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Hedge tool to allow multiple species, and staggering of the hedge rows

Amanda McDermott




I have posted the following on the landscape section of the forum, but want to draw it to your attention as it contains a 'wishlist' request (in bold).





We are trying to create a hedge with multiple species in it, that is not simply linear (i.e. it  needs to turn corners) and use 3 staggered rows. Ideally we would like to use the hedge tool to do this for accurate numbers (landscape area tool appears to miscalculate because it is based on m² rather than linear m).


Hoping somebody might have a useful, reliable, workaround for this you can recommend please?


We referred the problem to Service Select, but their (very slow!) response was as follows:


There isn't a Hedge tool and the Plant tool can only plant an single species in one group, but you could create your hedge by putting lots of different plants together. Alternatively, the Landscape Area does have a Meters on Center option


My answer / further observations:


There is a ‘hedge’ setting in the ‘Plant’ Tool, which is what we were referring to. It would be very useful if this could be developed to allow multiple species, and staggering of the hedge rows. Neither of the current workarounds provides a satisfactory and reliably calculated route to what Landscape Architects often need, which is a staggered double or triple row hedge of several species (e.g. a mixed native hedge) that is able to ‘turn corners’.


Problems with the current workarounds (see attached screenshots):


The ‘plant tool’ will not allow multiple species. Attempting to create a single species hedge in a ‘triangular array’ (staggered) with the plant tool does not work to display a hedge, it has to be done ‘along poly edges’ and then multiple rows displays as a grid, rather than allowing staggered rows.


The ‘Landscape Area’ Tool, although it will allow plants to be organised by ‘Metres on Centre’, doesn’t show them as staggered rows, and you have to draw planting by working out the depth to draw a shape depending on spacing and row numbers, then check against 3D view to see how many rows you have. This is not easily edited as ‘3 rows based on a line’ would be. It is arranged as a grid rather than following a path, so that anything but a straight hedge is particularly challenging.


Even on a small, simple scale, you can see in the attached screenshots that the calculated numbers are coming out at about 10% different for each of these workarounds.




2019-04-29 11_15_41-Vectorworks Landmark 2019 - [HedgeTest.vwx]-corner hedge 2D.jpg

2019-04-29 11_15_41-Vectorworks Landmark 2019 - [HedgeTest.vwx]-corner hedge 3D.jpg

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I second the wish.


It was quite surprising to me that there is not proper hedge tool in VW Landmark.


I would envisage such tool to create a hedgerow with number of rows set by the user. One should be able to specify planting in staggered arrangement as well, as this is the typical planting method. 


Ideally one could specify the profile of a hedge for better representation of the design intent, such as tapering or box shape. I wonder if such hedge could also work similarly to the Wall tool, i.e. where hight could be modified along the hedge.


Native, mixed species hedgerows are very often specified in the countryside, so this should be an obvious option for such Hedge Tool. Sometimes, this is actually explicitly conditioned by local authorities. 


There should be no need for a workaround to achieve such a basic task undertaken by landscape professionals. 


I hope that will be picked up by the developers.



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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi @Michal Zarzecki

Decisions on what will be included in future releases happens at this time of year. Whilst I cannot categorically state what will be in any future release of Vectorworks, I can confirm that there are detailed internal discussions taking place on this right now, and that these forum posts are included in the discussion, as well as feedback from face to face meetings with our customers, and our global distributors.

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@Tamsin Slatter ,

Thank you for such a prompt response.


I gather that the issue hasn't been resolved yet, which is quite disappointed, taking into account what a number of users mentioned and that such a basic feature like hedge is part of almost every landscape design and needs an efficient tool.


I will then use the opportunity to get the Community's help on understanding how the current tool actually works (or doesn't).


I am trying to calculate the number of specimens needed for hedges in my project. The scheme has already been designed and now this should simply be a matter of mathematics and scheduling. 


I have tried all the Plant Tool's modes. The results are far from expected, I'm afraid.


On the image below you can see what happens if I try to draw a simple double row hedge at 90 degrees (the red line shows the extent of the polyline drawn). That is a poly-edge mode. I can't understand why the algorithm adds another row.



On the following image, you can see teh result when a triangular array mode is employed. Again, the lame polyline. Why would the tool create a polygon, rather than following the polyline and drawing two staggered rows of symbols?



Another bizarre example is when I tried to draw just a straight line with the same mode used. The procedure creates a polyline that goes back and forth and populates symbols along the way. I suppose the unruly geometry could be disclosed, but the numbers are nowhere near to be acceptable.



It is a great shame that this has not been addressed and landscape professionals left alone [again] with quasi tools which are supposed to facilitate the design and scheduling process.


The same operation can be undertaken in under a minute in every basic CAD application which supports any sort of formulas. Basically draw a polyline and get the field calculate the numbers for you, based on the polyline's length. The pretty graphics is a bonus clients don't even appreciate. 


I really appreciate the help provided every time the VSS team is called or the responses from VW employees here. But please advise, what users can do to get the software they paid good money for help their every day design tasks, rather than spending extra time on tedious workarounds?



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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

To clarify - this discussion started in April this year and was immediately picked up by myself and our development team. An enhancement request in April is too late to be released in September the same year. Our rigorous planning and design process for new features takes place in the autumn, and this post together with feedback from many other sources, is feeding into that discussion.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Mixed hedging doesn't work when using the plant tool. The idea with the plant tool is that it only places one kind of plant at the time, either in single mode or in a poly-vertex/edge or array mode. This is the nature of the tool.

To place a mixture of plants, you have the Landscape area tool. This is a powerful tool, where you can set up mixes of plants you use all the time (either for planting beds or, as in this case, hedges). This tool works the way you say that you want to work - you create a geometry, either directly with the tool or by converting existing geometry, and you then tell it what plants you want it to contain and it will then give you the numbers.


An example:

If you say that you want to plant a mixed hedge with staggered rows and you use 5 plants per linear meter (per row), what you have to do is calculate how wide that double row would be, create a landscape area in this width and populate it with the mixture of your choice.

In the example below, I've first created a hedge according to this specification (as a comparison), then drawn a polygon to the size you want the hedge and converted it to a landscape area, in which I have put in several different species. (You can also see that it would go 25 plants in a m2 if you used the 5/lm size).

This way you also avoid having the individual plants showing. You can use the plant line on the landscape area to make the edge 'wiggly', and use any fill you'd like. Here I've just used a simple gradient, but you could use anything your practice normally use for hedging. (If you'd prefer, you can create yo your own line style specific for hedging and use that instead of the plant line in the landscape area).

If it would help you, I'll gladly send over the standard widths for different hedge units that I've collected over the years. Then you only need to use the double line polygon tool, set to the width needed to create your hedge area and then convert it to a landscape area.

This is a very effective way to work when making a lot of hedges- you create the hedge mixture for the landscape area once, saving it and then apply it to all the areas you want it on. Once you have created one area with your mix of plants, you can then select all the other areas and use the eye dropper tool to fill them all in one go. After that, remember to save the Landscape area mix so you can use it in your next project.

Screenshot 2019-11-19 at 15.29.08.png

Screenshot 2019-11-19 at 15.29.55.png

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@Katarina Ollikainen ,

Thank you for posting this workflow.


I have started specifying hedges using this method, as couldn't work out the Hedge Mode in the Plant Tool. 


2 hours ago, Katarina Ollikainen said:

Mixed hedging doesn't work when using the plant tool. The idea with the plant tool is that it only places one kind of plant at the time, either in single mode or in a poly-vertex/edge or array mode. This is the nature of the tool.


I was actually quite perplexed to see how VW generates even a single species hedge - as shown in my example above. 

Perhaps you would be able to clarify that. Perhaps I may simply not understand how to draw using it. Another example below. Why does VW add all that extra plant line?




Coming to the Planting Area method. You said 

1 hour ago, Katarina Ollikainen said:

[...] what you have to do is calculate how wide that double row would be [...]


Calculate how?


See my example below - it's based on the same length of hedge, but slightly different width:


In linear features, like hedges, the offset between rows or the width of the proposed hedge doesn't matter in terms of numbers - it's only the length and number of rows that are part of the equation. When one tries to specify a hedge based on the area - they need to be careful what they draw, because the distance is equidistant. Often, one specifies distance between plants to be different than the row offset. In another instance, one may want the same number of plants, but perhaps at different offsets or allow the plants to grow out and form a wider hedge. The width of the polygon drawn starts affecting the calculations.


I appreciate the tool and your tutorial though. At the moment, we are where we are, so trying to explain the philosophy behind the purpose of software is in the realm of theory and doesn't get us anywhere. Food for thought for 2021, apparently.

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