The series of YouTube movies found here aims to teach the use of gCADPlus landscape design software on a real job, through a series of 'how to' movies. Each movie is 3-4 minutes long and the lessons conclude with the printing of the professional landscape CAD plan shown below. 


Tip: It may pay to check out some of the gCADPlus interface movies available on the fly-out menu linked to this page ( before you start.


Before you start, download this gCADPlus template file. Save it in your gCADPlus drawings folder (in My Documents). Start gCADPlus and open the drawing file (called Lesson 1 -AspenStone) from your downloads folder to begin the first lesson. You may see a box suggesting that you save the file. If so, select yes. You might also tick the box to turn off the save warning. Do not make a habit of doing that when preparing a design for a real job!

Tip: If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, you may see a page similar to that shown below indicating that IE is blocking the download. Please use a different browser - Chrome, Mozilla, Safari etc. or contact us and we will send you a copy of the file via email.

Lesson 1: We will assume that you have visited the site that's ready to be landscaped and have made a simple 'mud map' with dimensions of important features including the footprint of the house. The first step is to plot the footprint of a house. So if you have not already done so, start gCADPlus and use File > Open to load the drawing you just downloaded. You may have to browse to find the drawing that will be located in your downloads folder.

Here is a movie covering lesson 1: The mud map distances used are 6000 (Angle 0), 3000 (angle 90), 7000 (angle 0), 3000 (angle 270), 8000 (angle 0) and arbitrary for the last segment.

Here is another movie showing how to carry out this first lesson:

Tip: When entering values 0,0 for the first point, do not try and type in the command area at the bottom of the screen. Just click in the black screen, type zero from the top row of the keyboard, a comma, a zero and hit enter. Then pull away to the right. You should see the line drawn in red.

Tip: Although you may see dimensions in the movie, you see that we erase those. We will leave a discussion of applying dimensions till later.

If you would like some feedback after you have completed this first task, save your drawing and send a copy of it as an attachment to an email to Please tell us something about you and  your learning experience while carrying out this exercise. 

Lesson 2: How to accurately locate an existing tree on a site using triangulation. We set two intersecting circles to locate the position of the tree. The radius of the first circle is 10746 and for the yellow circle 17479.

Lesson 3: Locate the back and side boundaries of a site. The distance for the left hand circles (anchored on the left of the protruding room are 15117 and 19752 and for the right side circles are 21529 and 17207.

Lesson 4: Positioning a low stone retaining wall at the rear of the property.

Lesson 5: Using the offset command to create a path around a house. Setting up a lawn and adult entertaining area. Add a vegetable patch.

Lesson 6 : Use the mirror command to shift the position of a vegetable plot.

Lesson 7: Using the offset command to create a header brick area around an adult entertaining space.

Lesson 8: Use trim to cut a series of stone steps into a raised platform.

Lesson 9: Rotate a group of entities making up raised entertaining area.

Lesson 10: Placing custom stepping stones.

Lesson 11: Update custom blocks for stepping stones.

Lesson 12:  Detail design for vegetable patch & storage)

Lesson 13:  Hatching a complex shape for a pebble paved area.

Lesson 14:  Positioning plant symbols and attaching plant lists.

Lesson 14b: Add new viewport and create plant schedule.

Lesson 15: Update plant schedule after completion of planting plan. Edit properties of rectangle to get solid fill.

Lesson 16:  Change the stack order of entities to make understory planting appear more natural.

Lesson 17: Apply text to drawing - explore the MTEXT, TEXT commands.

Lesson 18: Apply paving pattern to area around vegetable path.

Lesson 19: The value of including a scale bar in a landscape design drawing.

Lesson 20: Apply dimensioning. Measure and mark areas

Lesson 21: Design water feature.

Lesson 22: Test print the completed design. We use the Save To PDF feature. A tool that's particularly useful if you run gCADPlus on a Mac.

A movie showing the development of a landscape plan for a different site:


More landscape drafting tips here:


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