Putting plan to paper (or computer) is crucial in designing your landscape. Some of the questions to ask are: What do you want to get out of your backyard? Do you want a extension to your living space, such as, a outdoor kitchen or just a place to relax? If you’re working on a simple project, graph and tracing paper might be all you need. A professional landscape designer starts with a property survey and topographical map, and then typically creates a series of conceptual sketches, preliminary elevations and final renderings as your vision evolves and crystallizes.