Trying to design a land plot on terrain

I am pretty new to sketchup and trying to do a project. What I am trying to do is build a model for a plot of land like this below:

What I wan to do is take this and put this on top of a terrain like this below:

Im trying to paste the land plot image on top of the terrain so that the plot holds all the terrain info. Then I want to draw the model on top of the trace.

Been playing around and can import the image on top, but cant figure out how to project the image over the terrain properly.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

What version of SketchUp are you using? Your profile says SketchUp Free (web). Is that correct? If not, please correct your profile.The instructions for doing what you want depend on the version.

Sorry about that, Iv updated. Im using 2021 pro.

I looked around and found a vid that helped a bit. Basically import the image, put it on top of the terrain, explode it and use paintbucket to paint it to the terrain as a texture.

Issue with this is its painted all over the terrain and not just the middle part. I want to keep the original face/terrain and just put that image on top at a specific location. Is that possible to do?

Many thanks.


Not in SketchUp. You could redit the texture image from the terrain using your default image editor to include the overlayed Plat image. Assuming you’ve linked your default image editor in Preferences>Applications, you can right click on the terrain texture image in the Materials panel and choose Edit Texture Image. The image will open in the editor and you can make the changes. Then save the changes and go back to SketchUp.

FWIW, when you create the texture as you did, it necessarily has to repeat because it’s not as large as the surface you applied it to.

I made an example to show how to replace the terrain image with the plat but I guess that isn’t needed now.

Thanks for the explanation. Im still a bit confused. So what would I edut in the image editor? Would I jsut make it more transparent so it shows or are you saying to make it as large as the surface?

If i combine the 2 images in photoshop and use it back in sketchup, im guessing the terrain wont display correct anymore?

Or could i be going about this completey wrong? Basically Im trying to plot this on a terrain like the one above.


A clarification: Do you want the road and subdivision information replacing the centered portion of the terrain with the rest of the original terrain surrounding it? Like below?

Or do you want the Subdivision and plot data laid transparently over the existing terrain? Like so?


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Thanks for the reply and sorry If i was not clear. I could be going about this the wrong way. Basically what I am trying to do is draw that plot on what the real life terrain looks like. I dont necessarily need the image of the terrain as I want to do that all with sketchup ie. add trees, bushes, etc.

What I am looking is more like the second option. I grabbed the terrain using the geolocation in sketchup. And I want to trace the plot on top of it.

Basically trying to make something like this:

Where theres the 3d terrain and the plot drawn on top to “fit” in the terrain.

I figured putting that plot image on top of the terrain, and then tracing this on top of it will get me what i am looking.


Thank you and sorry again if I am not making sense.

Did you solve the method you want? What do you mean by “trace”? Do you mean drawing edges of the property lines on the faces of the terrain model? Or separately overlaying the terrain? I’d do it in some way that does not cut or disturb the terrain surface. The property lines are good for guides to place geometry or adjust the terrain but they don’t represent actual 3d elements, and needlessly cut up your landscape, (and tracing by hand can be time consuming besides).

The Sandbox Drape command will place edges that are drawn in 2d onto your terrain model (or a copy of it).

Looking at your last comment, i’d draw edges over the image in 2d (on a flat face), then “drape” it onto a copy of the terrain (unique component). One could then erase the copied terrain outside the plot areas, make the plot faces translucent, and raise the plot model an inch or more above the terrain model. Give it a tag so you can hide it as needed.

Still trying to figure it out. By trace I meant as you said to draw over the lines on the terrain. So i can put walls/fences/etc. This way i wont need to try to manually figure it out on my own where the borders are and how big each plot is.

I’ll try looking into doing what you suggested regarding draping. And see if that works for what im trying.

Any other advice/tips would be greatful. Thank you.

Best would be to have a CAD plan to drape onto a copy of the terrain. That would be most accurate. Without that you could draw on a flat surface with the image, getting the boundaries as best you can, then drape that. Drape would mean you don’t have to draw directly on all the faces of the terrain. It does it for you. Here i’ve only drawn lines for the perimeter but one could do the plots and roads as well. After draping I projected the texture of the plots onto the resulting piece of terrain–whether or not that is of use to you.

I tried using drape like you suggested. I took a model I built using the plot and tried to drape that over. The outlines all went through but all the materials/structures got stripped.

Im thinking i might need to just change this approach. Maybe just try to create a rectangle face with some raised terrain thats just an estimate of the actual map terrain and draw the models over that?

You are halfway there. If you want to transfer the textures too then sample the textures from the upper flat version and apply them to the appropriate sections of the terrain.

Drape is good for the flat geometry, not the components. You need to get a different “drop” plugin for that or just move them down manually. For the material that is on flat faces that you wish draped to the terrain, Make sure it is “projected” texture first then sample with the paint bucket and apply to the terrain surface in the right area.

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My approach to new grading is something like that. I start with basic forms to work to the actual grading requirements of slopes and building pads then eventually subdivide it, and blend it to the existing terrain.

It really depends on what you are trying to achieve. You can find many terrain / landscape videos and see what methods work for you. Daniel Tal has some great ideas.

Try the “stamp” tool and see what that does for you. I don’t like it but… some find it useful.

Do you recommend any specific videos to watch? Im at a standstill here. Cant seem to figure out how to do anything that has to do with terrain manipulation.

Try looking around Daneil Tal’s site. I like a very old video he made at SketchUp BaseCamp but many of the presentations I see now on Youtube are more of an overview and not about modelling terrain specifically.

What sort of video will help you depends on what you are trying to do with your model. How realistic or exact it will be. Whether it will be for construction documents or analysis. My work is mostly conceptual, to be fine-tuned or worked in tandem with civil engineering. I generally model new terrain “by hand”, beginning with establishing hardscape (like building pads and roads), moving on to graded areas, and see how it will join to surrounding existing terrain that is to remain ungraded (with banks or retaining walls etc.).

Thanks I’ll look at his stuff. I did see one bootcamp on youtube but the quality was not so great. I’ll take another peak.

Im not really looking for 100% realism. This project is more for a visualization exercise than anything else. Basically saying this is what this place looks like now and this is what it could look like. No working with contruction or engineering, just pure visual to give a wow factor.

Iv tried different things since starting this thread but nothing has really worked fully. Tried building terrain by scratch using sandbox tools but it looks too weird and cant get to match the terrain. Iv tried using contour lines and cant figure out how to get the stuff on top of the terrain model. Even used cadmapper to map the whole area which did a good job, but struggling to figure out how draw the plot on top.

I’m still a little confused after all this. Do you want to grade the topography info to make flat plots of land on the map? Or are you just trying to project the lot boundary lines onto the terrain?

The latter for now. Just trying to portray how the plot would look on the terrain. Basically just to have this:


fit on the terrain. And then Me to be able to add things like fences, houses/etc on this model.

I get your point now about grading and really hadnt even thought of that. Im not fluent on construction and landscaping. Just had a visual in my head to try to make this look good as possible the easiest way possible.

I guess i am confusing myself with all this as well. To simplify, I have a terrain and want to put a model of a 3d plot on top. Since the terrain is not flat, the model does not fit perfect on top like this gift.


Basically looking for a way to have this plot piece fit on the surface of the terrain.

Sorry again for being so confusing and running all over the place. Really appreciate all the help.