Editing Terrain to Create a Daylight Basement

Reference Number: KB-00868
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 Interiors or Home Designer Essentials or Home Designer Landscape & Deck


How can I create a daylight basement that is partially above grade?


By default, the program will lower the height of the terrain so that it is below the floor platform of Floor 1, placing the ceiling of the basement below just below grade. You can easily direct it to lower the terrain further to position part of the basement above grade and create a daylight basement.


To create a daylight basement

  1. Open the plan in which you would like to lower the terrain or select File> New Plan  to create a new, blank plan.

    In this example, a simple 20' x 30' plan is used. 

  2. Select Terrain> Create Terrain Perimeter  from the menu. 

    If this item is not available, a terrain perimeter already exists in this plan. Select
    Window> Fill Window  to see it. 

  3. Select Build> Floor> Build Foundation  from the menu.  In the Build Foundation dialog, select Wall with Footings, specify the desired Wall Height, and click OK.

    • In this example, a Wall Height of 100" is used, which will create an 8' ceiling in the basement.

    • In the New Floor dialog which opens next, select Derive new Foundation plan from the 1st Floor plan and click OK.

  4. Select Tools> Reference Floors> Up One Floor  to return to Floor 1.

  5. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera  from the menu, then click and drag a camera arrow towards the exterior of the structure to see the results so far.

    Notice that several inches of the concrete foundation stem walls can be seen between the walls of Floor 1 and the terrain. 

  6. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on the terrain perimeter to select it and click the Open Object  edit button. 

  7. On the General panel of the Terrain Specification dialog:

    • Uncheck Automatic.

    • Notice that the Elevation value is 18".  This is the distance from the floor platform of Floor 1 down to the terrain. This value includes the thickness of the floor platform, which is 12".

    • Specify the desired difference in height between the floor of Floor 1 and the terrain in the Elevation field, making sure to enter a positive number rather than a negative one.

    • In this example, a Pad Elevation value of 48" is used.

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

  8. When the Terrain Specification dialog closes and you return to the camera view and see the results.