Garden plan for planning application

I’ve seen Sketchup as a common answer in several forums to “I want to create a 2D plan of my garden” even though in my limited experience it’s a tool with a reasonably steep learning curve. But we can’t find anything more targeted which isn’t terrible so…

In the UK we need to submit pre-planning applications to use our garden for business purposes, including a scale drawing of our garden. I have taken measurements to get a sketch which is a fairly arbitrary polygon and would like to build this in SU as a shape I can tinker with… clearly my measurements won’t exactly line up as they are approximate and taken in paces.

Is the best way to simply use the line tool, entering my measured distances, then close the boundary up to a polygon and adjust manually (we don’t need an incredibly accurate plan)?
I’ve already found that once I create a set of joined lines, I can’t just type in new lengths.

I am worried I’ll sink time into this and find it’s not a good solution so… is it? Can I print out a version with dimensions and measurements?
BTW I know SU can import geographic data but our garden is so wooded satellite views aren’t helpful and no map illustrates the boundary of the garden specifically, only our entire property. So I need to do it by hand, though overlaying it on an OS map or something might be useful?

Thanks for any general or specific help. I’d heard there was a plugin for the Pro version but is it worth looking into?

If I’m understanding you correctly you’re wanting to recreate a sketch with measurements you’ve made inside of SketchUp. I don’t see why SketchUp wouldn’t work for what you’re wanting. I’m sure we’d be able to help you better if you were to include an example of something similar to what you’re after or perhaps a little more detailed explanation.

I’m in the UK so I can answer this as it is the kind of thing I do.

For a planning application, you will need an OS extract anyway. I would get one in DXF format so that you can import it into SU. It may not be accurate enough for your purposes but will give a framework and can be used for the location plan too.

Best to start any drawing with a rectangle larger than your site onto which you draw your lines representing boundaries, etc. That way you ensure everything is in the same plane and not floating around in space.

TBH, I am not bowled over by the range and quality of vegetation components that are available online (trees, shrubs, hedges, etc) if you plan to use them, not least because so many are tropical. But if you don’t need that, you should be fine.

You haven’t completed your profile so it’s hard to be able to advise further.

I’m not sure what elements of my profile are missing or why they are relevant, can you clarify?

For a pre-planning application a sketch is adequate (in fact we’re not sure it’s needed at all) but if we need a proper plan later you raise a good point we might as well do that. However the irregular shape of the boundaries and seemingly low-res maps I’ve seen make this hard!

Do I just go to the OS website to find (buy) such files or are there other sources - never done this before. I know I can do some of this directly from SU but assume that is not using formal maps usable for official documents?


The main info missing from your profile is which version of SU you are using (eg Pro 2018). Things work a bit differently according to whether you have a free version or if that is online or not. As you probably know, if you are using SU for work, you must have Pro (you would not be licensed to use anything else).

You can get a DXF file of a site area from many different sources. I tend to use a local firm but there are online sources (eg via Planning Portal). You need to site centre the map and then tell them how large an area you need. Most will provide you with a draft to ensure it is what you expect. When you are satisfied, they will either email you the file or offer you a download button.

The SU option won’t suit your purposes but can be useful for correct orientation and location when using shadows (say) or if you want crude topographical data. Not good enough for what you want I wouldn’t think. The DXF will only cost about £30 so a small sum for a project of any scale.

Thanks @simoncbevans - I’ve added that now. I got the trial and used that for a couple of weeks so technically I’ve only ever used Pro, obviously that since expired but I’ve not used the tool since.

I had just realised that CAD import was limited to Pro, though I hadn’t realised I wasn’t allowed to use Make for such things. I’ll have to re-read the license - when I got SU it was to play with modelling my house for personal fun.

Some CAD imports are available through SketchUp Shop (significantly cheaper than Pro). So you could primarily use Make and when you need to import, upload your model the Shop, do the import, then download and continue to use Make.

Unless, of course, you also need Layout or license to use the product of your modeling in Make commercially.

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