Creating a Planting Bed

Reference Number: KB-00707
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Landscape & Deck


I would like to create a custom garden bed. How can I accomplish this?


The Terrain Feature tools allow you to create a wide variety of custom planting designs. The following article describes how you can create a formal garden area with paths, multiple planting beds, and benches.

The first step is to draw the paths through the garden, as they will help to position the planting beds

To create paths

  1. Select Terrain> Feature> Rectangular Feature and click and drag in plan view to create a rectangle without worrying about its exact size or shape as it can be edited after it is drawn.

    Note: If the Terrain Feature tools are greyed out it means that a Terrain Perimeter is not present. To create a terrain perimeter click Terrain> Create Terrain Perimeter.

  2. Once placed, click on the rectangular terrain feature to select it, and then select the Open Object  edit button to display the Terrain Feature Specification dialog.

    • On the General panel, specify the height of this terrain feature.

      For this tutorial, select a height of 0".

    • On the Materials panel, select the Terrain Feature subheading and then click the Select Material button.

      Browse through the Materials library category and select a material for your garden paths, such as "LargeGravel", located in the Decorative Rock folder in the Landscaping library.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.

  3. With the terrain feature still selected, use the edit handles and temporary dimensions to resize the feature to the correct size for your path.

    For this tutorial, the path will be 12' long and 2' wide.

  4. To create a second path identical to this one, select the path, click the Copy/Paste  edit button, and then click again in plan view.

    Use the triangular Rotate edit handle to rotate the feature by 90 degrees, and then use the Move handle to position the path so that it forms an intersection with the first one as demonstrated in the image below.

To create planting beds

  1. Select Terrain> Feature> Rectangular Feature , then click and drag to create a square.

    Again, don't worry about the exact size and shape as after the square is created, you will use the edit handles to position and resize it precisely.

  2. Click and drag the outer corner handle of the square to reshape it into a triangle.

  3. Click on the triangle near its long outside edge to select it and then click the Change Line/Arc  edit button to convert the edge from a straight line to an arc.

    You can adjust the shape of the arc using the edit handles; but for this tutorial, the default arc will work well.

  4. With the triangle selected, click the Open Object  edit button to display the Terrain Feature Specification dialog.

    • On the General panel, set the Height to 4”.

    • On the Materials panel, browse and select a material for the planting bed surface such as "Bark(mixed)", located in the Bark folder in the Landscaping library.

If you like the appearance of lawn edging, now is a good time to place some around this planting bed.

To create lawn edging

  1. Select View> Library Browser  button and then browse to the Brick Edging in the Landscape Accents bonus catalog. Select it and then click in the plan to place a unit of edging.

    Bonus catalogs can be downloaded from our 3D library. For instructions on downloading bonus content please visit the Downloading Additional Library Catalogs article listed in the Related Articles section at the bottom of this page.

  2. Select the edging and click the Open Object  edit button to display the Fixture Specification dialog.

  3. Specify the size and material of the edging and click OK to close the dialog.

    For this tutorial, use the default size and Sandstone(mauve) material found in the Concrete and Stone category.

  4. Select the customized edging, click on the Copy/Paste  edit button, then click on the Sticky Mode  tool, which will allow you to paste as many copies of the selected item as you like.

    Click in plan view to create as many brick edging pieces as you need and use their edit handles to rotate and move them into position.

  5. By now, quite a bit of work has been done in this plan, so if you have not done so already, you should select File> Save .

  6. When you have created a planting bed that suits your needs, group-select the entire planting bed and make copies of it for the other three corners of the garden by pressing the Shift key on your keyboard, and then click and drag in plan view to draw a marquee around the planting bed, being careful to include all of the objects associated with the bed, such as edging.

    • If you accidentally select an object that you do not want to copy, press the Shift key and click on that object to remove it from the selection group.

    • With the bed group-selected, double-click on the Copy/Paste  edit button and then click in plan view to place three copies of the bed near each corner of the garden. Group-select each of these and use the Rotate and Move edit handles to reposition them.

To make this garden a bit more dramatic, elevate it a few inches above the surrounding terrain and add some plants to the design.


To increase the height of the garden bed and add plants

  1. Select Terrain> Modifier> Raised Region , then click and drag in plan view to draw a rounded region around the garden area.

  2. With the region selected, click the Open Object edit button and specify the region's Height to be 4".

  3. Next, select Terrain> Garden Bed> Round Garden Bed tool to create a terrain feature approximately the same size as the raised region and give it the same material as the garden paths on the Materials panel of the Terrain Feature Specification dialog.

  4. An additional ring of ground covering can be added to further define the garden area and provide an area in which to place a couple of garden benches.

  5. To place plants in the garden, select Library> Library Browser , then click the Plant Chooser button.

    The Plant section of the Library Browser contains an extensive plant catalog which you can browse through and select; and the Plant Chooser allows you to search for plants based on attributes that you specify.

  6. Furniture, recreational items, decorative pieces, and many other objects can be found in the Library Browser .

    Select an object, such as a Garden Bench, and click in plan view to place it there.

  7. To see what your garden looks like at any time, select 3D> Create Camera View and use either the Full Camera or Full Overview tools to create a 3D camera view.

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