Objects, Layers (Tags), & Visibility in Layout View

Using Sketchup Web (Free) to create a layout view of my house for general irrigation and landscape planning. I know it isn’t great, but I’m not looking for great - I’m looking for a digital version of drawing my yard on a paper for me to reference when working on sprinklers.

That being said - there are a few things I can’t quite figure out here that I need some guidance on.

  1. I’m trying to place trees in my yard. Everytime I move or copy a tree and try to place it on my drawing, it’s like it moves into the “background” (it looks like it takes on the material of whatever I place it over). I know I could just draw circles and put them on the “Trees” tag, but then when I turn off the tag visibility, it shows the blank void background, not the grass. This is probably a simple fix, but I need to be able to take the trees I downloaded, place them in my yard and have them appear on top of the grass (or wherever I put them). I also want to be able to turn off the visibility on the “Trees” tag, revealing the grass underneath.

  2. When drawing my sprinklers, I’ll be drawing arcs for where they spray. These arcs will overlap, but I also need them to be their own unique element that exists on top of the grass or flower beds. Right now when I draw an arc, the lines it creates become a part of the drawing rather than an “object on top”

I’m completely new to this and I’m sure I’ve described Sketchup poorly here. I tried to find the answers in the forum, but it looks like most people are using Sketch up for 3D modeling, not layout view. Any help is greatly appreciated. I’ve attached my drawing for reference.


Home_Export.skp (7.0 MB)

SketchUp is a native 3D environment, Everything exists at real dimension and in real space, it can be used for 2D modeling but it’s not designed for that and you will to some extent be fighting the program to work in 2D. In this case what you are seeing with the materials overlapping is called Z-fighting, it occurs when two objects are trying to occupy the same space at the same time, the software cannot decide which one to show you so it compromises and shows both. You need to wrap your head around the 3D world, there are no “layers” like in 2D image software, nothing is on top of anything else, unless it is literally on top of something else, raised up in the Z direction. In order to see your tree clearly it needs to be cut into the ground, so there is no ground in the same spot to conflict with it. Or, it can be raised up above the ground.

Thank you! I have learned as I’ve been working in Sketchup that it really isn’t a 2D Layout friendly program. If I had the pro version I would import terrain and make a true 3D plan, but considering my intended use, it’s not really worth the cost.

Your explanation was great and will work perfect for me.

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Cool. It’s certainly not impossible to work in 2D. A helping trick is to make a scene that has the camera set to parallel projection, and uses the standard top view, then you can easily keep returning to this top down view.
Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 11.57.14 AM

Also: when moving objects around use the move tool and lock either the green or red axis with the arrow keys on the keyboard to keep things from shifting their z height. Remember, that move tool with control key moves a copy of an object and leaves the original, good for decimating the same object (like trees).

And the cardinal rule above all others… make a group or component of everything and only assign groups or components tags. All raw geometry should be left untagged! Not heeding this advice invites disaster in the form of a sticky un-editable model mess: there be dragons there, ye be warned.