Once you have decided where to put the perennial garden and have a rough idea of what it will look like, it’s time to get out the paper and draw a plan. The plan is the way you take notes as you think about plants. It will help you place them and decide how many of each you need.
Graph paper makes it fairly simple to get a realistic picture of your space and proportions. It’s easiest to work with paper that has 4 squares to the inch, allowing each square to represent 1 square foot of garden space.
Outline the shapes of your beds and borders on the paper. Number the list of plant choices, and write the numbers on the plan in the position you are considering for each plant. Include information on various plant characteristics to get a better picture of the garden. Symbols for these characteristics might be T, M, and S (tall, medium, and short) for height and BT, MT, and FT for bold, medium, and fine texture. It’s helpful to use colored pencils to indicate color.
If a succession of bloom is planned, use overlays of tracing paper to get an idea of how the garden will appear at different times of the year. The plan can be simple or complex. Draw as many plans as it takes to find a garden plan that clicks.