Now and again I have a client who lives in a sky environment or on a flat parcel that does not allow terraforming. Trying to figure out how to get a beautiful landscape can be really daunting when you have limited abilities to change your terrain shape or texture.
This post is just to touch on some basics to get you started on your way to a gorgeous parcel. All Items used in this “how-to” will be linked at the bottom of this post to help you find them easier. For this, I created a large platform by linking together 4, 64×64 meter prims, then texturing them with a grass texture.
First lets talk about ground textures. To get right to the point, some land companies use terrible terrain textures. If you don’t have your own sim or Homestead, you’re generally at the mercy of those textures. Thankfully, there is a way to circumvent this. There is a product called the “Land Map” tool that you can purchase on the MP. It uses scanners to make an exact copy of the shape of your land and then makes sculpted prims that you can texture with any grass or sand texture you like. It comes with a comprehensive manual that walks you through the process step-by-step. I struggle with technical stuff like this but I found this one pretty easy to use. This won’t apply to those of you who already like your land textures but it is definitely handy info for down the road should you ever need it. There may be similar products available that help achieve this as well. If you know of one, toss me a message and I will add it here!
Once you have the ground texture you like (There are tons on the MP, my personal favs are from Studio Skye ) you can start focusing on building up the landscape.
If you want to enclose your parcel you have a few options. You can use thick foliage, privacy screens or mesh cliff walls (I am using cliff walls from Fanatik in these pics). Trees can provide a lot of beauty but may be prim intensive so if you’re counting prims I would recommend searching the MP using various keywords such as “privacy screens” “Mesh cliff walls” etc and finding a good option for your style and prim/L’s budget . One tip I have, is to see an item in world whenever possible so you don’t end up spending more money than necessary on items that don’t measure up to the ad pictures.
To break up the flatness, I like to use landforms. A landform is a sculpt or a mesh that is shaped in various ways to allow you to create a more dynamic environment. For this post, I am using some mesh hills to build up a basic scene that will help give you an idea of what you can do. There are numerous options available on the MP – Search “landforms”, “Mesh Landscape Kit” etc. I like to mix in large and small rocks as well to really break up the effect and give it an organic feel. When you rez them out, play with moving them around and pairing together various pieces to create different effects. You can sink them, resize them and most can even be re-textured to suit your needs. There are endless possibilities to what you can come up with using this method. There are even premade ponds and stream kits that require no terraforming.
You can also use landforms, cliff pieces, etc to build up elevated sections for placing homes or anything else you can dream up. There are so many options for just about every project.
Dress it up! You don’t have to wait to have all of your land pieces/rocks in place before you start adding in other elements. For me, when I start to get stumped, I play with trees, plants, flowers, etc. Sometimes moving them around and trying out different placements helps to give me a clearer direction of how I want to final product to look. Try adding in paths, ponds and streams,or even place waterfalls.
Experiment mixing trees and plants of different shapes and colors for a natural look. Place plants and flowers up on landforms to break up the scenery and add depth. If you start to get frustrated, don’t give up! You won’t always start a project with a clear picture in your mind and even when you do, sometimes it takes some practice and a little finesse to get everything how you imagine it. Use google search to find reference pictures, check out other sims to see what types of techniques they use and above all, practice! practice!practice! You will get it 🙂
Finished product with windlight enabled!
What I used to enclose the platform – :Fanatik Architecture: CLIFF COVER (They come in a few different texture options, I choose the more neutral colors so I can tint them easily.)
Landforms I used to make small & medium hills – Landscaping by Felix I am using bits from a kit he sells called “Ultimative Mesh Landscape Building Set” that I found on the MP. It contains lots of useful bits and many can be retextured.)
Rocks – All styles – Studio Skye. I am using items from the Boulder Set (built in texture change) as well as the Cuesta Rocks kit.
Various plants are from:
Heart gardens (garlic mustard flowers)
Studio Skye (MP link direct to the specific kit)
Reid Parkin – Ferns (LOTS of affordable landscape options in this store)
Land Map This tool does not require you to have land powers. The creator has included a video in his listing. I have linked directly to the listing.
Virtual Nature – Wooden pathways. (Lots of great items in this store!) Marketplace link.
[DDD] Mine entry and cart.