With a site analysis and personal inventory in hand, you've already accomplished a large part of the design. Now take it a step further by thinking of your yard as a whole and drawing a conceptual plan. Using the process outlined below, you'll identify general use areas that you need or want.
First, make a list of the basic ways you use different parts of your property and the unique requirements of each. The following general use areas should spark your thinking:
- Recreation. Play areas for children, volleyball, croquet, horseshoes, and other active sports, as well as passive recreation such as reading and relaxing.
- Entertainment. Outdoor cooking areas, places to sit, rooms with a view.
- Utility. Areas for storage, garbage, recycling and composting.
- Circulation. The main traffic areas, including parking, driveways, and entryways to the house.
- Private space. Areas that you want to be secluded. These may overlap with entertainment and recreation.
- Public space. Areas that may not be used much by you or your family but are seen by your neighbors or passersby.
Look at your list of use areas and think about how the concepts relate. For example, you don't want to locate the garbage can near an entertainment area.
Lay tracing paper over your base map and shade rough areas -- or bubbles -- as shown in the illustration above. Within each bubble, note the parts of your personal inventory that could occur in that area. Draw as many of these rough, conceptual plans as you need to work out various scenarios until you find one that includes as many elements as you need.
Continued on page 2: Step 2: The Preliminary Plan