Mapping Chaos

In June 2019, I made a post called “Carefully Planned Chaos” which outlined all the changes that we had been making over the years as we developed the yard. From 2014-2017 I had used a simple map that I had drawn that was somewhat to scale but not really. As we made changes each year, I would re-draw the changes on the photocopy of the initial blank map. In 2018 I decided that it was getting to the point that we needed to properly map it out for a proper visual representation. I used a landscaping software…which I now cannot remember for the life of me. I liked how it turned out but it was a free week-long trial and I wasn’t willing to pay a few hundred dollars a year for this single purpose. In 2019 I ended up using the same program with another free trial to re-do the full yard map with all the changes. I have been exploring options for the last few weeks to have a program that I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for, but that I can keep adapting our layout with. So many have great trials and then the cost is high as it is meant for actual landscapers to use. Other free programs are limited and don’t do an overall picture that we need. Sketchup is on my list of programs to learn to use, but it is going to take me a bit, so perhaps I will be able to do our 2021 year end map with that.

So what did I use in the meantime? I went with a program that I know well and that offered me a bit of an option for a more accurate to-scale drawing. InDesign is by no means ideal for this sort of work, but I managed to make it work. I used the pixels as inches, which made the page size approx. 11″ x 26″. Not something that I would like to print out due to the size, but I can always scale it to a printable size if need be. Although it worked out, I again do not recommend this for the task of landscaping the yard. I just got impatient and knew that I could make it work.

I think one of the biggest challenges of a 2D map is that most of our property is sloped so it looks odd to see it in this sort of layout. But it gives a good review of the changes that we made. In the 2014-2017 maps, we just showed what we had done to the yard. In 2018 & 2019 I got gung-ho and showed what we had done as well as included what our future plans were. In retrospect, I wish that I hadn’t done that or had done 2 maps instead. I have gone back to showing just what the yard finished the year looking like. We know our plans but we also find our plans are constantly changing as we work on the yard. Is it similar to our end vision, absolutely. Has it shifted and changed multiple times as we think up new ways we want the yard to look, absolutely. That is the challenge with taking years to develop a yard. Had we paid someone to do the yard in the first year we would have been happy with the final look, but at the same time, I am glad we are able to adapt as we go. You can see in the below maps the changes that we have gone through.

One of the biggest changes was how our walls on the right side actually ended up being built, vs how we kept envisioning them. They will have a slight side slope and are not perfectly level. In past renditions, because we were visualizing it in 2D, the maps ended up looking very symmetrical and neat. We are happy with our actual end result, but putting it into a map was a little more messy and not as symmetrical or neat looking. It took a lot of measurements to get the proper curvatures and look. The funny thing is looking at the levels in person and they look more like the 2018 & 2019 maps. Due to the “slope” it looks a little odd when using actual measurements because the 2D wants to reflect the curving of the slope. Basically from where the backyard grass ends, is where the yard starts sloping down and it is a fairly steep slope. There is also a second slope where the hill was built up around the shop, so there are also side-hills.

It got the job done and gave us a rough layout to ponder over the next few months as we finalize plans for the spring. First thing will be getting Kurt “The Digger” working on the right side slope so that we can finish building rock walls. I figure if I suck it up this year and work my butt off, next year I will not need to haul rocks up and down the hill!

In the meantime, I am planning on getting the supplies to start our king-size bed frame build which will domino into new flooring, drywalling in the basement and a few other interior projects. I also bought some beautiful hardwoods to try my hand at some cutting boards and coasters, so I have lots of upcoming things to keep me busy!


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