How to make a rough working Base Map

It’s time to plan your garden for the coming growing season.  To maximize your plot, I find it helpful to make a base map as your foundation for site analysis.  To do a complete analysis, you will want to survey your property and have accurate measurements.  Here is how to make a rough working base map using google maps.

1) Go to and enter in your address.

2) Zoom in until the boundaries of your property are as big as possible in the map.  Make sure the map contains all of your boundaries.

3) Do a screenshot.  Hit shift, command, 4 (at the same time) and a cursor will appear. Move the cursor to the top left corner of the map.  While continuing to hold down the keys, move your mouse to the bottom right corner of the image that you want shown in your map.  Lift up on the keys when the box contains the scope of your base map and some margins.  Margins are helpful for any information that you may want to write on the document.  Make sure you include the scale in the screen shot (found on the bottom left of the screen).

4) Print this image.

5) Trace the outlines of your property and any features that will not change as you design your landscape, such as your house, large trees, driveway, etc.

6) Make sure to label your map with your address and include a north indicator.

7) If you want to take this a step further, visit to figure out the solar aspect on site throughout the year.

Below is a picture of my screenshot of my house.

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 10.42.43 AM

This is my “to scale” basemap, created by measuring the exact dimensions of the property.



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