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Looking at Your Yard Today
you begin with a simple drawing of your existing landscape, known as
a base map, you lay the groundwork for an organized approach to more
doable and affordable landscape improvements.
your time with this important step. Subsequent drawings -- the site
analysis and the conceptual, preliminary, and final designs -- all
use the base map as a starting point. The accuracy of the base map
makes it a dependable tool, which in turn helps ensure the success
of any project, large or small.
Preparing a Base
First, obtain a map that shows the exact size and shape of your
property. This may be the plat, a deed map, the architect's or
builder's plans, or a topographical plan with contour lines showing
the site's elevation or gradations. The map should include the fixed
structures and hardscape -- the house, driveway, sidewalks, fences,
walls -- and their measurements.
map shows the location of the house on the
lot, as well as the lot lines and set-backs.
Plats are useful for locating easements on a property, but not every
state plats lots. Depending on where you live, a plat may have been
included in the papers you acquired when purchasing your home. If
not, you may be able to obtain it from the city or county assessor's
office. There may be a fee for this service. While you are asking
for a plat of your property, also ask for a copy of all local
ordinances regarding easements, height restrictions, and any other
regulations that may have an effect on your landscaping project.
several copies of the plat; label and store the original in a safe
place. Then get ready to create your base map by gathering a few
materials that will make the task easier: a 100-foot tape measure,
plenty of sharp pencils, graph paper, and tracing paper. As you
measure your property, follow the tips on the next page.
sure the measurements on your map are accurate; mark any changes on
a copy of the plat map. Measure the outside dimensions of the lot,
house, garage, and any other major structures or hardscape areas.
Record the measurements.