Measuring your garden

A guide to measuring your garden

Here is a step-by-step guide to measuring your garden with examples to demonstrate the measurements required and how to make them. This will help with awkward features and shapes and should enable you to produce quick accurate dimensions. 

The more accurate the measuring, the more accurate the design and the more accurate the costings ! 

You will need:

  • 30m tape for longer boundary and house measurements
  • 8m tape for shorter measurements
  • Graph paper to make marking on measurements easy
  • Pencil and Eraser
  • Camera / Smartphone

Sketch out the boundaries of your garden. If possible, try to make this sketch proportional to the garden so that it looks like a birds eye view of the area. 

Boundary Layout


Next, measure the house and mark each length of wall, window or door. These can be labelled to add clarity. You can also show which way doors open using an arrow. 

Wall measurements

Now add the boundaries by either measuring the whole length or if the fence is built using regular panels, by measuring one panel and then drawing the correct number of panels onto your paper. If any panels are shorter than normal, these will need to be measured and shown on the drawing. (1) If the boundary has angled sides, choose two points within the garden and measure from these to the angled corner to determine its exact position. (2) 

Fence panels and boundary adjustments

Drain covers should be shown as either circles or rectangles with a cross inside and should be measured from two different directions to locate its position. (3) 

Drain and service covers

Next add other features in the garden that are being retained (don’t show items that are to be removed). These again can be measured as a distance from the house or a boundary fence and if possible measure from two different directions to plot its exact position. 

Items that are an irregular shape (such as a pond in the example) can be treated as a rectangle or square to make the measuring easier. The overall size of the item is measured followed by the position measured from two different locations (in this case the wall and fence). A rectangle or square can then be drawn in this position. The shape of the item can be drawn as accurately as possible within this rectangle or square. (4) 

Irregular shaped items

Features such as planting can be shown by relating their position to the fences (if there are any) behind. In the example the area of shrubs extends one and a half panels along the side fence and three quarters along the rear fence. (5) Don’t worry if you are not sure of the names of the plants or trees, photographs may help identify them at a later time.

Locate and show shrubs

If your garden is sloping, this needs to be shown on the drawing. If walls are present that retain a higher or lower ground level, the height of this wall should be shown. (6) If the ground slopes, this can be shown on the drawing with a simple arrow pointing down the slope. (7) If you can estimate the amount the garden slopes this should also be shown. You can use panel fencing to measure the slope by measuring the height difference from one panel to the next and showing this on the drawing. (8) 

If you have any circular features in the garden these should be measured showing the diameter of the circle and the location of the centre measured from two separate points. 

Show slopes and height differences

If possible, take lots of photographs of the exisiting garden and house. These will help enormously with both the drawing and the design at a later time.