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gameboy1984's picture
SoftPlan Version:

I am a new SoftPlan user.  I am also fairly inexperienced with CAD in general, but I have a recurring problem and I need help fixing it.  I haven't had much luck searching the forums.  The answer may be there but I can't find it.


What should I do to create a hole in the landscape so that the water in a pool will appear instead of the grass.  This problem also applies to my basements.

I just used the basic pool from the symbols library.  



Here are some pictures that might help.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Cutting holes in the ground

Hello gameboy and welcome to SoftPlanTuts.

In order to cut a hole in the ground you must first create a Property polygon in Site Mode. You can only cut holes in Polygons, not the Auto Horizon. If you are not concerned about trying to replicate the exact lot the house will be placed on you could just draw a rectangle site polygon.

The next thing you will need is an outline of the house. This will be another polygon and it will be used to cut the hole in the ground for the foundation. You can draw one out the shape of the house or you can create one by selecting Draw⇒Building Outline⇒​Generate Outline from within site mode. You would save this Building Outline to a new file then you can copy it over to the site plan. Or to save a few steps generate the building outline then draw the property around it.

Once you have your building outline on the property edit somewhere in the middle of the building outline polygon and give it a Depth equal to or greater than the depth of the basement hole you want to cut. Make sure that "Cuts Ground" is checked for the building outline. This will cut your hole in the ground.

Then to get the house on the site place the site plan in the model area. The site should be on the bottom of the Model list, then basement, then the floors above. Place a reference point on the basement plan and place the same reference point in the same location on the Building Outline. This will align the basement to the building outline when viewed in 3D.

To adjust the house up or down in the basement hole go to Site Mode and select Site Options. Place a check next to Building Position and adjust the elevation offset as needed to raise or lower the house.

For the pool you would use a similar technique. Place your pool symbol where you want it on the site plan. Instead of using a building outline to cut the hole you would select one of the other items such as Misc A. Draw a polygon roughly the shape of the pool but slightly inside the perimeter of the pool. Again edit the polygon and set it to cuts ground and give it a depth. Adjust the elevation of the pool by editing the pool and in the Elevation portion of the symbol settings uncheck Cleanup. You can then adjust the elevation up or down to place the pool in the proper location.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com

Tami Olsen
Tami Olsen's picture
site elevations

I've been using this technique with my own sites, and I seem to be doing a lot of extra tweaking to grade and building shot points.

When you bring a building outline in, it allows you to give it an offset. You are allowed to offset the property polygon. The grade lines raise and lower the grade... But at what position is the building outline/property polygon attached to the rest of the house? The floors of the house stack at the reference points... the offsets within each floor are determined by a baseline location (bottom of floor system for example)... how does the program determine where to attach the site to the rest of the house?

The house I'm currently working on has a main level and a basement level with a walk-out "well". When I make a site, where does it match up with the house? at the main level baseline? So that the grade is going up or down based on the main level of the house?

yvongonthier's picture
Site elevations

The building outline should be used mostly to cut the ground. The main positioning of your house (up or down) should be done when your in the Site plan, Drawing options, Site Options, Building Position and selecting the Elevation Offset which is basically the offset from the base of the foundation wall. In the attachment, it's set to metric because this is what's required here by the City and my elevation offset is quite large because I use the actual surveyor grades to determine my points to avoid having to calculate everything from a specific point on the site.


Something to note is that when inserting shot points that are along a property line, you should use snap to make sure that it's exactly on the property line otherwise the slopes will work a bit differently than it should or you expect.

Tami Olsen
Tami Olsen's picture
So the site offset is

So the site offset is calculated from the baseline of the lowest floor and whatever you set the offset at becomes elevation 0? So if I wanted an elevation point of 1500' to be finished floor of the main level, and I have 9' foundation walls with a 20" floor system and 1 1/2" sill plate, I'd set my site offset to be 1489.2' down?

yvongonthier's picture
It might be clearer to view

It might be clearer to view this video on how grades work;


Start around 4:30 if oyu already know how to assemble the floor plans and site plan.


Note that I use the actual grades as I mentioned but a draw back is that your site now becomes a tower when in Softview or generating elevations and/or sections (if you keep the site plan active).

Tami Olsen
Tami Olsen's picture
Thanks. I think I've got it

Thanks. I think I've got it set correctly now. At least as far as the grade goes. :)