Schematic Design – Process of Design

Schematic Design

This is how you start laying out your design in a rough plan. Loosely draw zones on your tracing paper overlay base plan with marker. Identify them according to needs and the privacy level you desire for the space. This helps you determine whether you need fences, buffer zones of plants for noise or dividing space. You can change your mind from rectilinear to graceful curves.

Now start further playing with site elevation. Remember if you add change of grade, you can add interest.

Our next design step will be Plan Development. This broken into two parts, but I will show both next post. The first is Preliminary Plan Development, showing the dimensions. The second is Final Plan Development showing the exact placement of plants. This includes the hardscape drawing.

The names of plants are not listed because that will vary on any plan you create. I will graphically show you how to place and show plant types with a drawing Key. After, we will talk about color and show the garden maturing over time. Plus a post on gardening with dogs.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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14 Responses to Schematic Design – Process of Design

  1. Jennifer says:

    I am always so impressed with how much effort and imagination you put into your blog posts. I am sure that your design tips will be a great assistance to gardeners looking to design or redesign their gardens.
    P. S. I really like your entry to the Mason Jar photo contest.

  2. Garden Sense says:

    I’ve been enjoying your series on the design process. Nice explanations and it’s great to see the photos of the site which illustrate what you’re planning. Beautiful design work.

  3. Rosie says:

    I like this stage of the planning. I usually do rough sketches, but nothing to scale. Looking forward to your post on gardening with dogs. Have been going crazy trying to get my schnauzer to stop bulldozing my heliconia plants.

  4. My garden went through so many re-designs on tracing paper laid over the outline, each one lived in my imagination for a while and was cherished before being vetoed by TOH or thrown out in favour of my next idea. It was all on a much smaller scale than you are describing, and no scope for changing levels etc., but even then it was invaluable for helping me think through flow and structure and how things would look from upstairs and out of the downstairs windows. Maybe one day I will have a project that demands some of the more sophisticated techniques you describe.

  5. Dear Donna – another very professional design post which leaves me overawed with your knowledge. Have to confess to feeling rather guilty at my approach to design which is more hands on, trial and error, stand back and look, and sigh with exasperation!

  6. lifeshighway says:

    Donna, unfortunately I belong in Laura’s camp. The standing sighing and trying something else approach. Hopefully, I am learning enough to start my own plan with more forethought and design.

  7. fer says:

    This is such a great series, I am so taking notes for my one day to be dream garden.
    Thank you for the advices

  8. Karen says:

    Donna, this series is amazing and a must-read for everyone who gardens. I wish we had approached our garden layout with as much thought and foresight; it would have saved us so much work. You’ve given us insight and direction for our next projects. Excellent posts, as always!

  9. TS says:

    Excellent and informative post, as usual! I’m also looking forward to your post on gardening with dogs, as I was considering creating the same post. :o) With five dogs underfoot, I’ve learned to garden around them. Maybe you could create a blog carnival about gardening with pets.

  10. Edith Hope says:

    Dear Donna, This is such a comprehensive posting and offers invaluable advice for anyone wishing to redesign or develop a garden. You present everything so clearly and methodically that it all seems very achievable. This is a great testament to your professional approach and, obviously an extensive range of practical knowledge.

  11. Greenearth says:

    Enjoyed your post. Time for me to get out my pencil and paper.

  12. What great information! This is such an informative series. I have a few to read yet since I was without my computer but I am enjoying them all.

  13. Alistair says:

    Donna, this really is valuable information. Like so many others, if only I heeded this sort of info, I would have had a garden of my dreams much sooner. Oh that makes me look like someone who has perfection, not the case, always working at it.

  14. reminds me of Landscape Design I and the good old days in the design lab at college. Greggo

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