Category Archives: CS Design news

Planting in Revit? Think parametric planting

NEW: Parametric Planting Families

In the latest build of CS ArtisanRV, the CSD team have developed better quality imagery for planting in 3D.
parametric planting: age and growParametric planting: treesThe new parametric planting families offer better quality images, avoiding Revit RPC trees.  Crucially they not only look more realistic, but are built from industry-approved NPS (National Plant Specifications).  This enables an improved visual impact as well as giving the flexibility to age and grow plants over time.  Of ever-growing significance, parametric planting models are data-rich – crucial for delivering a fully informative BIM.

Placing Parametric Planting on Topography

When the ‘flexed’ planting is placed in a Revit model, the family is designed with separate ‘foliage’ blocks that are orientated randomly in 3D space. Combined with other plants, draped on topography and with shadows on, the visual effect is stunning!

parametric planting: union jack

Dynamic Foliage & Flower Colour

Foliage colour is read directly from the underlying planting information system based on the associated plant species/variety, so some pretty elaborate effects can be achieved by species selection.  Flower colour for each individual species/variety is read dynamically from the CSDhub web repository and applied to each plant instance.

Think of flower and foliage contrast – in design.

planting mix


Individual Plants, Hedges & Planting Areas

Parametric planting families are applied to single plants, linear items (hedges and avenues) and area planting draped (hosted) to topography.

individual linear area

Information, Information, Information

Foliage density can be defined as required with area planting adjusting automatically based on the size of bed. Random placement of planting components in 3D space ensures a naturalistic effect. And all of this underlying information in CS ArtisanRV remains fully available for scheduling and information exchange.

shadow analysis


Where do we go next?

There’s much more to come for CS ArtisanRV.  Stay on board and be the first to find out how you can begin to harness Revit as a platform for all your landscape and external works projects.

Find out more now and sign up for your free trial today or subscribe to stay at the forefront of BIM for landscape

If you read one BIM book, make it BIM for Landscape

“An essential companion to the landscape professional at any stage of their BIM journey.”

bim for landscape book june 2016If you are involved in the built environment sector, either as a client, a contractor, manufacturer or supplier, you’ll have heard about BIM (Building Information Modelling) by now.

BIM is transforming the way we work, the way we design and the way we collaborate.  BIM has special implications for the world of landscape and that’s why we particularly herald the publication of a new book this Spring 2016: BIM for Landscape.

To celebrate the launch of BIM for Landscape, the Landscape Institute is hosting a seminar examining the content of the book and exploring the consequences for the landscape profession.  Speakers include expert representatives from the LI’s BIM Group, incuding Henry Fenby-Taylor, who authored the book and Alastair McCapra, Head of Public Relations at the LI, who established BIM as a significant area of work at the Institute.

Register for your free entry to the BIM for Landscape Launch Seminar on 30 June 2016

Henry Fenby-Taylor, researched and compiled the book on behalf of and with extensive involvement from the Landscape Institute.   The book, available from Amazon
for less than £40, looks in depth at the digital tools used in BIM projects, emphasising the information in Building Information Modelling, and the possibilities that data-rich models offer in landscape design, maintenance and management.

Billed on Amazon as “an essential companion to the landscape professional at any stage of their BIM journey”, the book will help landscape professionals understand what BIM could mean for them.  It will show BIM’s potential impact on collaboration, streamlining of information processes and the improved efficiency of delivering well-designed landscape projects right-first-time, on schedule and to budget.

Buy your copy from Amazon now


Engage and Embrace BIM for Landscape

BIM for Landscape Masterclass, Glasgow, October 2015 

BIM for Landscape Masterclass GlasgowIn the last of a series of BIM for Landsape masterclass events promoted by the Landscape Institute, Tim Calnan of CS Design Software engaged once again with the landscape profession seeking a
greater depth of knowledge in Building Information Modelling.

Providing an overview and the historical context of BIM, the course, which took place at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on October 26, 2015, took delegates through a step-by-step approach to BIM from a landscape perspective.  The delegates, landscape professionals from across the industry, gained knowledge on the underlying processes, protocols and standards that provide a constant backbone to BIM  – the so-called Pillars of BIM.  The ensuing Q&A sessions enabled a lively debate between delegates and the BIM BIM LI masterclassMasterclass leaders.

BIM for Landscape Masterclass GlasgowAn interactive session after lunch to ascertain where each delegate was in their BIM journey – Level 0, 1, 2, 3 or beyond – gave a great opportunity to share experiences and thrash out the nitty-gritty of BIM for landscape.

The final session, led by Tim Calnan of CS Design Software, focused on the project information model at handover and in use as an Asset Information Model.  Tim took the group’s focus to the future  and Level 3  – a Digital Built Britain  This naturally led to the “How” of BIM and the software tools currently available and in development to assist in delivering BIM for landscape.   He also challenged the ongoing dependence on 2D CAD and spreadsheets with the advent of sophisticated web-integrated technologies such as CS ArtisanRV, landscape add-in for Revit©.

The overriding emphasis of the event was to maintain one main BIM focus – collaboration – not just with each link in the supply chain, but with software companies developing the most relevant solutions to achieve the ultimate BIM for landscape solutions.



BIM me up, Scotty – 3D or 2D, that is the question

“It’s landscape design, BIM, but not as we know it”

3D Modelling and BIM for landscape

Landscape architects design ‘spaces’ and it’s simply not enough to rely on simple 2D geometry to convey this. Why is it then, that current practice continues to favour 2D as its’ chief means of conveying design intent?  We still hear: “My client expects hand-rendered designs”.

Do they? Really?

3D modelingWhat if they had a stunning 3D walkthrough, a bird’s eye view, flying through their proposed concept showing every twist and turn…would they run a mile, shouting “What evil sorcery is this?!”  I think not.

The issue more honestly is to do with where designers’ comfort zones lie: That’s not bad, but at least recognise it for what it is.  Designers are fundamentally responsible for change yet often reluctant to accept change in working practice. There is a vast difference between professional quality output and artistic quality output!


Whatever the ‘tool’, a true designer’s skill will shine through… whether hand renderings,  technical drawing, CAD or 3D modelling.  Think of the artisan turning seemingly characterless lumps of wood into treasured works of art!

In the landscape profession, there has always been a need for physical and digital models to communicate design intent and test design proposals with rigour. 2D is simply not enough, particularly when dealing with plants, trees and shrubs.

3DViewA 3D model brings credibility to the planted landscape, showing plants’ complexity and ever-changing size – height, spread, girth, leaf, flower. Trust me –  we are fully aware of the technical challenges!  Our CS Artisan RV programmers are charged with automating the landscape down to the finest specification.

That’s not even the end of it – it’s much more complex than that as planting changeAgeGrowDevelops over time.  Our CS Artisan RV team have developed 3D modelling tools to show these changes – seasonally and through the life-cycle of each plant within the design as it established, grows towards maturity or is maintained to defined parameters.  Try doing that in 2D!

Really? 3D is not enough… we’re at least into the 4th dimension.  Let’s see where that takes us…warp speed ahead!

In the press: BIM for landscape & CS ArtisanRV

BIM for Landscape CS ArtisanRV:  Landscape & Urban Design – October 2015 edition

CS ArtisanRV Landscape and Urban Design October 2015
Click image to view – page 29

LANDUDOct2015coverLook out for our latest news in the October 2015 edition
of Landscape and Urban Design magazine.  Flick to page 28 to learn more about the launch of the first web-integrated landscape solution for Revit, CS ArtisanRV, the National Plant Specification and the comprehensive suite of landscape design software solutions from CS Design Software.

BIM LI Masterclass Glasgow | BIM For Landscape | 29 October 2015

New BIM LI Masterclass Glasgow

BIM-cloud-2Tim Calnan of CS Design Software will be speaking at another BIM LI Masterclass this Autumn in Glasgow on 29 October 2015.

Book your tickets now and take the next BIM LI masterclassstep on your BIM for landscape journey.  Discount early bird tickets are on sale until 22 October 2015, with further discounts for Landscape Institute members and concessions.

Click here for further details and booking.

THE landscape design software solution for Revit©: CS ArtisanRV

The first web-integrated landscape software for Revit© is here: CS ArtisanRV


Plugging the gap in the landscape BIM market, UK landscape software company CS Design are preparing to launch the first BIM-ready, cloud-based landscape solution for landscape professionals using Revit©CS ArtisanRV.

With an integrated plants database, host of the UK’s National Plant Specification and data, images and specs of over 9,500 plants, CS ArtisanRV will hit the ground running this Summer 2015.  For landscape professionals using Autodesk products, CS ArtisanRV dovetails with Revit© seamlessly, offering a solution which the industry has been searching for since it embraced the need to collaborate and work with Building Information Modelling (BIM) across the landscape supply chain.  It incorporates hard landscape elements for the complete streetscape, too.

Add in a sharp interface and a plethora of landscape tools to accommodate planting centres, mixes and percentages, and the launch of CS ArtisanRV will be greatly heralded by the landscape design fraternity, both in the UK and further afield.

Using CS ArtisanRV will enable a collaborative management of workflow in Revit©, allowing the import of data from Excel and eliminating costly and time-consuming re-entering and manipulation of data received from suppliers, contractors and architects.  And all in the Cloud, too!

CS ArtisanRV subscribers can produce schedules in various formats, allowing continued collaboration with partners and enabling projects to run smoothly and swiftly, saving energy, resources and manpower.  Revit© need no longer be an obstacle to BIM for landscape – it becomes a vessel with CS ArtisanRV‘s new functionality.

To enjoy the earliest benefits of the new software, CSD are offering a 25% discount for new subscribers.  To start embracing BIM for landscape with CS ArtisanRV and to follow the launch, landscape professionals can sign up now.

The new home of the NPS:

Home of the NPS National Plant Specification

nps national plant specification

CS Design Software, the providers of design solutions for landscape, have launched their new website at – a fresh, new interface with easy navigation and full product features for the suite of programmes available from CSD. is the new home of the National Plant Specification (NPS) (previously GoHelios) and the integrated CS Artisan suite of software solutions for landscape professionals.


  • NO MORE GUESSWORK: An industry-recognised standard for plants by size, height and form – no more guesswork
  • LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: Compare like-for-like when budgeting and choosing plant suppliers – level playing field
  • SEARCH AND SOURCE: Fully searchable plant lists with specifications by species and variety – search and source