Begin by making a scale drawing of your property. Include property lines, house, garage, other structures, driveway, and sidewalks. Here are key elements to mark on the base plan. Climate. Mark north, the direction summer and winter winds blow, and any microclimates you have noticed. Light exposure. Mark full-sun areas and partial/full-shade areas. Indicate how sunlight levels change during the day and in different seasons. Slope. Mark flat places and indicate poorly drained areas and steep slopes. Soil. Have a soil test done to determine soil pH and nutrient levels. Existing plants. Identify the plants on your property and note their condition. Make note of those that may need to be removed. Buildings. Think about shape, roofline, and location of doors and windows. Note construction mate-rials, which can be repeated in walkways, patios, and decks. Views. Consider views from inside the house, as well as from outdoor living spaces. Note attractive views to enhance, and poor views to screen. Utilities. Mark the location of all utilities. Call your local utility location service to mark underground utilities. Once your base plan is completed, think about whether your landscape priorities need to be changed to fit the site.