Easiest way to make organic shapes in SketchUp


I am a garden designer trying to make organic 2D shapes in SketchUp 2019 eg lakes, planting beds, meadows, example image attached.

I’ve tried using Bezier curves but not managed to make a joined up shape, just a line. I’ve read about Bezier Spline but that doesn’t seem to be available anymore. Do I need an extension or is there an easy way to do this?

I am a new SketchUp user.

I have been looking online for a while and just can’t figure this out! Any help appreciated.

Many thanks

Bezier Spline is alive and well and available from Sketchucation and it would be a good tool for outlining shapes like these. SketchUp’s native tools aren’t well suited for drawing shapes like them. LayOut’s drawing tools could be used and then you could export the shapes in a DXF file that you’d import into SketchUp. I’d start with Bezier Spline.

Here I traced one of your shapes using the Catmull Spline tool from the Bezier Spline tools set.


Ahhh I see…! I was looking in the extension warehouse. Seriously thank you for this- life saver.

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Yes. Not all extensions are hosted in the Extension Warehouse. In fact there are quite a few that aren’t.

See the image I added to my previous post.

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Got it - thank you :slight_smile: Just about to give it a go.

Next step will be forming 3D mounds of earth like the image attached. Any pointers on that?

You could look at the Sandbox tools and Vertex Tools. The former is a native tool set. Vertex Tools is an extension from the Extension Warehouse.

Are these mounds existing and do they have contours drawn from a survey or are you pulling them out of your hat?

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All from my imagination.

I have got sandbox but never used. I will check out Vertex.

This is the first time I am using curves in any of my designs - I have been dreading it!

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Think of it as a new adventure! :smiley:


Hah! I’ve had a few too many, so much software to learn!

thank you very much again

Here’s a real quick demo of sandbox, you can change the amount of detail and the size of the tool just by typing and enter.


Also useful to know about the drape tool.


This is awesome - thank you!

For making new landscape shapes, I think this is a good intro. And anything from Daniel Tal will be helpful for landscape desgn. He has online courses as well. https://sites.google.com/site/3dbasecamp2008/all-sessions-2008/working-with-terrain-and-other-irregular-surfaces
This is an older video so it won’t discuss newer plugins like Vertex tools.

Some Plugins for terrain:
Sandbox Tools the basics, simple, usually works.
Toposhaper great tool if you have isocontours, start slow.Create surface with nice geometry.
Vertex tools for shaping
Artisan for shaping (sculpt tools)
Soap Skin Bubble creating surfaces from outlines, that can then be shaped
ValiArchitects Instant Scripts various tools for roads, retaining walls, and terrain
TIG’s extrusion tools
TIG’s Height above datum tool when you really want to check your elevations

Oh I forgot to add CURVILOFT of course for making skins of various shapes.


thank you very much for this - I will check it out

I suggest you take SketchUp’s free online track just for Landscape & Site designers:

more specfically to you question, check out Course 2: Terrain & Grading. The first lesson in that course explores SketchUp’s native tools while the second one looks at specific extensions to help with creating and modifying terrain. Let me know if you have any questions.


These were really useful thank you :slight_smile:

Glad to hear. Thanks for the feedback!

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Yeah Eric, that was a good call. I was unaware of those. Though I’ve been working at this for years, this will be a good refresher/ new ideas course.

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No worries. The landscape course just launched a little over a month ago so not everyone knows it’s available to you as a resource.

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I think SubD tools can also be of great help, for rock shapes etc.

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