When using CAD software such as gCADPlus, designers work in real-world units. In practice, that means if you are working in the USA, you will create the design using decimal feet as the base unit. If working in the metric system, the base unit is mm.  It is important to recognize that every component in the design should be drawn full size in modelspace and not to scale. That means an inquiry such as measuring a distance, will report meaningful values to the designer and by inference to the construction team.

When it comes to presenting the design on paper, in gCADPlus (or AutoCAD) we create a viewport on a layout on a sheet of paper chosen from a range of paper sizes. A viewport is a window into a portion of the modelspace drawing area that provides a view(s) of the objects in the drawing. Creating viewports allows you to have multiple views of the same modelspace drawing on a single layout sheet, each viewport displaying a different part of the drawing. Viewports can be used to create scaled, sectional, or detailed views of a design – the model. Viewports can be resized, moved, and arranged on the layout page to suit your needs, and each viewport can be configured with its own display properties, such as layer visibility, view style, and scale.

Here is an example of a layout from a design for a site in Australia. Note the incorporation of the design in one viewport, the plant schedule in another, and images of species used in the design along with a title block.

The figure below shows a design for a site in the USA. It was drawn full-size in modelspace using decimal feet as the base unit. When complete, the design was displayed on a number of layout spaces, each complete with a border, a title block with site details, and the designer’s logo, ready for printing. The figure below shows an architectural C-size sheet. Note the inclusion of a plant schedule that is automatically generated using one of the tools in the specialist gCADPlus drop-down menu. These views in layout space are most important because they provide a quick impression of what the design will look like before printing.

Here is another example of the use of a layout sheet to present a design from the metric world where mm is used as the base unit. The design is presented in a central viewport while text notes are placed directly on the layout sheet.

Spline  A short movie showing how to create a new layout showing part of a master plan for a site in the NorthEast of the USA.

Spline A movie showing part of a master plan for a site in a tropical area of Australia.  A key concept when creating landscape designs using CAD software is to draw the design full size. Layout space is used to present the design on paper sheets. Although the design is full size in model space, the design can be presented on a layout page at a fixed scale or not to scale. We take a design for a garden in a sub-tropical area and present the design for the whole site and front and back gardens on a number of sheets at varying scales.

How to create a new layout -step by step

Select the Format drop-down menu, then choose Create Layout.

A Page Setup dialog box appears. A new layout is created by selecting the button at the top left of the dialog box.  The desired sheet size can then be selected from the drop-down list. Rather than accept the size of the sheet for the attached default printer, it is recommended that you select a sheet size appropriate for your final plot and scale.

Tip: To identify wrongly placed entities, use the zoom extents option in model space before using the create layout tool.

Tip: It is recommended that you give each of the layouts a meaningful name. If you are working in the USA, the first sheet might be labeled Architectural C size 1/48, but Landscape Plan 1:00 A2 sheet is equally good in the metric environment.

After a while, you will more than likely dispense with the sheet name in the title as this can be determined by the Layout Manager. Names such as front entrance, wetland, deck, demolish, rear garden, etc., then become more the norm.

Click OK and the new layout is created. Switch to the layout by clicking on its tab at the bottom of the drawing editor.

The view will likely be zoomed in. To display the entire sheet, right-click and select the zoom extent option. The design itself will be seen inside the border of the layout sheet that is drawn in the current color.

If there is a need to rotate a view, select the floating viewport and type a new angle in the properties box. Remember that all entities including text will be rotated by your chosen angle.


The scale for a viewport can be set in the properties box when the viewport is selected. Here the view scale is fixed at 1:50.

Tip: when the scale is fixed the magenta view box shown when you move to modelspace, cannot be resized although it can be re-positioned.

Spline We take a design for the redevelopment of some primary school surroundings and show how it is possible to rotate views inside floating viewports. Rotation affected the orientation of text that had been applied using the AUTOLABEL tool. We showed a strategy to overcome that issue.

Spline  A designer wishes to show different options for the layout of the entertaining space on a single sheet. The basic design for the space is on an angle in the design so we square things up by rotating the layout floating viewport ‘porthole’ used to view the design. We also demonstrate by separating alternative options on different layers, it is possible to use the VPLAYER tool to achieve our aim.

Creating a versatile title block

YouTube movie This movie shows how to develop a custom title block for use by all members of a design team across multiple projects. Rather than place the title block in modelspace, we show the benefit of developing a block that can be used in various layout spaces rather than modelspace. For added convenience, our custom title block has entities placed on a layer L-TITLE, and replaceable text entities are colored red to indicate where editing is required.

More information on layouts can be found in chapter 8 of the gCADPlus User Guide.