Thank you so much for dialoguing with me Jasmine and Antonio. Yes, I am thrilling in how learning various methods has shocked me out of my routine way of doing things. It's affecting all of my life. And, Antonio, I appreciate you saying that some have, let's say, material planning methods, while others are more cerebral and even spontaneous in their design process. One of the challenges for me is that my suburban plot was heavily landscaped when I got here. That means until I get out and undo some of what's there (or at least think my way past it), I can hardly see the base map on land or in my mind. Unthinking what I see has been a huge challenge. But I'm getting there! And, Jasmine, thanks for the reminder that anything around can help you plot. When we moved in, I found lots of rock, cinder blocks, wood (lumber and logs), and pavers on this land. A treasure trove. I gathered it all up and it's been incredibly useful in figuring out ways I can work with the occasionally steep slope my house sits on. It made me commit to not bringing anything else onto the land--so making all retaining elements and beds from what I've got for cost and also least work moving it. I am doing a PDC project on my own for my human and feline family (for several reasons, one of which is healing from a trauma), which means I am the physical as well as the creative constraint. Making those initial decisions about limits was crucial to seeing what was possible. I've yet to make a sand tray, but think it would be incredibly useful.
Anyway, I'm really grateful to you for the insights!