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In this tutorial I'll tell & show you things like how to design a park/garden layout, how to use plants and where to put them, landscaping tips and much more.
This is made with sims 2 but the over all idea stands for sims 1, sims 3 and sims 4 as well

I made this park to use as a guide to tell you my ideas.


The tutorial can seem quite long but you can get far with only looking at the images too.




First you need to think the purpose the park is going to serve in your neighorhood.


1. The activites 

-What types of things you want your sims to do there?

For my park, I wanted mainly a grilling/eating area, small kids play area and big kids play area.

- It's nice to have activites for all age groups from toddlers to elderly.

-Also have activites that bring these different age groups together.

Different age group activity examples:

1. Play equipment for children

2. Hang out places for teenagers since they don't play anymore (This can for example be a small

outdoor auditorium made with sittable rocks)

Also stereos and a little dance floor for "street dancing"

3. For Adults, things where they can build their fitness, like outdoor gyms

4. Elders maybe like to play chess, talk to each other, watch children and other people, they also like to exercise.

5. Don't forget the animals! Feeding plates, toys...

List of random activies/ other areas:

- Live performance stage ( music, stand up, acting)

- Mahjong/chess tables

- Picknic area

- Soccer/ basket ball field

- Ponds/swimming pools/ fountains.  Water always lightens the mood in any space, especially if it moves. The same goes with different sounds.

-Outdoor gym

- Hang out "plaza" for sims to interact

2. Choose your lot based on the over all space the activities need

Unless you don't want to create a nature park go with smaller lots because they are more intimate and the park will look much more realistic and natural if it's scaled down to the activites of your choice and your sims as well.

- Also it's important not to use all the space. Leave grass for unplanned activites like water balloon fights (you know..things that you only come up with when you bring your sims to the park)

3. Plan the layout aka map out the activities on the lot.
(You don't start building and decorating a house before you decide what rooms you want the house to consist of)

-Think how you want to place your desired activity types in the lot.

-How much space you need for certain activites? (a football field needs much more squares than for example a toddler play area)

-What activites should be close to each other? (like in my lot I placed the play areas next to each other)

-When you first come to the park thourgh the entrance and walk all the way to the end of it, what seems the most natural order to you to?

This is how I placed the activity areas in my lot:

This might look ridiculous to you but remember that this is only the base from where you start building up the rest, like the vegetation, the paths and the objects.


Leave at least 3 squares on all four sides of the lot since in the end the vegetation is partly placed here. (don't mind the squares here since they only give an idea on the layout) The vegetation plays a huge part on the final end result of the park but we will get to that later on.

Layout tips:

-Create different sized areas, don't make all of them the same size and shape.

- Notice how in the picture all of the coloufull squares aren't over lapping?Leave varying sized spaces inside the park for vegetation and also just for the lawn.

 - If you want to architectually a modern looking park use squares and hard lines in the design of the flowerbeds, pathways, vegetation and the activity areas.

- And if you want a natural looking park use round shapes like I did with this tutorial park.

-The entrance. This is an important place beacuse it is the first view the sims have when they arrive so it has to look tempting and also it should fit to the over all theme of the park. (This doesn't really affect the sims one bit but my point ist that it makes the park look realistic and also interesting)

- Entrance ideas:

-Usually a gravel/ stone / sand path, separated from the lawn, leading inside. Could be surround  with trees/ archs / statues

- A stream with a little bridge to the park

Here's a picture of my finished park entrance: (It's pretty simple - a semi high shrub fence goes out the entire length of the front side and the entry is in the middle and has an arch and two lion statues


Here are few other ideas for a park layout:

(I just used the same photo from the earlier small lot but obviously you'd need a bigger one for these activities shown in these two photos)

Sports park:

Let's go back to the original lay out and let's continue with the tuto.

4. Paint the turf according to the activity areas

- What type of turf is best suited for your areas?

-How natural or build up you want the finished look of your park to be? For more natural look use the turf paint but with more made up look use tiles.

4. Place the furniture


In my park, for the small kids play area there's a sand box and little horses, the big kid area has play equipment, the hang out zone in the middle has a fountain and the eating area has a grill and tables with chairs

Furnitures usually found in every park, despite the activities:

-Lamps. (Place tall lamps to surround the small areas. Not in the middle of them, also place them next to sitting areas)

( I placed the lamps last in my game so these drawn out x's are there to just give you an idea of the placement)

Place spotlights to light some of the trees:

- Trash cans (In real life they are placed next to benches and eating areas and also near the entrance.)
(The toddler area, notice the trash can and the lights)


- Benches, chairs, tables

Make sure that with these you use the same ones all over the park!  They should at least be of the same color and of the same style because this gives the park consistency.

Consistency is important since it gives the whole place an aesthetic and realistic look. This has to do with not only the furniture but the vegetation as well. (we will discuss the plants later on)
-Note that if you have a color scheme that uses for example two colors the furniture can be painted with these colors but they still should be of the same style

5. The vegetation

Now we come to the biggest part of this tutorial. See how plain the park is in the latest aerial photo? Not much longer.

The vegetation can consist of





-Low ground cover plants



The vegetation in sims parks is used to:

1. Surround the whole park. This gives the users privacy from people outside of it. (In the game it's just to make the place look realistic)

2. Give color with flowers and different shades of green

3. Separate the activity areas,so that the park isn't just one big area.

4. And to fill the rest of the useless empty space with it!

See how big difference there is between this layout and the layout shown before.


Here's also the other two layouts with plants



Now we actually start putting in the plants:

Let's start with the trees first:


Again keep in mind the consistency aspect. Don't fill the lot with single trees that are each a different species but instead use only few species and more than one individual from a species. This applies with the shrubs and flowers as well.

The tall trees go to the sides and smaller and lower/sparse trees go more to the centre.

Shrubs and ground cover plants:

Let's start from the lowest plants and move up to the tall shrubs.

Low Ground covers:

I started by placing low ground covers to the edges of the painted areas

Don't surround all the edges but leave spaces so the park doesn't turn out looking too secluded


Placing the shrubs:

Use them to partly separate the areas from one another but remember to leave spaces for the sims to move around and between the areas.

Use flowers and ground covers for this too. Also a few trees



The paths are now visible:



Then place shrubs of different height to the far edges of the park. The taller ones goes to the far edge and the lower ones to the more middle


Like this:

(Again, remember to use fewer species than there are individuals)


Surround the  benches with flowers, ground covers and shrubs as well:



Also use rocks to landscape



Vegetation tips:

- Using multiple sized shrubs that are still the same species gives the park more natural look

-Don't use all colors of the rainbow when it comes to flowers but instead plan a color theme that uses
shades that fit to one another and highlight each other. I used yellow and violet because they are on opposite sides in the color wheel.

- In real life the vegetation is also used to shield the viewer from seeing all the area at once. This gives the visitor a chance to be surprised when they walk around.

However this doesn't mean you should place the park full of equally high trees and shrubs. Instead play with different height differences.

- Create little eye catchers, like I did with the flowers. around the fountain. You can use statues for example and the surround them with flowers and shrubs.


- Use spot light to light statues in addition to the trees
(this statue is not part of my finished park it's just an example)


Making flower beds and plantings:

- Use same plants that you have used in other planting beds through out the park

- Play with hights (highest plants to the middle since if you place low plants there and then use higher ones around it you can't see the lower ones)(Again doesn't matter in sims but gives the beds a realistic look)

-Play with plants that are of different shades of green, different flower colors, different leaf textures

-Make different shapes of beds (rounds, squares, ovals...)

- Place small lamps in the middle of the flower beds




And this is what the finished park looks like!


Hopefully with this tutorial you will be able to create all kinds of parks that you want!
If you have any questions regarding this tutorial or general landscaping in sims then don't hesitate to ask

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