your garden project, get some basic information.

  • Homeowners' Association Rules. If your property is governed by a homeowners' association, you need to make sure your garden plan complies with its requirements. This may also require a review of your plans before you can begin installing your garden.
  • Check Before You Dig. Make sure you contact your local utility providers before you start digging to plant trees or irrigation lines. Most municipalities have a "call before you dig" service. In U.S. cities, dial 811 or visit They will visit the property and show the locations of any buried cables and conduit.

Designing a Garden Plan

Here are a few things to consider before you start designing your garden.

  • Determine your budget. This may not be the most fun part of the garden planning and design process, but it's a good idea to set a realistic budget for your project.
  • Make a list of features. If you haven't done this already, look at some garden plans to gather ideas. You can go online, or visit local nurseries and botanical gardens for ideas. Some of these might include:
    • Varieties of trees and plants
    • Irrigation systems
    • Types of planter boxes or containers
    • Water features
    • Rocks, gravel, mulch
    • Bridges, pergolas, benches, statuary, etc.
  • Determine the Size of the Garden. Is your garden going to cover your entire property, or just a portion of it? Be sure to consider not only installation cost but also maintenance time and expense.
  • Don't Forget Weather Factors. Take time to note sunny and shady areas of your garden at different parts of the day. Also bear in mind that these will shift throughout the year. Plan your garden so that your plants will be able to thrive in their mini-environments.
  • Consider Using Native Plants. When planning a garden, it's tempting to pick out exotic plants imported from somewhere else or to try and re-create a garden from "back home." But you'll get better results if you use plants that are native to your area or from a compatible climate zone. They can also provide a valuable source of food for birds, butterflies, and other indigenous fauna.
Garden landscape design

How to Design a Garden Plan

SmartDraw offers various options for you to draw a garden plan. Use a pre-designed template and make changes to it or create your own from a blank canvas.

Residential landscape templates

SmartDraw also provides a large symbols library. Simply click and place trees, plants, containers, and many other features into your garden plan. You can even place tables, chairs, lounges, and other outdoor furniture on your plan to make sure your garden is a perfect, relaxing oasis.

To learn more, watch this brief video, Creating Landscapes with SmartDraw.

Garden Plan Examples

Click on any of these garden plans included in SmartDraw and edit them:

Browse SmartDraw's entire collection of garden plan examples and templates

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