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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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Thank you all for sharing

So site modifiers are used for finished grading ??  use proposed contours and stake objects to modify the site model and then use landscape areas to 'fit' onto the site model ??

This approach sounds easier than manipulating hardscape slopes ??

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I have explored Landscape areas with components recently. My test terrain is burning!  I really prefer using LA in many situations, especially if the perimeter is curved and/or the surface shape is twisted.


To paraphrase Douglas Adams narrator in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Landscape areas are almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Site Modifiers.


For example, the LA with component(s) excavates the terrain if the datum is set to Top of the component stack.  But if such an LA is then hidden to reveal the excavation, the contours do not flow into the hole.  Instead, they float at the implied terrain surface.  If there is some desire to show the contours bending into the excavation, then apply site modifiers as needed to sculpt the terrain and place the LA at bottom of the excavation and set the datum to Bottom of the stack.  Either way works fine.


 Which is to say that strategy is in play for many aspects of LA application rather than hard workflow rules.  Classing of the components, the container LA, any site mods, etc needs focus to achieve the desired outcome.





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A bit of mystery to me:

Creation of the 1st LA in a file containing a Terrain automatically spawns the new class Site>Landscape Area>Spec.
1.  Does it have special properties? eg something similar to effects of Site>DTM> Modifier on 3d polys and NURBS curves?
2. What is intent and common use case for this class?
      eg assign to component materials?
3. What is abbreviation?
         Specification?  Special? 


So many options!





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This class controls the visibility + appearance of the LA tag.


Similarly Hardscapes generate the 'Site-Hardscape Comp-Spec' class for their tags. 


Stair objects also auto-create a couple of '-Spec' classes too for the walk line + headroom outline.

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