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How to model a courtyard with a BIM software Edificius

How to model a courtyard with a BIM software

Modelling outdoor spaces with a BIM software. Here's how to easily design a terrain digital model in DWG file format with contour lines and insert all the landscape detail elements

When planning external spaces, many factors needs to be considered. External spaces, with special attention to the garden, should not be overlooked and a good collaboration between the  landscape architect and the house designer is essential to connect the architecture and the landcape harmoniously.

Generally, integrating the garden arrangement with a functional part is not an easy task. Fundamental aspects of the garden planning, such as water and lighting systems, earthworks, furnishing elements, pedestrian walkaways and driveways need to be taken into account.

You need to play with spaces in order to create the illusion of a large area even when the garden is small, and therefore designing a modern garden.

Thanks to the BIM technology it is possible to design, verify and modify the different design stages of the exterior spaces, since a single software can digitally manage the various aspects of architectural design and soil modelling, as well as integrate furniture and vegetation.

The project

The project that will be examined as a case study in this article is relating to a medium-sized single-family residence built in Brazil.

rendered view of the external area_software BIM architetural Edificius

rendered view of the external area

The structure of the residence is made of reinforced concrete and is built on two levels: basement and first floor.




On the basement level, that you access through a slightly sloping yard, you can find the garage and the main entrance, leading through a staircase to the upper floor.


External staircase


The stairwell is built with glass windows to confer a sense of visual continuity between interior and exterior spaces and a higher amount of natural lighting.
The courtyard leading to the building has been designed with particular care and attention to details, while the adjacent road has a planimetric "S" shaped route.  On the side of the residence you can find a flight of stairs for the pedestrian crossing.


Pedestrian side staircase

Let's now see how to design a courtyard and insert all the detail elements in few steps with Edificius, the architectural BIM design software.

Designing and modelling an external courtyard

The courtyard modelling and its external arrangement is done in the terrain environment.
To define the trend and the particular shape of the courtyard we import a CAD drawing in .dwg format that will help to set the project extent together with the relative snap points.

With the magnetic snaps we can follow the  planimetric trend of the DWG CAD drawing.
In the 3D view we then proceed to define the height profile by assigning each node the relating elevation value and connecting the landing to the garage door sill and to the adjacent road.
We can add the escarpment using the automatic generation tool  Add escarpement, thus connecting the courtyard with the terrain.

Modelling the road with the help of a software

We can now proceed to insert a perimeter wall at the edges of the courtyard using the Solid on Terrain tool. In the properties toolbox under the profile section we can select a rectangular shape from the catalogue.

We can temporarily hide the terrain using the Terrain transparency function and thanks to the Magic wand tool continue by selecting the courtyard so to automatically insert the perimeter wall that will overlap on its shape.

Subsequently, we continue the modelling by inserting the road delimiting our model building. In this case as well we assign the relative elevation to each point, still in the 3D view,  and we connect it to the surrounding terrain through the function Add escarpement.

Inserting the courtyard texture

Finally we can apply the materials in high definition available in the Edificius catalogue. Such materials parameters can be edited according to your needs and consequently confering an extremely realistic effect.


Take a look at the summary video below:


Do you need to design exterior spaces? Try now Edificius, the architectural design BIM software, for free!