Professional Landscape Design Software
Realtime Landscaping Architect Landscape Design Software

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Adding a Retaining Wall

Usually, Retaining walls are used on steeply sloped lots and terraces to provide support and prevent erosion, but landscape retaining walls can also be used as freestanding partitions. Retaining wall designs can be created in many different shapes and styles because in Realtime Landscaping Architect, retaining walls support curves, variable heights, stepped or curved, terrain cutting, optional caps, and independent cap material selection.

To add a retaining wall:

1.   Click the Add Retaining Wall button, which is found at the top of the screen under the Building tab.

2.   Draw the outline of the Retaining Wall by clicking the left mouse button to add points. Press the Backspace key to remove the last point added, and press the Esc key to cancel. If you would like to input the distance and angle manually, place at least one point and then press the Enter key.

3.   To finish drawing the Retaining Wall, right-click to place the last point.

The design below shows an example Retaining Wall.

Adjusting the Shape of a Retaining Wall

The height of a Retaining Wall can be modified at each point, which allows you to add Retaining Walls that slope up or taper down.

To modify the wall height:

1.   Click the Retaining Wall in your design to select it.

2.   Click the Edit points button found in the properties to enable point editing mode.

3.   Click the point on your Retaining Wall that you would like to adjust. Additional points can be added if needed.

4.   Modify the Height property to raise or lower the selected portion of the Retaining Wall. Alternately, hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard, click and hold the left mouse button over the point you wish to adjust, and then raise or lower the mouse.

5.   When finished, click the Edit points button to disable point editing mode.

The picture below shows an example of a retaining wall that was tapered at both ends using the steps above.

retaining wall design

Creating Stepped Retaining Walls

To create a stepped retaining wall, click the Stepped option. You can then adjust the height of each segment using the above instructions.

stepped retaining wall design idea

Using the Cut Terrain Feature

One of Realtime Landscaping Architect’s powerful features is its ability to support retaining walls that cut into the terrain realistically. This feature is useful when creating landscape designs with varying topology.

To cut into the terrain:

1.   Click a Retaining Wall that has been added to your design.

2.   Select Edit, Terrain Sculpting Order, and Bring to Top to ensure that the cutting effect of the Retaining Wall is applied on top of any other topology changes.

3.   Click the Cut terrain property to enable terrain cutting.

4.   If you find that the Retaining Wall is cutting the terrain in the wrong direction, click the Reverse cut direction property.

5.   To change the cut distance, use the Cut distance property.

6.   To change the cutting angles, click Edit Cut Angles and adjust the blue handles at the start and end points. When finished, click Edit Cut Angles again to resume normal editing.

landscape terrain retaining wall cut

Creating Terraces

Retaining walls can be used to create terraces on sloping terrain.

To create terraces:

1.   Add a Slope to your landscape design using the Slope tool. For details see Sculpting the Terrain.

2.   Create one Retaining Wall to cut the lowest terrace level, and configure the Retaining Wall to cut the terrain following the steps above.

3.   Set the Height property of the Retaining Wall to the desired height of the first terrace level. Alternately, use the Auto wall height property to calculate the Retaining Wall height automatically based on the surrounding terrain.

4.   Add another Retaining Wall for the next terrace level and set the Elevation property to approximately a few feet, depending on your needs.

5.   Repeat these steps for each terrace level.

The picture below shows an example of two Retaining Walls that have been used to create a flower bed terrace.

landscaping terrace


      Use the Auto Wall Height option, which is located to the right of the screen when a Retaining Wall is selected, to automatically calculate the Retaining Wall height based on the surrounding terrain.

      Retaining Walls can be added in both the Plan view and the Perspective view, but are usually easiest to add in the Plan view.

      Using the grid snap feature can make adding an accurate Retaining Wall very easy. See Snap Settings for more details.

      If you simply need a small wall to use as edging, you should consider using the Edging object instead.

      If you find that your Retaining Wall is not cutting the terrain like you expected it to, the reason might be that the terrain sculpting objects were added after the Retaining Wall. See Controlling the Terrain Sculpting Order for more information.

See also:

Retaining Wall Properties
Setting Object Properties
Selecting Objects
Editing Points
Editing Objects
Sculpting the Terrain