Best place to start - home project

I have a building developer who is trying to extend the house next door and his drawings are not very clear as to the impact to my house or other neighbours.
I am looking to draw and model 3 houses initially and to be able to draw accurately the walls, boundaries, heights etc.
I’d like to be able to add the windows and see the impact to the view of the extension from the windows.

I am a competent computer user but not an architect and haven’t used sketchup before. I have started the tutorials to get a feel for the basics but would welcome guidance on how to start and how you would go about this - eg do you start with house-plots on street and drill in creating models for each house etc.

I have so far just subscribed for the free sketchup-web version for home use but will I need anything else.

Any advice welcome.


I assume you have hard copies of the plans to your house? Start modeling there, on a flat surface. Then move on to the adjacent properties (you’ll probably not be able to obtain hard copies of those plans but will have to eye-ball it in conjunction with aerial imagery). Start with the building envelope and work your way into the details (doors / windows / roofs / whatever) relevant to your use case.

If your property has a slope, you can sort that out later. Like wise with the adjacent properties.

As Julian indicated draw the properties first. Then model the houses in place on them. Considering the use case for the model, I would limit the amount of detail you add to each house. Don’t bother adding details that don’t figure in the reason you are making this model for now. Skip the materials to begin with, too. They can look pretty but don’t help you in your modeling work.

Get to grips with making groups and components along with correct layer usage so you can control the visibility of parts of the model as needed.

It could be useful to have the Pro version because you can use the Add Location feature to get terrain and imagery for your neighborhood. Assuming shadows are important, there’s an extension available that will allow you to set Solar North. There are extensions that make it easier to add the property lines if you have the surveyor’s plat maps.