I created pro looking landscape plan in just over an hour, with only paper, crayons, and a laptop

August 20, 2019

We have lived in our house for three years, and I've been actively renovating it for two and a half. Despite this, neighbors often ask me if we just moved in, because there's no signs of love or work on the outside of the house- until now! We are undertaking our biggest project yet, physically and financially, and completely overhauling the exterior of our house.


We're re-siding, replacing doors and windows, fully insulating the exterior walls, basement, and attic, and re-landscaping the backyard to adjust to the removal of a rotting wooden deck. If we could have put this off longer I think we would have, sheerly because of the expense, but the siding and deck were starting to literally crumble off the house.


We spent the winter and spring planning the siding and front door choices, and only now that the old siding is off and the deck is torn apart have I really been able to start thinking about our backyard plans. I saw this gorgeous tutorial for doing landscape and garden planning perspective drawings, and I knew I wanted to do something like that, but a) I don't have a printer, and b) am not the best painter/illustrator. But I had an idea.

After talking out our ideas, I sat down and did a rough sketch with pencil and crayons of what I wanted to go where: 


Then, I popped over to Google Maps to get a screenshot of the satellite view of our property:

I imported both images into photo editing software (I used PicMonkey, because it's available online with a free trial.) I layered my drawing over the satellite image and made it mostly transparent (in PicMonkey they refer to it as "Fade") so I could see how my drawing really measured up to the reality of our property, and what I would have to move around to make things work in real life. 

Then I used the shape tools to draw the new elements onto the photo, and turned the transparency of my drawing layer to nearly 100%. Using the text tool I labeled everything, and voila! I have a to-scale drawing of my landscape plans. Now I can figure out exactly how much mulch and pea gravel I need, and easily explain my plans to my husband and any other helpers we might recruit for the project. 



Our yard is our home's greatest asset; a deep lot for our city and full sun down the middle. I've been feeling guilty since we moved in that we haven't fully maximized our outdoor space, but I know we've just been busy making the inside more live-able. 

I can't wait to dig in once the new siding is up. Fall is such a great time to get your gardens all tucked in and ready for winter, get new beds going so they'll be ready for spring, plant wildflower seeds, and I'm hoping to get some late season grilling in. I'd much rather stand over a grill when it's 55F outside than 85F. Here's some screen grabs from Pinterest of some of my inspiration for this project:


 This gorgeous hops covered mini-pergola from homebrewtalk.com Did you know hops are a very healthy addition to a chicken's diet?


 This lovely pea gravel patio that a user uploaded directly to Pinterest. 



This adorable (and very DIY-able) fern ringed play house designed and built by David Bennett, I wish I could find the original source for this photo, Pinterest is all dead ends. It's just enough like Daniel Tiger's house that I think the kiddo will flip when we build it!


I'll be sure to update when the siding goes up, it's going to be a pretty amazing before and after!

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Hey, I'm Jillian, and I'm creating an extraordinary life on an ordinary budget. 

I'm just an actual person, trying to make sh*t work. I'm doing pretty okay at it.  About Me.

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Hey Jillian features articles on self-care and mental health, budget beauty, parenting, recipes and meal planning, DIY home improvement projects, and product reviews relevant to people who are interested in those things. xoxo Jillian
Jillian Kirby | Burlington, Vermont | Email me at hi@heyJilliankirby.com