Modeling the Terrain

Modeling the Terrain

The program offers you a set of tools to model the terrain and help you create an uneven surface of the ground, such as a slope or terrace. The tools may also be useful when you need to prepare a spot for decorative gardening.

The functionality described in this section is only available in the Pro edition.

Adding and editing a terrain is possible only in the Site layer. You can activate this layer in the Building Properties tab of the Inspector.

Among many different approaches, we find that the following is the most convenient.

1. Add a house (optional)

It can be useful to have a building already present on the site. The readiness of its interior doesn't matter; you just need to have the exterior walls in place. But, don't add any external objects to the project, like plants, cars, etc. They may act as a distraction while you are editing the terrain. In addition to that, you must want those objects to be placed on top of a terrain that doesn't yet exist.

Adding the house before modeling the terrain is not obligatory. You can add it later, or your project may have no house at all.

It's important to know that the orientation of the house on the Site may differ from the floor plan. Floor plans tend to have most walls drawn either vertically or horizontally. While working on the Site, it might be convenient to preview the whole area under a different angle.

2. Add a custom terrain

The zero level in any project is defined by the default terrain. Custom terrain specifies the area where the elevation of the ground should be different. The Terrain Rect and Terrain Poly tools are used to add a custom terrain. How to use these tools is described in the Creating a Custom Terrain section.

Keep in mind that the terrain and the house must be properly aligned to each other as well as to the north direction. The Site lets you rotate the Compass icon and the house in the editing area independently.

3. Add a pathway

In case you need to show a part of a road passing near your property, approach to the garage or a pathway in the backyard, you can draw it using the Pathway tool. This tool is described in the Creating a Pathway section.

You can add pathways at almost any stage of the design process.

4. Edit elevations

A newly created terrain is flat. It just specifies the area within which the ground level may vary. Now you can use a different set of tools to model features of the terrain as a hill or mound. The Editing the Elevation section explains how to do this.

5. Apply proper materials

All objects you added to the project at earlier steps have the default materials. You can replace those with other materials. This can be done by dragging a new material from the library and dropping it onto the object. For more details, read the Applying Materials section.