Using a Layout to assemble my Plot Plan


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Thought I would post about my journey attempting to merge plans and external media into a complete 'plot plan'. I found many helpful videos and Q&A topics that answered parts of the process, but I didn't see anything that brought them all together, so here I go! I'm using Home Designer Pro 2019 so your mileage may vary.


My story begins with my family plans to move to a new state. We found several designs on various sites for new homes and I have grown in my skill as I have created personal designs using those ideas for floor plans and styling. We plan to rent short term as we find a nice piece of land and get ready for construction. We have found property for sale on various sites like and each time I need to consider how that land and our house would work together. I'm also planning some out-buildings (workshop, guesthouse, etc.), but only want them considered for an overall long-term plan (which I need to present to the neighborhood board, so those building are not part of my 'plan'. 


The real challenge I found myself facing is how to keep all the parts separate (as they may evolve and change independently), while also having a way to bring them all together. For most lots I've been able to get a land survey with property boundaries and setbacks, but I don't want to apply this information to my home plan because its temporary until we make an actual purchase. I made this all work well going through the following steps:


  1. I created a template from my original home design and organized it into a specific folder. I then used that template for two more buildings; a workshop, and a guest house. Each of these designs are maintained separately and I evolve and refine them. 
  2. I take a potential lot survey and start a new plan. I use a separate folder for 'lots' and save those plans naming them by the location of the lot (address in most cases). In this plan I …
    • I do all my 'drawing' on floor 0 to align with the foundations from each plan (I'll get back to this).
    • Draw CAD lines to represent the outline of the property. I learned quickly that in the CAD line tool you can specify length and direction which is what you find on most surveys and this allows me to build an 'outline' of the property. I had to enter the direction as a string without the special characters (ex. 'N32 04 22E'). 
    • Next I use File -> Import -> Import Picture to read in a copy of the survey. If the survey image is messy, I may use Paint to crop it, or the windows 'snipping tool' to just do a screen capture and save that to a file. 
    • I then use the drawing order to push the picture to the back so I can see my CAD lines on top. I then rotate, move and resize the picture until the survey image lines up with the CAD lines. be sure to use the corners and not the sides to adjust the image so that you will retain the proper aspect ratio in your final view. 
    • ta-da! I have a 'scaled' copy of my Survey. This is a critical step since having all the parts in a common scale is an absolute requirement. 
  3. I create a new Layout and save it with my lot plan and name it to match the lot plan file. I switch to my lot plan and send it to the layout. When doing this you will likely find that 1/4in. to 1ft. may not fit the layout. In my example lot I used 1in. to 50ft. I tried several different scale values until the resulting copy appropriately filled my layout sheet. What's most important now is that when you find the right scale, remember it because you will need to use it again.
     5bc34c28907cc_FinishedLayout.thumb.jpg.9b91fa5bdea82329b3f9fe3942591dee.jpg   5bc34cad3db69_FullLayout.thumb.jpg.2c9d749498dce440230df6bc5b509dbc.jpg
  4. Now, I simply proceed one at a time through my other designs for each building. 
    • I move the 2D plan view to the foundation level, and send that view to the layout (file -> Send to Layout). Be sure to enter the same scaling values as you used for the survey plan when you sent it to the layout.
    • When it lands in the layout page, it is now a single object that can be moved and rotated to adjust how you want it positioned on the lot. By capturing the Foundation view, I can see the footprint of the building in proportion to the lot and other features in the survey.


And now I have a finished product. I can use the print features to scale the layout to my paper and perform what-if's as I move buildings around on the lot. Since you are moving and turning a single 'object' it's pretty easy to achieve the desired results. Also, it's quick and easy so I can do this with several different lots as I compare them. I do expect that later I may wish to bring them all into a single plan to do the full landscaping and other features, but for now this is a quick way to visualize the overall plot plan!

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  • 5 months later...

Thanks AllenStoker,


This is what I was trying to achieve with the Suite package. Problem you cannot call out your survey lines on this package. May have to upgrade as there are other limitations i have found also. Thank you for sharing your plan and how you got there!

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