Articles / Garden Design / Garden Design: Make a Site Plan

5 min read | by Ben Walcott, Updated April 2, 2019



It may seem overly professional to make a site plan but it really does help. It doesn’t have to be too fancy, just sketches on a piece of graph paper can help. The following are a list of things you should put on the site plan (from: Australian Plants for Canberra region gardens):


  • all buildings and obstacles that create shade, including winter and summer shade patterns
  • driveways and existing paths
  • any features (rocks etc) or vegetation worth retaining
  • any underground or overhead easements and services to the property and their limitations
  • the slope and aspect of your site
  • existing microclimates
  • the position of water tanks, run-off swales (permeable water courses) and, if required, irrigation systems
  • the position of your neighbour’s structures and associated limitations.


Consider carefully the position of the sun over the course of a year. How much sun does each area of the garden get. This will help in selecting plants that will thrive in your garden.

Once the plan is made, you can overlay it with tracing paper and add the plants that you want. Remember to give the plants enough room to grow so the garden might look a bit thin in the beginning. Also remember that the label on the plant may not represent how it will do in your garden. A plant that says it grows to 1 metre wide may be bigger or smaller. Only time will tell.