I drew a couple quick sketches of my plans for my back and front yard. I've done scale drawings before, so I know the gist of the space I have. But these are unnecessarily time consuming, especially when my plans constantly change and evolve. However, it's a helpful exercise to help begin a to do list, and to help visualize what you want.
Here are a few tips when planning your own yard projects:
1. Observe other places
Take notice of what you like about other yards or public places. Raised beds, spaces for entertaining, or quiet areas for reading or having a morning coffee. What places in nature or in your travels have you most been at peace in, or been in awe of? Try to capture a little piece of that magic for your yard
2. Work with what you have
Try to work with what is currently existing in your yard. When we first moved in, I imagined digging up the huge concrete patio slab to put in something more aesthetically appealing, replacing the caraganas with something prettier, and doing away with the massive pine trees in the front and back yard. Instead, I contented myself with removing the very back row of caraganas where the patio slab ended, which opened up the yard a lot. I actually appreciate the privacy the other rows give to us.
I still have a pine tree in the back yard I want to remove to replace with a cherry tree. But I've come to love the two in the front yard.
3. Enjoy the Process
Be adaptable and enjoy the process. You may find some of your original ideas don't work. Don't let it discourage you - find a new way, and you will probably be happier in the end anyways.
4. Don't Obsess Over Planning
Don't spend too much time planning. Start doing. Your plans are likely to change anyways, but it won't be for the better unless you become better acquainted with your yard, and what you are capable of. Even if you are not financially in the position for your big plans, you can start by cleaning up weed patches, trimming hedges, planting a few flowers and vegetables, and a few cheap DIY projects with wood pallets or other recycled materials. You might find that your big ideas aren't even wanted or needed.
My current back yard plan:
My front yard plan (I spent much less time on this one! Backyard is my current priority):