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Create a Scale Drawing


Working with a scale drawing allows you to create a plan that has real dimensions. With a scale drawing you can determine how much space you’ll need for a project.

Grid paper and a 100' outdoor measuring tape

If you are interested in creating a plan for your yard or for a specific area of the yard, it may be a great help to you to make a scaled drawing so that you can determine if you have the room for all of your ideas. You may already be familiar with grid paper if you ever did a layout for one of the rooms in your house.

Probably the two most helpful scales that you can utilize in planning your yard are 1” = 10’, for a drawing that will cover a larger area, and ¼” = 1’, for a more detailed look at a specific area. Each will have its own value in determining what will work in your yard and will help you visualize the final results.

A simple way to accomplish a scaled drawing is to use grid paper which comes in 8 ½” x 11” sheets that can be bought at an office supply store or larger size sheets that can be bought at art supply stores. The purpose of using grid paper is to make sure your ideas and items from your wish list will fit in your yard.

The 1” = 10’ scaled drawing can be drawn on a 10 x 10 square grid paper where every square equals one foot. This gives you a ‘zoomed out’ view of your yard and allows you to see how different use areas will work together.

The ¼” = 1’ (or another way to say it is 1” = 4’) scaled drawing of a specific area of your yard can be drawn on a 4 x 4 square grid paper (also called ¼ inch grid) where every square equals one foot. This gives you a ‘zoomed in’ view to help work out the details of a specific area of your yard such as a brick patio. It may be helpful to read  ‘The Basics of Sizing a Patio’.

Using grid paper is also helpful for locating existing elements in your yard to include on your plan, such as your house, trees, etc. After you work out your plan and before you build, you will need to check your local building code. You may also need to verify if you will need your property and setback lines, and easements located.

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