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Michal Zarzecki

Getting Hard Landscape Levels Right


1. Hardscape Object 'Levels'


I am not sure how about others, but I feel very confused about elevation property of hard landscape elements (Hardscape objects, Steps etc.) in VW Landmark. 


I mean, I think I understand the concept - it is a vertical value over the Design Layer. However, the interpretation is very confusing and counterproductive.


An example:


If I have a Hardscape object set to be 3D slab in my site design with an elevation of say 10,000, it means that the bottom of the slab is at this elevation. Technically, everything is logical and terminology consistent. Now when I assign a slope to my Hardscape, I will get properties to show what is the elevation at the start and at the end of the slab. But how does this information help me understand and design the levels, since I am not interested what the bottom of hard landscape surface is - I am interested in the top surface!


If I understand the tool right, I always need to take into account the slab thickness when thinking about the level on top of the Hardscape object's surface. This is an extra maths I need to do which is hardly helping me in my work - it's actually to the contrary. I may have a wrong understanding, but I always thought that computers and software should help us with productivity. So, when working with a digital tool with powerful site modelling features, I would really appreciate it being helpful.


I appreciate all the work which has been done to the Hardscape tool, but could at least the Finished Surface Level (or something along these lines) be added to the properties tab? This really needs to be a term used in the industry, not some developer's lingo developed for the sake of the software. 


2. Stairs 'Levels'


Stairs is yet another helpful tool in creating parametric objects.


Again, rather than performing maths here with setting up height, can Finished Surface Levels be added here? When setting up the Stairs, under General Tab, the general geometry parameters include Height, which can be set up by value or layer elevation. Why not by top and bottom lovels? 


For example:


I have to design steps to the existing building, where new doors have been made. I have an FFL given as well as surface level of paving around the building. It would be very helpful if I could start creating stairs in VW by typing in these values. The rest should be calculated by the software itself.


Also, an optional tag with Top of Steps and Bottom of Steps would be much appreciated.


As in the first part of the question, VW adds to the confusion around spot levels here. Rather than Elevation property, we only have a Z Value, which practically seems to be elevation. What would be more practical for landscape professionals, is the bottom of steps level property, which should tie the stairs with the finished surface level of Hardscape objects.


I hope the above description of my issues makes sense. 


I am really curious if this is only my impression or other users also have hard time with getting these right.


Regards, G

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Hi @Pan.Gad,


In regard to Hardscape Objects, check the "Main Slab Components" or the "Slab Style" in the Object Info Palette (OIP) and make sure you're settings are set to "Top of Component" (see images attached). If Main Slab Components is greyed out in the OIP, select the Slab Style > "Edit Slab Style" and make the necessary changes the "Datum". I agree that the default should always be Top of Component since that's what we use for reference when designing.


As far as the Stair Object goes, I agree that you should be able to input top of stairs (TS) and bottom of stairs (BS). 


Hope this helps!



Object Info Palette.png

Edit Slab Style dialog.png

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@Tony Kostreski

Thanks for replying to this one.

I have tried various properties of Hardscape objects, including slabs (Datum top and bottom), pad modifiers etc. 

It seems that something is not working properly. I made a simple trial.

I created a simple flat Site Model and created a few Hardscape objects with elevation set to be slightly higher than the model itself. Then I tried different combinations of Slab settings. 

When Slab Datum was set to bottom (Slab thickness remained positive) nothing changed, i.e. the elevation in properties indicated to be at bottom of slab.

Nothing seemed to change when I set Datum to top. OK, the thickness of slab changed automatically to negative value. I considered that bizarre. But, when I changed slab thickness manually to negative value - Eureka! The Hardscape object dropped - the elevation became the top of slab. 

I just can't understand why it didn't react this way when I set the Datum to top in the first attempt. It must be a bug.

Perhaps someone else can review that behaviour? 

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