Introduction: 3D Landscape Design Tutorial

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A 3D landscape design can make all the difference with thinking about upgrading your property. Landscape changes can be made to just about anything on your home from new plants to custom pools and outdoor kitchens.

For this instructable I wanted to use an average front walkway because most people can relate to this style of home entrance. I will show the steps needed to get to the 3D modeling as well as tips and tricks once you are building your model

This is actually my parents house and they need a new walkway to replace the out dated one. They are not that great at reading a plan view (top view) drawing so 3D is ideal. I can showcase plant material, flower colour, tree size, material choices and even sunlight patterns.

Materials Needed

tape measure

clipboard

graph paper and pencil

Circle template ( not completely necessary)

some sort of computer drafting softwear ie. auto-cad or dynascape etc

google sketchup (free)

Skills needed

computer drafting skills

Step 1: Measure the Property and Creating a Baseplan

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Measure your property either the full property or just the front or back depending on what you are wanting to build in 3D.

Measure every break in material and each door and window to give you an idea of where they are located. Take lots of pictures with a digital camera and attention to the roof lines and little details that we will later build in 3D. measure your front, side and rear property lines and take notes/ measurements of existing site conditions like trees or shrubs to remain.

To survey a property easily use a pencil with eraser and a clip board stand in an area of your front yard where you can see a lot of the house and draw simple lines represent the foot print of the house. later draw in the doors and windows and then start measuring section by section. Once complete, bring the drawing inside and clean up any mistakes made in measuring.

After you are done measuring the property its time to use a computer drafting program and draft the measurements into the computer giving you a scaled base plan we can begin to design from.

Print the base plan and do hand sketches until you have a design you like then add that design to the base plan on the computer creating a concept plan.

Here is a quick concept drawing


After completing the Design on the computer export the file to sketch-up if you don't have sketch-up download it for free now. most computer drafting programs are compatible with sketch-up.

Step 2: Closing Your Lines

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Once the file has been exported to Google Sketchup the drawing will come in with just open lines and not faces. use the pencil to draw and close your lines to make faces which can me pulled up.

Step 3: Pulling Up the House

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After all your lines are closed you can now push or pull the parts of the design that will become the house and garage. Your can pull the porch or walkways as well

Tips

look at the pictures you have taken, count your steps and multiply that by 6" giving you the height of the porch. if there are no steps then no problem.

add 4" to the porch for the small riser just before most doors then pull the house up 7' for the door as most door heights are 7' then just ball park the rest of the heights you need.

Step 4: Adding the Roof

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Adding the roof can be hard if you try to draw the entire thing yourself. Getting the angles right is almost impossible. Instead look for a plugin which has a roof builder. There are many different free roof building plugins for Sketch-up.

Step 5: Adding Material Textures

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Google Sketchup makes adding material texture very simple.

on the top tool bar select the paint bucket icon and then you can select the type of texture you want to apply.

If you have a different colour brick then what the default colours are you can select the "edit" tab beside the "select" tab on the materials box. This then allows you to change colour size and opacity of a texture.

Step 6: Adding Components

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Now that the textures have been chosen you can start making the 3D model come to life by adding components. Start with doors and windows then hard scape items such as rocks or patio furniture. You can search different types of components in the 3D warehouse offered free from Google Sketchup.

go to the window tab on the top tool bar and select "Components' this will open the components tab where you can search things like "Patio set" or "Window" or "Garage Door"

select the component you with to use drag and drop it in place.

Once you have placed a number of components it is good practice to "group" the components that are similar to make drawing easier

Add in all of the components and make them into a group then hide them to make the drawing move faster.

to hide a component select the group or component and right click then select "Hide" or "unhide" to see them again

Step 7: Adding Details

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To make the 3D model more complete draw and build things like mail boxes or other items you couldn't find in the 3D warehouse.

Step 8: Finished 3D Landscape Design

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After all the small details are done make sure to "un-hide" all of the components you may have hidden and turn and rotate the model to look at your masterpiece. In order to create jpegs from the model simple find a good angle by rotating the screen where you like it then choose "file" then "export" and then "2D Graphic" and select the location to save the file.

A great tip when exporting 2dgraphics is, once you have chosen the camera angle you wish to export turn on the shadows to make everything look better.

If you can't find the shadow icon right click on the tool bars and find it in the scroll down menu.

Here is a quick animation I created which can be done by going to the "view" tab at the top and selecting down at the bottom the "add scene" button. then rotate the screen again and repeat the process. add 6-8 scenes and then right click on one of the scenes and select "play animation"

Comments

raspberryman (author)2014-11-26

what was the drafting program you used? personally I use revit and I'm not sure how much I like it.

The program I used here is called Dyna-scape, its a computer drafting program specialized for residential landscape design. Auto-CAD is also a good program for this style of work and will export to Google Sketchup easily.

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