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Sketchup and Online Landscape Design - Creating a 3D Landscape

Aug 23, 2008
Sketchup is 3D design software that is used for many different industries.

However, for the hard to visualize area of landscape design, it can provide one of the best portrayals of the 3D landscape.

Sketchup was originally owned by @Last Software, but it was bought by Google. Hmmm....I guess Google thought it was pretty good. And it is.

There is a free version and a paid version. For the average person, the free version is fine. If you want to get more intricate with such things as grading and showing different elevations, then you will want the paid version.

For residential design, you can use this program in a couple of different ways.

The first way is to design right in the program. With a click of the mouse, you can set the drawing in a perspective position. Guidelines help you make sure you are drawing correctly. You can enter actual heights and lengths of objects, such as a house. You can put in the dimensions of the house, ie., length and width. Then use something called the pull tool to extend it up to the correct height.

It is all very user friendly. Also, what is created has an artistic flair to it, which makes it a lot of fun!

You can also view different materials for landscape elements. For example, if you are drawing a patio, you can go to the Materials area and choose what you might like. There are many different materials and you can change them as you like to see the differences. Some choices are stone, pavers, brick and concrete.

A plant palette is offered also. These are fine. However, for a more sophisticated look, there are other inexpensive components you can buy to use in your design.

The second way of using Sketchup is to create a 2D drawing in such programs as AutoCad, and import it into Sketchup. In this situation, you are working from your drawing so that an exact replica of the design is created. This allows you to see what a drawing will look like when built. Changes are easily made if there is something you don't like or want to add.

Some of the components you can add to the 3D landscape design are people, cars, grills, pergolas, plants, any many, many more. These are available directly through the program or through something called Google Warehouse. They are all free.

There is a lot of flexibility with the components. You can resize or rescale them if you need to. You can also change colors of both components and materials.

By adding window components to a house, you can actually position a person inside the house. This allows you to attain a view as if you were inside looking out. What a great feature to see what your view will be like.

You can also create scenes. Scenes let you save a particular view. These scenes can also be exported into jpeg images. You can also create an animation which is a fly by or walk through of the entire design!

Any or all of these features can be used to suit your purposes. The software can be used in both simple and sophisticated ways. There are many other features available also. All in all it is a great 3D program.
About the Author
Susan Schlenger is a Landscape Designer with a degree in Landscape Architecture. You can see many of her 3D images and animations by visiting 3D Landscape Design . To learn more about her services and many, many areas of landscape design, please visit Online Landscape Design.
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