Is there anyone out there incorporating BIM into their practice of Landscape Architecture?

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I'm currently in grad school for LA and am taking a Revit class to see what I can do differently with my studio work. Although it is very building oriented, I think there are lots of possibilities with it, especially if I want to collaborate with architects in the future. It's a great modeling program and the rendering is much better than I thought it would be. Just my 2 cents.
as long as everyone on the team is using Revit it is very good at cutting time and costs, I know some multi-disciplinary firms are going to it, but they do everything in house and do not have to deal with consultatns who are not on Revit.
I have been messing wit Revit for a little bit now am pretty impressed. It will be an excellent LA tool with a little bit of work. The ability to import terrain from other applications is good though editing in Revit is a little bit clunky at this point. I think that the only thing that really needs to happen is that introduction of landscape specific families and components. This will take people making them themselves but shouldn't be that hard. I am figuring it out now but don't really know what to make. Any ideas?
At my last job we were working on combining Revit with Civil. We could easily bring rough terrain from Google Earth into Civil then export it into Revit. The modeling of terrain wasn't the best, and like RFox says there are no families or components for landscape so there wasn't much more we could do. I see the possibilities, but think the software still needs work before it is L.A. ready.
I started using Revit in 2004 in my own Landscape Architecture practice doing residential design. I found it not so great with quick conceptual design. For conceptual work, I prefer hand sketching over plan or 3D view print outs of the existing conditions or photos. I have found that software design programs are too cumbersome and slow compared to the speed at which design ideas flow. However, Revit was good for the design development and detailing. I loved being able to flesh out the 3D details in Revit and get accurate estimates of materials. I love what I can do with stairs. I also made my own plant family library that made planting design fun and easier than any software out there. (If you want to see these families, do a search on my name on TurboSquid.) Another nice thing about Revit is the document coordination. All my plans, details, 3D views, walkthroughs, renderings, and sheets were coordinated. I even used the phasing quite a bit from existing conditions, to permitting, to design, to construction sequencing. Grading in Revit is a bear though; but with a few tricks, I made it bearable. I also had to fake in curbs and complex curved walls, though Revit 2010 opens up a whole new area to discover that could help with this. Another thing that could help with some of the drawbacks is that Revit does have a decent API. If you know how to program in .NET, you may be able to create your own Revit landscape helping tools to get around the rough spots in Revit. If you don't know how to program, there are people who offer that as a service.

So overall I took the good with the bad, mitigagted the bad and came up with a workflow that suited me and the types of projects I was doing. (Side note: for projects over 2 miles square, watch out for Revit accuracy issues.) I also did some Architectural renovation, so Revit was essential, and that influenced my decision to use it for Landscape Architecture.

Is Revit ready for Landscape Architecture? Well, that depends. Landscape Architecture is a pretty broad profession and there are certainly circumstances like mine where it was a good fit and there are circumstances where it is a bad fit. So take what you know about the way you think and work and compare that to the benefits and drawbacks of the software. I hope I have shed a little light on some of both.
Hi. I have used Revit Architecture since 2005 and used it in urban planning and landscaping. Here is my blog that shows some of the projects I've worked with in Revit.
Is there anyone who has tried LandCADD for Revit.

Though LandCadd from EaglePoint Software has a solution for Revit.  They are not a very good company to work with.  They have no loyalty to their legacy customers.  They left me high and dry and I am having to spend thousands of dollars and start over on a new learning curve software speaking because they have no respect for their legacy customers.   I have a sneaking feeling that LandFX is working on a Revit solution and I would wait and see what they come up with before I made a move.  If your firm has plenty of money to burn and you need a BIM solution for LA's now LandCadd for Revit might be a option.  But I would use them as a last resort!


Best wishes!


CivilCAD 3D is the "Revit" of the civil engineers world and has many applications for landscape architecture. It is the tool for any land modelling, road or pathway corridors, drainage etc, what you would expect from a package for civil engineers. You build the site as a "dyamnic model" and the software produces the documentation which is a major advantage of information rich modelling. If we were civil engineers there'd be no question, Civil 3D would be the answer. We use it for topographic modelling. However we have not yet pushed the boundaries to see to what extent it can cover the full scope of landscape works.

We also use LandF/X for planting and irrigation. It does a great job on this. It produces automatic schedules of items and Bills of Quantities for this scope of work. It also can do the same for horizontal surface finishes.


It is partly because the scope of our profession and work is so rich and varied that there is no one "Information Package" that can do it all for landscape architects. It would be a very worthwhile pursuit to build a case strong enough to raise interest amongst the software providers.

I believe it will be important for the landscape architectural profession to have a landscape ready information modelling package. This is the way of the future no doubt.



Laith, There is a similar discussion just now happening in LinkedIn, and I'm glad to hear you are using a tool that uses information associated with the 2D and 3D objects within your CAD workflow. In seeking a CAD application that does it all for landscape architects, I think you may be surprised to see that Vectorworks Landmark actually does the functions you are finding worthwhile in Civil 3D, like digital terrain modeling, as well as slope analysis and cut and fill calcs. It also provides other landscape specific tools such as planting, plant databasing, hardscapes like pavement and walls, GIS file management, etc. and does this all with an integrated 2D/3D environment. Its DWG import and export allows for collaboration with others using AutoCAD and Civil 3D, and with the Vectorworks Architect module added, it can import and export IFC files to collaborate with other BIM applications

Hi Eric. Thanks for the reply. How does Vectorworks handle other elements such as

  • railings and fences (linear elements)
  • landscape structures and furniture (compenents)
  • wall finishes
  • sub-surface drainage

Also which LinkedIn group is the discussion?

Hey Laith, Vectorworks has a guardrail tool and a wall tool. A tool specific to fences has been discussed for development, but not yet a current feature. Landscape features/site furniture are symbol objects and are available for use. Data can be assigned to them, and routinely, we release vendor specific libraries of these objects where data will already be assigned to use in scheduling (by worksheets). Wall finishes are handled by component driven, parametric wall objects. A wall can be unstyled but know how thick and tall it is, or you can choose a wall that knows its components (i.e. gyp board, metal framing and brick veneer). The texture seen in 3D of those walls would be specific to the component chosen, or another texture applied as an override). If you take a section cut through the wall or site and wall, you would see where the grade meets the wall and the components within the wall. Though you can use 3D modeled geometry to represent the subsurface drainage, there is at least one plug-in tool that I know of that will help manage civil oriented tasks such as subssurface utilities, among some other tools. There are some tools within Landmark that handle roads and parking layout as well. The parking tools are a couple of my favorites.

The LinkedIn discussion is within ASLA's Group. The person posting has not had a lot of responses yet, so I'm sure she would appreciate your input. Now that I say this, she will probably get a great deal...which is probably a good thing. There will be a great deal of BIM workflow sessions at this year's ASLA conference in San Diego. Hope you can make it to them.


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