Garden map drawing tutorial for your vegetable garden

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Drawing a map of your future garden is possibly the most fun part of garden planning! When the soil outside is cold and frozen, dreaming about how your vegetable garden will look in just a few months is incredibly satisfying. I love to get out some pencil crayons in the middle of winter and draw out a lovely garden map.

Garden planning tutorial - how to draw a garden layout map | home for the harvest

Mapping out your vegetable garden will make planting so much easier

Planning your garden is a wonderful way to beat the winter blues. Proper planning will also make your garden planting so much easier once it does warm up outside.

Garden beds are an important part of this planning process as they help define the space and keep your plants separate. Think about what types of vegetables you’d like to grow and how much space each plant will need. It also helps to note any particular sun or shade needs for each type of plant. With this information in hand, you can map out your garden beds with precision and accuracy.

 Just follow the garden plan you’ve created for yourself and you’ll find that the process of planting your garden outdoors is easy and fun if you’ve got a proper plan. Don’t forget to use your free garden planner if you don’t already have a copy!

Getting ready to draw your vegetable garden layout

Before you start drawing out your garden layout, ensure that you’ve selected your crops, decided how many plants of each crop to grow, and calculated how much area each crop will need. You won’t be able to draw an effective map without first planning your plants out properly. When you have your crops selected and your area ready to grow your desired number of plants, you’re almost ready to start mapping!

Plan your garden layout - how to draw a garden map | home for the harvest

Go outside and measure your garden

Yes, this is required pre-work. Go outside and measure your available vegetable garden space/plant spacing limits. If you don’t yet have a garden, now is a great time to plan the sizing details out. You’ll already have estimated your total available area in the garden planner, so use that as a guide. You can use this garden size calculator to get an idea of the square footage you’re working with.

While you’re outside, take note of environmental factors such as common wind directions, shadows from other structures, the locations of large oak trees, and which areas get the most sun. These factors will affect where you place your plants. As you imagine your future garden in the space before you, you’ll naturally start to consider your preferred garden plan and where everything should go.

Most beginner gardeners start with in-ground gardens or container gardens. Most experienced gardeners tend to use raised bed gardens as they are both easier to use and more productive in terms of harvest.

Plan your garden layout - how to draw a remarkably effective garden map | home for the harvest

Supplies: Gather these items for your garden map

  • Garden Planner
  • Pencil
  • Thin black pen
  • Pencil crayons
  • Ruler
  • Tape measure (if your garden size is unknown)
Plan your garden layout - how to draw a garden map | home for the harvest

Steps on how to map out your garden layout

Your garden planner includes a handy-dandy layout mapping page. Get your planner out, along with some stationery. I usually use a ruler, pencil, thin black sharpie, and pencil crayons for the garden mapping process.

Step 1. Set a scale for your garden layout map

Mapping out your garden begins with setting a proper scale. I like to draw out my garden layout so that each box on my garden map represents one square foot of real garden soil. It doesn’t matter what scale you set, it just matters that you use it consistently as you make your map.

You’ll have to have the real outdoor dimensions of your garden to complete this step. If you’ve not already measured your garden (or planned out where it will go), now is a good time.

Step 2. Draw the framework onto your garden layout map

Once you’ve decided on a scale, it’s time to draw out the perimeters of your garden on your map. Use a pen or dark color to draw the outside of your garden onto the mapping page (or graph paper). Write the length of each real side beside each side you draw.

At this point, it’s also helpful to draw in environmental factors. This includes common wind directions, rainy or dry areas, the direction of water drainage (lowest area), the pattern of the sun, and any shadows from large structures or trees. These factors will be important as you decide which crops to place in different areas of your garden map.

Step 3. Draw your crops onto your garden layout map

Now that the framework is set, you can get to work penciling in your crops. When drawing in your crops, consider each crop’s specific needs. Consult the seed packets or catalog/website from which you ordered the seeds to get the specific details.

Some plants, such as salad greens, don’t need too much sun and actually prefer shade during hot afternoons. Other plants like all the sun they can get (as long as they have enough water)! Some plants like lots of water, while others are fairly drought-tolerant. Think about the unique features of your garden, and be sure to take the suggestions for each crop into account when choosing where to place things.

Use the required area you’ve calculated in your garden planner to draw in the area for each crop on the garden layout map. Use a different color of pencil crayon for each crop to shade in the area of the garden used for that crop. Record your crop colors in the legend on the first mapping page. You can also draw a black dot for each plant if you like (especially for the plants that take up lots of room – maybe not for carrots – but hey, you do you).

For More Ideas: My Garden Planning Pinterest Board

Free garden planner printable - includes crop selection, garden layout mapping, and making a planting schedule | home for the harvest

Fill in the rest of your garden planner

Once you’ve drawn in the perimeter of your garden, penciled in other factors like trees, paths, and buildings, and sketched in all your crops, you’ll have a very clear idea of what your garden will look like in the spring.

Those are the basics of garden layout mapping – and you can even take it one step further by using tools such as Google Maps or satellite imagery to get an even better view of the area. By taking advantage of these resources, you can make sure that your plants have enough space and proper sunlight exposure to grow healthily. It will be easy to plant your crops outside now that you have a simple, easy-to-follow plan of where to plant things!

Having a plan helps to allow for smart thinking and create guidelines for what to expect. To learn more about creating a garden map, click here!

FAQ’S about drawing a garden map!

Can beginner gardeners create garden maps?

Yes, beginner gardeners can create garden maps! Creating a map of your garden is a great way to plan your gardening activities and keep track of what you have planted, where it is located, and when it was planted. It can also help you to visualize how your garden will look once it is fully grown.

Is a gardening app (mobile) better then drawing a gardening map by hand?

A gardening app can be a great tool for planning and organizing your garden, and it may offer some advantages over drawing a gardening map by hand. Here are some ways that a gardening app could be better than a hand-drawn map:
More precise measurements: Gardening apps often have tools that allow you to measure your garden space more accurately than you might be able to do by hand. This can be especially helpful if you have a large or irregularly shaped garden.
Interactive features: Some gardening apps allow you to interact with your garden map in various ways. For example, you might be able to tap on a plant to get more information about it, or to track your watering and fertilizing schedule.
Updated information: A gardening app can provide you with up-to-date information about your plants, such as their ideal growing conditions and common pests and diseases. This information can help you make informed decisions about what to plant and how to care for your garden.
Convenience: With a gardening app, you can access your garden map and other information from anywhere, at any time. You can also easily make changes to your map and update your gardening plans as needed.
That being said, drawing a gardening map by hand can also be a fun and creative way to plan your garden. It allows you to be more hands-on and artistic in your approach, and can be a great way to get a better sense of the layout and design of your garden. Ultimately, the choice between a gardening app and a hand-drawn map will depend on your personal preferences and the specific needs of your garden.



Garden map planning

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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also a professional engineer, certified permaculture garden designer, and master gardener in training. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.