Landscape architect considering moving to Rhino

Hi, I’m an NZ-based landscape architect and ecologist mulling over Rhino3D, asking here to see if anyone is using Rhino for serious landscapes beyond home gardens.

I design and manage earthworks and plantings on large sites especially mines, quarries, industrial facilities and farms - I’m very focused on getting sites formed, built and planted. I could care less about fancy, beguiling graphics and don’t need BIM. I’m more interested in producing clean, tidy, sharp-looking labelled drawings along with lists of plants and objects.

it looks like would be an essential plugin for landscape work with Rhino.

Typical tasks/needs include:

  • Large area terrain modelling - basins, ponds, reforming of surfaces
  • Parcelising / platting - does rhino do topological editing? ie change one line, other lines autoupdate.
  • Road/track design although mainly only for unsealed recommendations
  • 20Hectares + and steep and complex. Site complexes up to ~80km²
  • A lot of work comprises multiple sites across a region e.g. ~100km across and it’s nice if these can all be in the same file
  • Large numbers of plants in calculations (I don’t render, just coloured blocks and run calcs against the blocks
  • Generally don’t render anything
  • Sometimes use symbols/icons to represent single plants in plan view

I also do landscape visualisation for permits and want to do ZVIs / zone of visual influence mapping

I currently use vectorworks, of which a major benefit is an internal spreadsheet that can query objects and areas and calculate from that. Otherwise it is a tedious piece of software so looking for something a bit more automated. Vectorworks is particularly slow on producing drawing sets for print and distribution and hoping to fine Rhino is better.

Can Rhino do some of the above, is there anyone here doing this kind of work with Rhino?

I used to do a lot of Surveying related work, creating 3D models of roads, buildings etc from 3D laser scanned / flown LIDAR environments.
I would recommend it for what you are trying to do, it sounds quite similar.
Rhino used to struggle when working in large Real world co-ordinates, but I think that has been fixed.
Download a trial of Rhino, import one of your large Vectorworks projects into it and see how well it handles it.

Hi unearthed,

I think you will be surprised and delighted how great Rhino’s 3d capabilities are. This is where it excels, especially on what if and hard to model aspects of the design process.

Unfortunately Rhino is not geared toward producing sets of prints. You might find this a show stopper.
There are shops doing this but they have people dedicated to massaging the process to get drawings out they might even have a grasshopper guy who helps this process.

I do think landsdesign is needed. I haven’t used it to produce large sets of shop drawings only for modeling terrains during the beta stage so I don’t know how it works for real on sets of drawings.
You definitely want something that will change your drawings when the 3dmodel changes and regular Rhino doesn’t do that without extra steps and tedious workarounds. Rhino doesn’t have spread sheet capabilities and the block manager is lame. Rhino has only csv export or you have to code/script your own block calculations, or download a tool for that.

Download the Rhino and landsdesign suite and try the demos to see if they work.