Complete design – rear garden – metric

The series of ‘how to’ tutorial movies posted here are designed to help designers learn to use gCADPlus landscape design software by developing a real job. We conclude with the printing of the professional landscape CAD plan shown below.

Landscape CAD drafting settings These tutorials are for gCADPlus users working in the metric environment. If you are working in the USA where feet is your base measure, please visit the gCADPlus USA site.

Draw the footprint of a building

Lesson 1: We will assume that you have visited the site that’s ready to be landscaped and have made a simple ‘mud map’ with dimensions of important features including the footprint of the house. The first step is to plot the footprint of a house. So if you have not already done so, start gCADPlus and use File > New and select the template Lesson 1 -AspenStone

  This movie shows how to draw the footprint of a house on a site. It is often the first step in developing a landscape plan.

Landscape CAD drafting settings When drawing the footprint of the house, the ‘mud map’ distances used are 6000 units [mm ] across, 3000 units up, 7000 units across, 3000 units down, 8000 units across and an arbitrary length for the last segment. This movie shows how to draw the footprint of a house. When finished, make sure that you save the completed drawing as you will need it for Lesson 2.

Landscape CAD drafting settings When entering values 0,0 for the first point, do not try and type in the command area at the bottom of the screen. Just click in the black screen, type zero from the top row of the keyboard, a comma, a zero and hit enter. Then pull away to the right. You should see the line drawn in red.

Landscape CAD drafting settings Although you may see dimensions in the movie, you see that we erase those. We will leave a discussion of applying dimensions till later.

If you would like some feedback after you have completed this first task, save your drawing and send a copy of it as an attachment to an email to Please tell us something about you and  your learning experience while carrying out this exercise. 

Locate existing trees on site

 The house footprint has been drawn and we’ll imagine that there is a tree on the site some distance away from the house nearer the back boundary.

Locate back and side boundaries

How to use triangulation to locate the back boundary of a site.

Design a retaining wall

Set out the position of a retaining wall across the back boundary of a site.

Create entertaining areas, water feature and vegetable plot

Add dimensions Setting up zones for entertaining and for a lawn area in a design for the rear of the property.

Create raised adult entertaining zone

Use offset to make zone  Use the offset command to create a zone.

Cut steps in raised entertaining area

Use trim  Cut a series of steps into a raised platform with the TRIM command in gCADPlus.

Place arrow to indicate direction

Place an arrow We place an arrow from the gCADPlus block library and rotate a group of entities for a more aesthetic view.

Create and place some stepping stones

Create a block  Placing stepping stones in a landscape CAD drawing. We create a block of a stepping stone some 350 mm radius and copy it several times.

Improve the stepping stone symbol

Edit block  How to edit blocks in the gCADPlus environment. Editing a block automatically updates every instance of the block in a drawing – a great time saver.

Shift the location of a vegetable plot, mirror text

Use mirror to shift vegetable plot We use the mirror command to shift a vegetable plot and screens into a more favorable position.

Using grid an snap to help setup hard paving in a service zone

Edit block  We use an appropriately configured snap and grid settings to design some spaces around a planned vegetable growing area.

Indicate paving for the service area

Closed polyline  Create a closed polyline for an area of crushed dolomite paving.

Indicate a paved area by hatching a complex shape

Define shape for hatching  How to define a complex area ready for hatching. We show how to use the arc option in combination with entity snaps.

Start placing landscape symbols

Attach symbols  Attach a plant list and tag symbols in a landscape drawing

Improve the appearance of landscape symbols

Change entity stack order  Change the stack order of entities in a gCADPlus drawing.

Add some text notations

Edit text  Creating a new text style and using it to add a block of multi line text.

Attach a plant list ready for the generation of a plant schedule

Database  Exporting a plant list from SppDB. Load the resultant .gcp file and associate the data file to a gCADPlus drawing.

Add a new floating viewport to display a plant schedule on an A2 sheet.

Database  How to add a new viewport to display a plant schedule on an A2 layout sheet.

Update a plant schedule because the design has changed

Update plant list  Update plant schedule in a gCADPlus design.

Develop a design for a water feature

Add water feature  Adding a water feature to a gCADPlus landscape design.

Add dimensions.

Add dimensions This movie shows how to use a special gCADPlus tool to stamp a value for a lawn area. We then use the linear dimensioning tool to apply dimensions some steps. The design is for a site in the metric environment where the base unit is millimeters. The dimension style used automatically expresses the final value in an appropriate number of decimal places.

Add a scale bar

Add scale bar  The value of adding a scale bar to a landscape drawing.

Print the finished design

Check print  It is a good idea quite early in the process of producing CAD landscape plans to run a quick check print. This movie shows how to do that from a gCADPlus design.

Click the image below to see the final PDF version of the design.