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.  To learn how to do this, visit:

4) You can either print this image or import it into powerpoint or another program where you can draw on top of the digital image.

5) Using an overlay piece of tracing paper, 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.

If you are doing this digitally, you can trace over your major features as well.   Once you have everything on the map, delete the digital image.  A simplified base map will remain.

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

7) Photocopy the map to put it on a sturdier piece of paper than the tracing paper.

7) If you want to take this a step further, visit to figure out how the sun impacts your site from the winter solstice to the summer solstice.

Below is a picture of my screenshot of my house.Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 9.43.08 AM.png

This is my “to scale” basemap, created by measuring the exact dimensions of the property. It is missing the scale.  I like to work on large paper to allow space for many details as I develop the design.

working base map.jpg

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