Inside the Feature: the Hardscape Tool

In your landscape projects, odds are that you’ll want to include some degree of hardscaped surfaces. Using Vectorworks as your site design tool sets you up for success in designing hardscapes.

Properly set-up hardscape objects can seamlessly transition between 2D and 3D representations, can evolve their level of information with the project lifecycle, and can be saved for reuse. Keep reading to discover three essential aspects of the Hardscape tool that are sure to set you up for success.

1) Mature Your Hardscape Objects Alongside the Project Lifecycle

As projects evolve in their information requirements, so, too, do hardscapes objects. It’s easy to start with a basic shape to get your ideas onto the screen, then use the Create Objects from Shapes command to transform your linework into a smart, hybrid object — meaning it has appended data and representations in both 2D and 3D.

In the schematic design stage of the project, where material specifics are not yet necessary to define, key measurements such as area, perimeter, and price can be easily seen on these objects via the Object Info palette (OIP).

Moving into the design development phase, you can give more life to your hybrid hardscapes with paving patterns and 3D textures. You can also start to define materials and their costs.

When it comes time for construction documents, you can easily specify components for your hybrid hardscapes. With your hardscape fully fleshed out, you can use your model as the basis for creating section and elevation drawings, then use the information present in your hybrid hardscapes to create helpful annotations like data tags and graphic legends.

The ability to start with basic shapes and adapt them to requirements as the project progresses affords you extraordinary flexibility over your design process.

2) Pick-Up & Convert Modes

Remember that you can create hardscapes by using the Create Objects from Shapes command? You have another option in the Pick-Up and Convert modes of the hardscape tool, rounding out your hardscaping workflows.

Pick-Up mode allows you to copy settings from other hardscapes. From there, use the Convert mode to change shapes into hardscapes with the picked-up settings. This saves you time over using the Create Objects from Shapes command, assuming you have a hardscape from which you’d like to pick up the settings.

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3) Knowing Your Options

The Hardscape tool is incredibly flexible, with options to accomplish all your design and documentation needs, so it’s no surprise that the 3rd essential to mastering the tool is knowing what’s available to you. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of the tool by familiarizing yourself with the following aspects.

Site modifiers – Hardscape objects can be further configured with the familiar site modifiers, such as the planar pad, aligned, path, texture bed, and draped options.

Path vs. boundary – By using “Path” as a site modifier, you can configure the hardscape with a center line as opposed to its boundaries. This allows you to create a longitudinal profile that makes pitched, crowned, and slanted hardscapes possible.

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Paving (hatch) patterns and tiles – Adding graphical treatments to your hardscape objects for 2D top/plan views adds a level of sophistication to your drawings. There are plenty of hatch and tile patterns in your Resource Manager, or you can create your own by importing imagery.

Borders – Drawing and defining a border allows you to report a separate material for that border, including score joints and segmented units.

Components for 3D representation and reporting – You can make reporting of the different components of the hardscape material-based, allowing you to generate accurate reports.

Bonus Tip: Save hardscape objects to your Resource Manager so you can reuse them in future projects, sparing yourself from creating from scratch every time. This is an essential time-saving step to take. You can find more information on creating and managing your landscape resources in Vectorworks software with the following free webinar, where our product experts will walk you through everything you need to know.


Topics: Landscapes


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