How to Make a Terrain in Live Home 3D

When working on a house project on your device, chances are you will create a landscape design around your house. Whether you need to design a garden, a backyard or beautiful nature with its elevations and low lands, Live Home 3D, a powerful home design app, can gracefully handle this!

Terrain editing tools are available with the Pro Features of the app and work similarly in Live Home 3D for Mac, iPhone, iPad and Windows devices. In this article, we will use the screenshots from the Windows version of Live Home 3D. Let’s learn how to add elevations, bumps, depressions, cutouts and paths to customize the terrain in your house design project.

A beach villa project with terrain around it created in Live Home 3D Pro.
Designed in Live Home 3D.

The Steps to Create a Terrain Around Your House

Switch to the 2D View

All the terrain work is usually done in 2D view, whereas the 3D view is used mostly for previewing the results. So, to start working you need to switch to the 2D view.

3D plan view of Live Home 3D for Windows with the view drop down list.

Click the “Site” Icon

The terrain editing tools can be found under the “Site” icon. As you can see, only the Terrain Rectangular and Terrain Polygonal tools are active at the moment. Let’s see what they do and how the rest of the tools can be activated and utilized.

Terrain editing tools of Live Home 3D for Windows.

Switch to Site Level

If you select one of the terrain tools, for example the Terrain Rectangular tool, a dialog box appears with the notice that it is necessary to switch to the Site level for editing landscapes around the house.

Live Home 3D for Windows with the switch to site level dialog.

The house plan view then changes to outline, and now you can add terrain elements.

Outline of the house plan in Live Home 3D for Windows when editing terrain.

Note that, if you select the house on Site level, you may move it to any position, as well as rotate it using the special handle, but we won’t need this at the moment.

Rotating a house on Site level in Live Home 3D for Windows.

Activate the Terrain Rectangular Tool

Activate the Terrain Rectangular tool by clicking on it in the Toolbar on top of the workspace to set the area where landscape modeling work will take place. As you can see, once the terrain area is set, the rest of the tools immediately become unlocked in the drop-down menu.

Activating the terrain editing tools of Live Home 3D for Windows.

By double-clicking on the Terrain contour, you can access the editing mode and modify its size and shape. We will stick with a simple rectangle for now.

Modifying the size and shape of the terrain contour.

If you switch to the 3D view, you will see that the terrain is actually a flat surface at the moment. This happens because the points that form the terrain contour have not yet been assigned an elevation.

Assign Elevations

To add an elevation, select the Terrain Contour tool, and open the Object Properties tab of the Inspector. This is where we will add elevation for terrain contour points. For example, to create a simple slope inclined from right to left, you need to assign elevation to points 1 and 4 (e.g., 2 feet).

The terrain contour can have as many points as you need, and each of them can have different elevations. In real life, the terrain rarely has such a level surface; usually, it has some bumps and depressions.

Adding elevations in Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

Add Isolines

The landscape around your house can be presented as a number of isolines, which are lines drawn on a map connecting points with the same height. Depending on the isolines’ proximity and their values, we get a clear picture of what the terrain around the house looks like. Isolines representation influences whether there will be a steep slope or flat ground.

Terrain represented with the help of isolines in Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

To draw such lines, you can use any or all of these tools: Elevation Line, Elevation Spline and Elevation Point.

Terrain editing tools in Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

The Elevation Line Tool

The Elevation Line tool allows you to create straight isolines. After selecting this tool, click several times to create an enclosed contour and press Escape or double-click in the end. Isoline elevation can be controlled via the Object Properties tab of the Inspector.

The font size for the isoline value on the 2D floor plan can be changed using the 2D Properties tab of the Inspector.

As with other enclosed contours in Live Home 3D, by double-clicking on the isoline, we enter the editing mode to adjust corner points and segment roundness.

Modifying a terrain with the help of elevation line tool in Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

The Elevation Spline Tool

The Elevation Spline tool provides more freedom when it comes to isoline drawing. It can be compared with the freehand drawing in vector design apps and is ideal for tracing isolines from the imported terrain map. In this way, you can achieve an identical copy of the landscape around your house. Of course, you can edit isoline contours and values at any time. It is recommended to avoid isoline crossing to create a smooth terrain.

Editing a landscape with the help of elevation spline tools in Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

The Elevation Point Tool

Finally, we come to the Elevation Point tool, which is mostly used for adding peaks or depressions to terrain models.

Using the Elevation Point tool in Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

The Pit Tool

The Pit tool is mostly used to add cutouts in the ground, such as garage access for houses on the hill.

Selecting a pit tool among the terrain editing tools of Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

But, perhaps, the most frequent use for the Pit tool is to create swimming pools. To design a pool, you need to make a cutout in the ground.

Using the pit tool of Live Home 3D Pro for Windows for making the cutout in the ground for a swimming pool.

Then apply a material to each side accordingly, and add side elements and steps with the help of shapes or building blocks.

Creating a pool in Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

Finally, add a plain surface imitating water and apply the water material to it.

Adding a plain surface imitating water to a pool in Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

The Pathway Tool

Adding pathways as the final element of the design is quite fun. For adding a pathway, select the Pathway tool under the Site icon on the toolbar.

Pathway tool selected from the terrain editing tools of Live Home 3D Pro for Windows.

By default, the contour points that form a path have the “Use Auto Elevations” option enabled. This helps to add a path on the ground in a few clicks. More advanced and precise pathway creation will require you to manually set an elevation for each pathway point using the Object Properties tab.

Adding a pathway to a home design project in Live Home 3D for Windows.

That’s all the basics you’ll need for making a terrain in Live Home 3D.

Look at some projects with complicated terrain made in Live Home 3D with the Pro Features unlocked and get inspired to create your own designs!

A stylish beach villa with the hill on the background made in Live Home 3D Pro.
Designed in Live Home 3D.
A modern house with a pool on a hill near the sea designed in Live Home 3D Pro.
Designed in Live Home 3D.
A swimming pool with a hill on the background designed in Live Home 3D Pro.
Designed in Live Home 3D.
A house with the terrain around it created in Live Home 3D Pro.
Designed in Live Home 3D.

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Published: May 2022