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Should we use Landscape Areas for 'all' hardscapes?

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This is a question I repeatedly ask myself as I'm setting up a new project.


I tend to use:

  • Slabs for pavers and flat concrete and wood decks
  • Hardscape objects for DG or Peastone areas.
  • Landscape areas for anything with any kind of slope.

But I'm starting to think I'm to hung up on the tool 'names' and should be thinking more about the usage.



Doing a little deep diving into the forums, I saw that @Scott Lebsack mentioned in another thread "...the tool could be called "Surface Area" tool because it does so well defining an area on a site model surface regardless of what that area is defining..."


I remember a video that @Tamsin Slatter did where she mentioned how she loved using LA's for many things that weren't planting beds - I couldn't find the video for a real quote - I think it was about complexly graded driveways...



Just wondering what people are using for various hardscape objects for ease of drawing, data collection, data tagging etc...

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

The use of landscape areas for "hardscapes" is something I picked up from our Marketing and training folks. The Landscape Area tool has some features that would be helpful for hardscapes, it is able to "excavate" a surface model to provide a more accurate cut/fill volume, my understanding is that this is necessary for BIM workflows. It also allows a user to grade the site model directly to finish grades, and have the "hardscapes" match the grades, rather than trying to grade the site model and hardscape separately and keep them consistent as a design evolves, or use hardscapes to grade a site model. It's nice to have hardscapes separate from the grading of the site model.


In general I try to keep items by style if they effect material takeoffs - volumes/thickness/types anything annotative can by by instance. That way if I change the physical characteristics of my style everything updates. I do the same with plants, if it should be a different line in the schedule it should be a different style. I haven't completed any production work in the past 8 mo., but while I was in a design office I was convinced attributes by class was the only way to work - in content development with Vectorworks, we never use class attributes, I would have to go back to production to try it by instance to know...

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For me, I've found landscape areas to be the best tool for all areas outdoor. I rarely have completely flat areas outdoors to allow for water runoff and landscape areas combined with geometry adjusting the site in the Site-DTM-modifer class is the best solution I've resorted to so far though. When modelling a graded surface I typically don't want to grade "per surface" but rather have the slopes flow continually over multiple surface types and grading the site and draping it with LA's allows for this. I would love to see/hear more of how others work regarding this though.


I try to use styles and classes for everything I do to allow for quick changes of multiple objects whenever possible. One of the benefits of VW as I see it.

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