Make a Landscaping and Yard Map for Future Owners

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Photo by Heather Villa
If you sell your home to new owners, consider leaving an illustrated yard and garden map to show where special plants, water features and more are located.

According to my realtor, people buy and sell their homes every seven years on average. That means, surely, that many MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers will say goodbye to much-loved yards and gardens in the next few years.

After my husband and I purchased our first home, we were thrilled to finally have a yard. We planted edibles and ornamentals. When we later needed to sell our home to take employment elsewhere, I knew I’d miss the outside of our home more than the inside. For nine years we had enjoyed our yard, and, of course, the sale of our home meant the loss of the ornamental and edible plants we’d grown. I wanted the new owners to know about the landscape so they, too, could enjoy it, and wouldn’t unknowingly remove any plants.

As a former cartographer, I decided to make a map. I provided the new owners with a simple sketch labeled with the names of plants and locations of sprinkler systems. You don’t need to be trained in mapmaking to draw a sketch of your landscape. Your map doesn’t need to be perfect or drawn to scale, either. The purpose is to share a visual story of your yard.

My family is now living in another house in another state. I would’ve appreciated a map detailing our new landscape. (But I must admit, each time we’ve spotted a mystery plant pushing its way up through the dirt has been a treat.)

Heather Villa
Roseburg, Oregon