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How to Quickly Create Realistic Gardens in Lumion

In this article, we're going to be using the techniques shown in How to Quickly Build up an Environment, to create detailed and realistic gardens in Lumion.

Image showing Lumion render of garden. Image by The Lumion Collective
Using the Biome Method to Create This Garden!

This directly follows Part 1 where we covered the basics of environment creation in Lumion, as well how to use the 'Biome' technique to quickly apply real world logic when laying out our environment.

If you haven't read that article yet, please check it out here to ensure you're up to speed with the process before continuing.

Ok, now that that's out of the way let's build a garden!

Title Image: "Building A Garden"

For this scene I wanted to stick to something a little more manicured, but that also had a level of depth that would make the gardens an area of visual interest.

To achieve this I’m going to use height as the dynamic feature that will add a layer of depth that gives the impression the plants within the garden have been growing together over time.


Layer 1: Terrain

I’m going to start with the terrain, and for this case simply painting the Lumion terrain with one of the standard terrain materials available in Lumion called 'Brown Leaves'.

Image of Lumion Paint texture Tool
Painting Lumion Terrain Texture

This will provide the base for our garden bed.

Next up we’re going to create our Biome groups that will be used to build the majority of the garden.


Layer 3: Biome Creation

Since we’re going to be duplicating this group, I only need to focus my attention on 1-2 small portions of the garden.

Image of Lumion Nature Assets. Image by The Lumion Collective.
The Assets Being Used

The models I'll be using in this example include:

  • Bamboo1 Cluster RT (Plants)

  • Azalea RT (Plants)

  • Buxus 002 (Plants)

  • Plant 005 (Fine Detail Nature)

The models I'll be using in this example are all available within Lumion 11 Pro, however if you don't have access to all of them then a similar look can be achieve with almost any plant combination that can demonstrate an obvious change in height. To start I’m going to create a new layer for the garden to be placed on.

I’ll then place some bamboo as a screen towards the rear of the garden to set a nice high backdrop for both the garden's design, as well as the final composition.

I’ll follow that up by adding the Azalea bush model to fill in the middle layer and add a second row of height.

Finally, I decided to utilize a combination of different hues to add some variation to the front layer of the garden. I'm going with an alternating pattern of the Buxus 002 and Plant 005 models to add a manicured look to the front of the garden bed.

As well as being high quality models, these plants also have a similar profile and work nicely together to emulate natural growth.

Once the plants were in, selected the middle variety (Plant 005) and adjusted the hue to break up the color pattern.

Image showing Lumion garden heights. Image by The Lumion Collective.
Establishing levels with 3 different layers of height.

The result is 3 distinct layers of plants that follow some real-world logic of how plants naturally spread and interact with each other.

TIP: Lowering the height of plants slightly will help to make them look as if they are growing from the terrain, rather than being placed on top of them. Most plant models in Lumion tend to load in on top of the terrain, and can benefit from being partially buried to ease the transition between the object base and terrain.
Image showing Lumion plant and Grass Objects. Image by The Lumion Collective.
Adding some debris and grass objects to Biome

After the plants have been added, I’m going to place a few small grass objects around the base of the Buxus plants to give the impression that a few weeds have begun creeping in to the garden bed.

This is a subtle detail that can really help sell realism in your renders.

Lastly, I’ll group these together and that will make up our first Biome.

Image showing garden in Lumion. Image by The Lumion Collective.
By duplicating a few object groups we have a unique garden in seconds

By duplicating and making minor adjustments to this Biome, we essentially create a modular garden bed that can be duplicated and placed along the terrain to build up a larger space.


Layer 3: Hero elements

It's usually here that I decide to add some "Hero" elements that will help make the scene pop and help with composition.

Since this is a basic garden bed, I’m going to skip adding the hero elements in, however, you could definitely do so if you happen to have objects in your scenes that you wish to highlight.

These don't necessarily need to be anything special either, simply altering the framing or location of an object can bring it to the attention of the viewer.

Here's an example of how placing the model slightly ahead of the others and pairing this with some basic Depth of Field and lighting can have a lot of impact!

Image of Longwood Garden Render. Image by The Lumion Collective.
Example of using asset placement as a "hero element".

Layer 4: Scatter elements

Lastly, we’re going to use our scatter layer to distribute a few small details. Since we’re only covering a small area here, I don’t want to fill the space with debris. A few rocks, sticks, and leaves will work fine.

Image of Lumion Mass Placement Tool. Image by The Lumion Collective.
Quickly populating scatter assets with the Mass Placement tool.

First, I create a new layer for the debris so that I'm able to toggle these off if required (the scatter layer can sometimes contain hundreds of objects making the scene very difficult to navigate should you need to edit another element).

Using the Mass Placement method outlined in part 1 I can quickly scatter these along the base of the garden bed and adjust the quantity to suit. In this case, the scale is a little off so I’m going to use the select all function for each of these objects and scale them down so that their presence is a ‘background’ element rather than the key feature of the garden.

Once the garden bed was full of scatter debris, I added in a few leaf objects to the concrete for a little more context .


Final Results

After turning both layers back on, we're left with our final product!

Image of Lumion garden design. Image by The Lumion Collective.
The final layout of the Garden.

A densely detailed garden bed that was created in around 5 minutes. This is a repeatable method that can be applied to a multitude of project types. Let’s take a look at the same garden with a few effects added for a final render.

Image showing Lumion garden render. Image by The Lumion Collective
After adding some improved lighting and Composition.

This technique is great for establishing context in your Lumion projects and can be a helpful tool for speeding up the process of creating compelling environments in your scenes. Try it out next time you’re creating a project, or simply load in a blank template and try your hand at a larger environment to test it out. You might be surprised at where it takes you!


Created something cool using this tutorial? Head over to The Lumion Collective Facebook group to join in the discussion.

You’ll also find more tutorials and projects here at The Lumion Collective so be sure to take a look around.

Until then, happy creating and I’ll see you next time!


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