mgianzero

What's the best way to make a raised plantar bed?

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So I've been playing around with all sorts of wall types (terrain walls, retaining walls, non-retaining wall) and even countertops to make my exterior walls as part of a yard plan.  Problem is, I'm trying to understand the quirky behavior of all these types of walls while trying to find the best way to make a raised plantar bed.

 

We all know that CA has "Terrain Walls" as a feature, but this 3D object has very few options and no wall caps which I think is a big drawback.

 

So, I figured I'd use retaining walls that would contain my soil.  I know initially the walls will have zero height on a flat terrain.  So then I place a raised "terrain region" inside my box and, viola, it raises the walls to my raised terrain inside.  I next use a "terrain feature" to place soil inside my bed.  Great so far. 

 

However, I want the capped walls to be higher than the soil.  If I lower my terrain feature by giving it a negative height, then CA shows a flickering of wall materials along the inside walls.  (Sorry I don't know how else to explain this besides calling it a "flickering" effect.)  Also, if I then lower the "terrain region" all the walls drop to the same height which I also don't want. 

 

I did notice, however, that if I decide to manually change any or all of these plantar wall heights initially, then they will not change height again if I lower my terrain region.  I guess by forcing a wall height by doing it manually makes it so the walls will stay where they are.  Okay  ...  so I do that and it almost works.  Only thing is, it can sometimes be difficult to manually set or snap these plantar walls to the same height.  Only way I know how to do this is using the "Cross Section / Elevation" tool and look at each wall individually in 4 different views and make sure their heights are identical.  And then I'm done!

 

Whew!  That's a lot of steps.  Is there an easier way?

 

Attached is my plan file as my example of how I did this.

 

 

 

Marc G.

Plantar bed.zip

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Hey guys, thanks so much for the prompt and thorough response - even with videos!

 

Well, actually I mistyped when I posted this note.  I meant to say that I used "retaining walls" and NOT "terrain walls" for my plantar beds ...  I corrected that in my above post in bold. 

 

However, if I may be honest, both of your techniques (Eric and David) are using other ways to make walls which are ingenious, but I find even more complicated than mine.  Just being honest here.  For someone who is new to CA, I'm a little overwhelmed with this idea.  I really wanted to use the traditional (not sure that's the right word) methods that CA has in place for creating my terrain.  This way I can even find my objects easier and, if need be, place them in their own custom layers.  I know it's not that hard to make these changes, but at least, with my method, these walls will default to the "walls" layer so there's not as much organizing that I have to do.

 

My biggest problem with my technique is that it's very difficult to specify the EXACT height of my plantar walls (which are really foundation walls in CA).  The only way I know to do this is use " Cross Section / Elevation" under orthographic views.  Then I look at each wall individually and select them and change their heights.  Is there an easier way to specify the exact height of these walls using my method?

 

Marc

 

 

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8 hours ago, mgianzero said:

My biggest problem with my technique is that it's very difficult to specify the EXACT height of my plantar walls (which are really foundation walls in CA).  The only way I know to do this is use " Cross Section / Elevation" under orthographic views.  Then I look at each wall individually and select them and change their heights.  Is there an easier way to specify the exact height of these walls using my method?

You are sort of on the right track, but are over complicating things. 

I would make it out of normal walls and build a room - no roof, no ceiling - and fast to build.

For the walls, uncheck Foundation Wall, Terrain Retaining Wall and No Room Definition.

Height of walls are determined by the room's ceiling height.

Dirt is a really thick floor finish - dirt material.

Wall have already done the wall cap.

Using a room, everything stays together and it is very easy to edit, change size, change materials, etc.

Have a look at what I did to your plan - especially the terrain and the planter room.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-10-15 at 11.24.21 pm.jpg

GLENNS Test on terrain walls.plan

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10 hours ago, glennw said:

You are sort of on the right track, but are over complicating things. 

I would make it out of normal walls and build a room - no roof, no ceiling - and fast to build.

For the walls, uncheck Foundation Wall, Terrain Retaining Wall and No Room Definition.

Height of walls are determined by the room's ceiling height.

Dirt is a really thick floor finish - dirt material.

Wall have already done the wall cap.

Using a room, everything stays together and it is very easy to edit, change size, change materials, etc.

Have a look at what I did to your plan - especially the terrain and the planter room.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-10-15 at 11.24.21 pm.jpg

GLENNS Test on terrain walls.plan

 

 

Yes!  I really like that technique!

 

I had tried doing it that before but I was having some issues with it.  I think I was trying to then use the terrain features and it wasn't working because CA thinks of the bed to be an interior room.  I got around that by using a slab and changing material to "soil" to fill the inside instead of using a terrain feature.

 

Thanks again Glenn!

 

But I do love using rooms to 3D create unusual features.  As a matter of fact, I ended up drawing up my pool with a variable sloping and curving bottom by using a room with a terrain bottom.  Pretty cool what can be done with CA!

 

 

 

Marc

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One problem I'm having with this technique though  ...

 

Since I'm also placing a house on this terrain, I like to set the sub floor at 7 1/2" above the terrain.  The one problem with using a room definition for a plantar bed is that the bottom of the walls sit higher than the terrain if you remove the footing and have the subfloor sitting above the terrain a bit.  How do I avoid this without having to manually pull the walls down lower so they intersect with the terrain?

 

Marc

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Lower the floor height of the planter room - you may then have to raise the ceiling height.

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22 hours ago, glennw said:

Lower the floor height of the planter room - you may then have to raise the ceiling height.

 

Yes you've answered my question concisely again!  I guess I just wasn't thinking the whole process through correctly. 

 

But now this bring up yet another question here.  I have several plantar walls (some are retaining type and some are not) in the back yard that also do not fully go all the way to the terrain,  especially if I choose to not use a foundation wall (or footing) beneath it.  So how do I adjust these walls since they are not really defining a room with a ceiling and a floor?  If I open default setting for walls and choose either exterior walls or foundation walls the "default wall height" settings are greyed out even.  So how do I get my other walls to come down to the level of the terrain like the plantar room in the front?

 

I still want to keep my subfloor height above terrain at my usual 7 1/2" because of my house that needs to sit higher.

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The top and bottom heights of freestanding walls, when they are first drawn, are controlled by the default floor and ceiling height settings  for the floor they are drawn on.

In your case the floor is at zero height and the ceiling is 109 1/8" - the wall will build between these 2 values.

The reason that the default top and bottom heights are greyed out is because the wall is already conforming to those default heights.

You can change the top and bottom heights in a cross section/elevation view, by selecting the wall and dragging the top or bottom. You can also use the temporary dimension to do the same thing.

Select the wall by the bottom and then using the temporary dimension will move the bottom of the wall.

Selecting the wall by the top and then using the temp dimension will move the top of the wall.

Once you have changed the top or bottom of the wall the default top height and default bottom height checkboxes will become available - because they are no longer at the default height.

When they are available and you check them, the wall top and bottom heights will return to the floor and ceiling height defaults for the floor.

 

Clear as mud.....

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23 hours ago, glennw said:

The top and bottom heights of freestanding walls, when they are first drawn, are controlled by the default floor and ceiling height settings  for the floor they are drawn on.

In your case the floor is at zero height and the ceiling is 109 1/8" - the wall will build between these 2 values.

The reason that the default top and bottom heights are greyed out is because the wall is already conforming to those default heights.

You can change the top and bottom heights in a cross section/elevation view, by selecting the wall and dragging the top or bottom. You can also use the temporary dimension to do the same thing.

Select the wall by the bottom and then using the temporary dimension will move the bottom of the wall up.

Selecting the wall by the top and then using the temp dimension will move the top of the wall down.

Once you have changed the top or bottom of the wall the default top height and default bottom height checkboxes will become available - because they are no longer at the default height.

When they are available and you check them, the wall top and bottom heights will return to the floor and ceiling height defaults for the floor.

 

Clear as mud.....

 

 

Genn,

 

 I'm still struggling to understand the default bottom (and top) wall heights when I carry this concept to the backyard like here.

1673282238_Wallswithdifferentbottomheights..thumb.jpg.de60964dbf0fb7e3ab6c245e027aaada.jpg

Notice I have three walls and two have a foundation wall that sits higher than the third one.  I want them all to default to an exact height like in the lower wall.  I've attached my plan that I'm working on for you to see.

 

Also, I don't mean to have this post get too off topic, but I did what you said regarding Cross Section / Elevation to make my lighted pillar higher than the surrounding walls like you said.  But then how do I fix my cap to make it a 4 sided pillar cap like here?  Again, you can see my attempt at this in my plan file.

 

1684760978_Lightpillar.thumb.jpeg.1974a01bfa487bdc1a4f6ea27679d493.jpeg

Thanks again for ALL of your help!

 

 

Yard plantar & retaining walls.zip

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The wall bottom heights all look the same height to me. EDIT: See later in my post.

Any difference you may see could be caused by the fact that you have the long wall on the left designated as a Terrain Retaining Wall and the other walls are not TRW.

I do not use TRWs because they cause too many problems.

IMHO, it is better to use a Terrain Break to shape the terrain and then use a standard wall as the retaining wall. 

 

You can't use a Wall Cap to do pier caps - a wall cap will only run along the length of the wall.

There are probably many ways to do the pier caps.

The easiest way would to find one in the library.

Or, try a Custom Countertop with a Molding. 

 

PS, another tip:

Your semi-circular planter box is not tangent to the walls either side.

Pull back the end of 21" thick wall from the planter as it is getting in the way.

Select the semi-circular wall.

On the edit toolbar, select Make Arc Tangent.

Pull the end of the 21" wall back.

Fix you paving, etc.

 

PPS, Yes, I confirm that the wall that is designated Terrain Retaining Wall is causing the problem.

That is exactly why I don't use that type of wall - because they follow the terrain.

In this case, I think it is the Terrain Feature in front of the wall that is causing the bottom of the retaining will to move.

 

Screen Shot 2020-10-18 at 10.09.03 am.jpg

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7 hours ago, glennw said:

The wall bottom heights all look the same height to me. EDIT: See later in my post.

Any difference you may see could be caused by the fact that you have the long wall on the left designated as a Terrain Retaining Wall and the other walls are not TRW.

I do not use TRWs because they cause too many problems.

IMHO, it is better to use a Terrain Break to shape the terrain and then use a standard wall as the retaining wall. 

 

You can't use a Wall Cap to do pier caps - a wall cap will only run along the length of the wall.

There are probably many ways to do the pier caps.

The easiest way would to find one in the library.

Or, try a Custom Countertop with a Molding. 

 

PS, another tip:

Your semi-circular planter box is not tangent to the walls either side.

Pull back the end of 21" thick wall from the planter as it is getting in the way.

Select the semi-circular wall.

On the edit toolbar, select Make Arc Tangent.

Pull the end of the 21" wall back.

Fix you paving, etc.

 

PPS, Yes, I confirm that the wall that is designated Terrain Retaining Wall is causing the problem.

That is exactly why I don't use that type of wall - because they follow the terrain.

In this case, I think it is the Terrain Feature in front of the wall that is causing the bottom of the retaining will to move.

 

Screen Shot 2020-10-18 at 10.09.03 am.jpg

 

Okay  ...   I did as you said and made my piers using countertops to get the caps I want.  Perfect!  But I had to use room dividers to keep the rest of the wall from merging with this pier.  Don't know if that's the right way to do it but seems to work.

 

I also tried to fix the circular plantar bed in the back to make it more tangent on the side but I think I made it worse as my pavers appear more disrupted than before as seen here:

 

502742404_Tangentcircplantarbed.thumb.jpg.1325457002cde633d02abafbfc756f72.jpg

 

 

And lastly, to be honest, I'm still not fully understanding what CA is doing with regards to wall heights (particularly the bottom heights) and the default wall height settings.  Notice in this area (another rounded plantar bed) I am NOT using terrain walls but I also don't want the foundation walls to show underneath.  But if I remove the foundation walls, the plantar walls bottom heights are too high as seen here.  (You can see the soil from underneath the walls.

  

1724849038_Roundedplantarbedwithhighlowerwallheight.thumb.jpg.abdd1dc70533d3dd57af5f06327161c3.jpg

 

But if I happen to make these walls terrain walls (and set to default bottom height) it lowers the walls to the terrain.  But I don't want them as terrain walls.  So are the defaults somehow set different for these two walls types?  If so, where do I change this in my defaults?

 

I submitted my plans with the above changes.

 

 

Marc

Yard plantar & retaining walls V2.zip

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I can't see how  countertop pier can merge with a wall?

One way to stop walls merging with walls is to reverse one of the walls (Reverse Layers on the edit toolbar).

This works well in this case because you are dealing with a single layer wall and means you won't need the room dividers.

 

The circular planter is still not tangent.

Pull back the end of the lower 21" wall away from the circular planter - about 4' should do it.

Select the circular planter wall and click Make Arc Tangent on the edit toolbar.

In the pop up, just leave things as they are, click OK.

The curve wall ends should now be tangent to the 2 flanking walls.

Drag the 21" wall back to meet the circular wall.

 

Is there any reason why you set your level 1 floor to -7.5"?

Try setting it back to zero.

So...with the long curved planter wall - it is a normal wall, no retaining wall.

You have dragged the top of the wall down and the bottom is the default when you drew the wall.

The top of this freestanding normal wall will be the ceiling height set for the floor (Defaults>Floors and Rooms>Floor Levels>1st Floor>Absolute Elevations>Ceiling - in this case 97 1/8".

The bottom of the wall will be zero height as this is Chiefs standard reference floor level for level 1.

You now just need to drag the bottom of the wall down to where you want.

If you want accuracy, you can use the Temporary Dimensions or you could snap the bottom of the wall to a cad line drawn at the correct height.

 

A terrain retaining wall, on the other hand follows the terrain levels.

The top of the retaining wall is determined by the height of the terrain on the high side of the wall and the bottom height is determined by the terrain height on the low side of the wall.

So there are no default heights for a retaining wall - they vary as they follow the terrain.

A retaining wall is really a normal wall with a terrain break built in (and follows the terrain).

If you have a terrain with lots of slope and shaping, you can end up with a retaining wall with lots of break points along the top and bottom joined with sloping wall tops and bottoms, which make the wall pretty useless.

That is why I warned you away from retaining walls.

If you draw retaining walls over a flat terrain area (like a lot of yours), you won't have much of a wall at all.

 

 

 

 

 

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