Design Process
Developing Your Own Site Plan

This guide is to help the homeowner draw his own initial site plan without having to employ someone to survey the property. This plan is the drawing that a landscape design will be drawn on and is an inventory of all features on the site such as the house, property lines, easements, building setbacks, existing trees, shrubs, walks, drives, air-conditioning units and outbuildings. The degree of accuracy needed in the site plan depends on what it is to be used for. A planting plan requires less accuracy than a plan that is to include pools, patios, arbors, etc. If construction is anticipated, the site plan must be very precise.

The tools you will need are:

  • 100 foot long measuring tape

  • circle compass

  • 1/8 inch scale

  • straight edge

  • 1/8 inch graph paper

  • survey plat that accompanies your deed

With the exception of the plat, the above tools may be borrowed from our office for a short period of time.

  1. Start by measuring the outside of the house and noting the locations of doors, windows, hose bibs, roof overhangs, A/C units, and gutter downspouts. Then draw the house in the middle of the graph paper. Each square represents 1 square foot. It is sometimes easier to draw the house on a separate sheet and then trace it onto the graph paper to insure leaving enough room to accommodate the rest of the lot.
  2. Once the house is drawn on the graph paper, locate the street and the property lines. Start by measuring from corners of the house straight out to the street curb. For planting plan purposes, fences and their extensions can be considered property lines. For construction purposes, the property lines should be located by finding, if possible, the steel property pins at the property corners.
  3. Once the property lines have been drawn, draw the building setback lines according to your survey plat. Also align the house drawing with the plat and trace the north arrow.
  4. Next, locate the trees, walks, drives, outbuildings, and other site features. Trees can be located by measuring from 2 different corners of the house out to the tree trunk. Then use the compass to draw intersecting arcs that locate the tree trunk on the graph paper. Be sure to measure the distance between the 2 house corners to double check your drawing. Corners of walks, drives, and outbuildings can be located by the same method, but you will need to locate 2 or more corners of each feature. The sketch below should help explain the procedure.

Survey plat

A Typical Survey Plat
(normally included in your deed papers)

Trees sketch

If problems occur or if a situation exists that is not discussed here, please contact our office.


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