Plan a vegetable garden with Visio

Applies to
Microsoft Office Visio® 2003

You can make it easy to figure out how many vegetable plants you can fit into your garden, how much space give to tomatoes versus eggplants, carrots versus cabbage, and so on, with a Visio diagram.

Scale diagram of a garden including vegetables

You can experiment with different garden arrangements by designing a scale drawing of your garden plot and creating shapes that represent the vegetables you want to plant. You can even store the vegetable shapes and reuse them for future garden planning.

This article describes how to:

Set up the drawing page orientation

By default, the page is taller than it is wide. If your garden plot is wider than it is tall, you can switch the page orientation from portrait (tall) to landscape (wide). On the File menu, click Page Setup. Click the Print Setup tab, and choose Landscape for Paper Orientation. Then click OK.

Set a drawing scale

Set a drawing scale so you can estimate how many vegetables you can plant in your garden.

Make your plot easy to print by choosing a scale that fits your plot on a standard size page. At a scale of 1 inch equals 2 feet (or 10 millimeters equals 1 meter), you can draw a garden plot of about 18 feet x 25 feet (or 20 meters x 25 meters) on a standard letter-sized page.

To set a drawing scale

  1. On the File menu, click Page Setup.
  2. Click the Drawing Scale tab, and then click Custom scale.
  3. In the left-hand box, type the number of units on the drawing page (for example, 1 inch or 10 millimeters) that you want to equate to real-world units.
  4. In the right-hand box, type the number of real-world units (for example, 2 feet or 1 meter) that you want the drawing page units to represent.
  5. Click OK.

The units on the rulers at the top and left of the drawing page now represent units in the real world.

  1. On the File menu, click Save.

 Tip   By default, the zero point on the rulers is set at the lower left corner of the drawing page. To change the zero point position for one ruler, hold down the CTRL key, and then drag from the other ruler.

Outline the garden plot

After you set the scale for the drawing page, draw an outline of your garden plot.

To draw an outline of the garden plot

  1. If you can't see the entire drawing page, on the View menu, point to Zoom, and then click Whole Page.
  2. On the Drawing toolbar, click the Rectangle tool.

If you don't see the Drawing toolbar, on the View menu point to Toolbars, and then click Drawing.

  1. Using the dimensions in the bar at the bottom of the window as a guide, draw a rectangle that roughly matches the dimensions of your garden plot.
  2. To show the drawing page grid on the garden plot so you can accurately place the vegetable shapes, with the rectangle selected, on the Formatting toolbar, click the arrow on the Fill color tool, and then click No Fill.
  3. If your garden plot isn't rectangular, on the Drawing toolbar, click the Pencil tool.
  4. Place the cursor over one of the green diamonds at the corners of the rectangle or over one of the green circles in the middle of the rectangle's sides (as the following diagram illustrates), and drag to modify the shape of the rectangle until it matches the exact size and shape of your garden plot.

Modifying a rectangle

To make curved lines, you may need to add more green diamonds and circles. Make sure you're using the Pencil tool, then hold down the CTRL key and click where you want them.

  1. On the Standard toolbar, click the Pointer tool.
  2. Save the diagram.

Create vegetable shapes

You can quickly create shapes that represent the vegetables you want to plant by modifying existing shapes from the Basic Shapes stencil and/or using the Visio drawing tools.

Vegetable shapes created in Visio

Your shapes will be most useful if their size represents the space each plant is likely to occupy. For example, your tomato shape should be approximately 2 feet x 2 feet (or 1 meter x 1 meter) as measured by the rulers in your drawing.

You need to create only one copy of each shape, because you can store the shapes on a stencil and drag as many copies of each shape as you want from the stencil onto the drawing page.

To quickly create vegetable shapes

  1. On the File menu, point to Shapes, point to Block diagram, and then click Basic Shapes
  2. Drag a shape onto the drawing page, and then type the name of the vegetable it represents.
  3. To fill the shape with a color, on the Formatting toolbar, click the arrow on the Fill Color button, and then choose the color you want.
  4. Drag the green selection handles to resize the shape to fit the space each plant is likely to occupy.

As you resize the shape, its dimensions in real-world units appear in the bar at the bottom of the screen.

Resizing a shape

  1. Repeat steps 3 through 4 for each vegetable shape you want to create.

To design realistic-looking vegetable shapes

  1. In the garden diagram for which you set a drawing scale, on the View menu, point to Toolbars and then click Drawing.

With these tools, you can draw rectangles and ellipses, as well as straight, curved, and freeform lines. See More information for help drawing shapes.

  1. After you have drawn your vegetable shapes, use the Fill color and Line color buttons to add colors to the shapes.

Store the vegetable shapes for later use

A stencil in Visio is like a painter's palette. Just as a painter places colors on a palette for a particular painting, you can place shapes on a stencil for a particular drawing.

Vegetable stencil

Unlike paint colors on a palette, shapes on a stencil never run dry. You can reuse them again and again by dragging them from the stencil and dropping them on the drawing page.

To create a stencil and store vegetable shapes on it

  1. In the garden diagram where you created your vegetable shapes, on the File menu, point to Shapes, and then click New Stencil.

A new, blank green stencil opens next to the drawing window.

  1. Drag one of the vegetable shapes you created onto the stencil.

The shape disappears from the drawing page and appears as an icon on the stencil, with a default name of Master.0.

  1. Click the shape icon on the stencil, and then click the text under the icon. Type a new name for the shape.
  2. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each vegetable shape that you want to store on the stencil.
  3. In the stencil title bar, click the icon with the red asterisk, and then click Save As.
  4. To save the new stencil as part of your garden plot drawing, on the File menu, click Save.

 Tip   If you create a new garden plot drawing in the future and you want to use your vegetable shapes, on the File menu, point to Shapes, point to My Shapes, and then click the name of the stencil.

Lay out the planting arrangement

  1. With the outline of your garden plot in place and the vegetable shapes created and stored on a stencil, you are ready to experiment with different layouts for where to plant your vegetables.
  2. Drag out as many of each vegetable as you want to grow and place them on your garden outline. You'll probably want to rearrange this a few times to maximize space, sun, or water.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan your garden:

  • Where does the sun shine from? Plant the tallest things (like pole beans) on the opposite side and plant smaller and smaller things toward the face of the sun so nothing gets shaded out.
  • Where does the water come from? If you'll be watering by hand, plant the vegetables that need the most water nearest the faucet to cut down on lugging heavy watering cans.
  • If your garden is boarded by a wall on any side, it will probably reflect extra heat. That's a good place for your heat-loving vegetables.
  • Plan for pathways so you can move around easily as you weed and harvest. A good size is about 2 feet (or 1 meter) wide. Make the pathway wider if you want it to accommodate a wheelbarrow.
  1. When you find an arrangement you like, save the diagram. On the File menu, click Save.
  2. Print the garden plan so you can take it with you when you start planting. On the File menu, click Print, and then click OK.

More information

For help drawing your own shapes, see Draw a shape that has multiple segments.

Applies to:
Visio 2003