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Landscape Walls with overhanging caps

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I've been trying to figure out a way to make landscape walls more efficient but can not determine a best practice which accomplishes the following:

  • quick and easy to make, like a hardscape with styles
  • easy to change when required
  • accounted for quantities in reports for cost take offs and such
  • depict the built geometry correctly such as a bullnose radius applied to a stone cap, tapered or rounded wall top


I have built the same wall using two different methods in the attached file, neither of which accomplishes all of the goals above.  I've written descriptions and problems with the process in that file as well.  Please take a look and let me know if there is a better way.  Maybe I'm simply unaware of how to do it.  Maybe this is an opportunity to get Vectorworks to add a useful feature.






Landscape Walls-Process.vwx

Edited by jeff prince
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

HEY @jeff prince,


Have you tried using "Extrude Along Path"? I find it useful for creating specific profiles and paths, both of which can be edited at anytime. See attached file and let me know if you have questions. Start from the top and work your way down. I've included two options for getting the bullnose effect.


And for Extrude Along Path objects you can pull LF into worksheets if that helps.

Screen Shot 2020-07-29 at 11.39.35 AM.png

Landscape Walls-Process.vwx

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Hi @Tony Kostreski


Thanks for your recommendation and example.  The worksheet trick is certainly handy.


I wish we had the capability to create wall styles with the addition of vertically stacked components though, seems like it would make the process simpler. Imagine if you could create a wall style for the attached file and simply create the wall by drawing a polyline and having the cap and knockouts position themselves as part of the wall definition.  Maybe I'm dreaming and it's too complicated, but it would be convenient for designing quickly instead of modeling.  That's the thought process we followed in 2D design... Draw the wall in plan with the 3D in our mind and then refer to an elevation and sectional detail to explain what's going on.  In this BIM world, we define hardscape and wall styles using this notion and apply it, but are limited to stacking of these features along one axis, hence the requirement to model.  I think once we get into modeling features instead of applying styles, we lose some of the power of a BIM workflow.


I use EAP frequently when modeling, it's especially useful in more complex situations like this railing following a stepped and sloped wall... though a bit complicated to execute.  I ended up building that wall as a solid because I couldn't figure out how to get a wall object to behave as desired, though I suppose it could be accomplished with wall projections.  If a 3D representation wasn't needed in that project, it would be faster and easier to describe the features in 2D.  I think that's were a lot of people get hung out to dry in BIM, we are faced with hybrid 2D/3D workflows that break the promise of BIM or have to adopt direct modeling workflows to describe fully in 3D, which has a time penalty during creation and revision.




wall example.vwx

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3 hours ago, jeff prince said:

A little research on the forum here indicates architects have been asking for this feature for a long time. Why hasn't this been added to Vectorworks?

Yes, it has been requested for a loooong time on the forums.


According to THIS Architosh article, Stacked Wall Components are coming in a 'future release' – but not Vw2021. 😪

Edited by rDesign
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23 hours ago, Tony Kostreski said:

Have you tried using "Extrude Along Path"? I find it useful for creating specific profiles and paths, both of which can be edited at anytime. See attached file and let me know if you have questions. Start from the top and work your way down. I've included two options for getting the bullnose effect

This is another work-around in Vectorworks, and you have to redo all the EAP every-time if the design changes along the process, like always do in any project, and the EAP don't give you a correct 2D representation in plan because is a 3D object, to try to fix this we use another wall style for the wall cap with the correct thickness,  it shows correctly in 2D but you lose the ability to use a custom profile.

Every other BIM software in the market has staked walls for years now, and Vectorworks will disappoint us once again with the 2021 version....

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@Tony Kostreski - thank you for your response and restarting the stacked walls discussion. A quick forum search of the phrase ‘stacked walls’ brought up a bunch of old threads with ideas for what is needed on the architectural side.
Here’s a select few of them. (Unfortunately some of them had their links broken when the forum switched platforms years ago).

Also consider how Wall objects ‘host’ architectural trim such as skirting / base boards, chair rails, crown molding, etc.

See THIS post from @Tom Klaber quoted below:


4) Base / Crown Molding tool:  I used to think this should be apart of the wall style - but I now think this should be its own tool.  I think you should be able to select a custom profile, and then select the walls you want to attach that base to.  It should automatically be cut by doors, have a 2D representation, and allow voids for reveals and flush base/moldings.


I’m sure others will have additional thoughts and ideas. Thanks.

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@Tony Kostreski - at the risk of further hijacking this ‘landscape’ thread, here’s a few more threads on the ‘stacked walls’ topic:

And this next one isn’t strictly ’stacked walls’ related, but it is related to how wall components interact with hosted Door / Window objects. Which is related to the how architectural trim on a wall interacts / terminates at Door / Window openings. Meaning there’s no point in adding architectural trim (stacked) to a wall if it cannot automatically be cut or terminated at a hosted opening.


Edited by rDesign
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Jeff you hit the nail on the head.  I have faced similar issues and had very similar conversations. I'm not super interested in work arounds especially in professional grade software.  Time is money.  Consider this my vote for a landscape wall tool set up to include varying components, elevation changes, curvature, batter, cap options, setting bed options, with material settings for different construction methods etc.  Will we be able to pick a dry stack wall with a loose aggregate setting bed and our preferred backing, a block and veneer wall that needs a concrete pad or, block wall and all the afore mentioned things Jeff noted.  I'll second its Likely complex, I've never coded, but we are being sold "high functionality" so lets have an effective tool.  If a tool is not in the works then I think one of our VW gurus should put together a training on how to effectively create one. 

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More thoughts on a parametric landscape wall tool

  • Structure type (poured in place, CMU, segmental block, gabions(s)...
  • Parametric block sizes for CMUs etc. By height in wall, if possible for tall retaining walls.
  • Finish if it's plastered / painted
  • Facing and cap manufacturers / sources would be useful, too to add over the structure
  • And frost depth for footings, if you're going full BIM.
  • And of course if the wall is retaining it should work with DTM (something I still can't get to work as I like - but that's another story).


I'm kinda tired of using stacked extruded polylines! No easy way to show structural vs. face and cap. Just classes for cap and wall - but no way to align cap pieces along curved wall so you have to break them and adjust (time wasted is money wasted)


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I'm all in on a proper tool for landscape walls. I'd also love it if VW would give me the soil cut and fill needed for placing the wall, as showed below. The current Retaining wall site modifier just gives me the volume that the wall itself displaces which is, in all honesty, just ridiculous in proportion to the real amount of soil cut needed.



Edited by Anders Blomberg
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