How Do I Create a Master Plan in SketchUp?

Creating a Master Plan in SketchUp

SketchUp is a powerful 3D modeling software that allows you to create intricate designs and plans for various projects. Whether you are an architect, interior designer, or hobbyist, having a well-organized master plan is essential for the success of your project. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of creating a master plan in SketchUp.

Step 1: Setting up Your Workspace

Before diving into the creation of your master plan, it’s important to set up your workspace for optimal productivity. Start by opening SketchUp and creating a new document.

You can do this by clicking on “File” in the top menu bar and selecting “New”.

Tip: It’s always a good idea to save your work regularly. To do this, click on “File” and select “Save” or use the shortcut Ctrl + S (Windows) or Command + S (Mac).

Step 2: Importing Base Map

The first step in creating a master plan is to import a base map onto which you will build your design. This could be an existing site plan or any reference image that you want to use as a guide.

  1. Select “File” from the top menu bar, then choose “Import”.
  2. Browse for the file on your computer and select it.
  3. Click on the “Place” button to insert the image into your workspace.
  4. Resize and position the image according to your requirements using the “Move”, “Rotate”, and “Scale” tools.

Step 3: Drawing the Site Boundary

Next, you need to draw the site boundary to define the area in which your design will be contained. This will help you stay organized and focused on your project.

  1. Select the “Line” tool from the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen.
  2. Click on one corner of your site boundary and drag your cursor to the next corner.
  3. Click again to create a straight line segment.
  4. Repeat this process until you have created a closed shape that represents your site boundary.
  5. Select the shape and right-click. Then, choose “Make Group”.

Step 4: Adding Layers for Organization

In SketchUp, layers are used to organize different elements of your design. By assigning each element to a specific layer, you can easily toggle their visibility on or off, making it easier to work with complex designs. Let’s create layers for different components of our master plan.

  1. Select “Window” from the top menu bar and choose “Layers”.
  2. In the “Layers” window, click on “Add Layer”.
  3. Type a name for your layer (e.g., “Buildings”) and press Enter or Return.
  4. Create additional layers for other components such as roads, landscaping, or utilities by repeating steps 2-3.
  5. To assign an element to a layer, select the element, right-click, and choose “Entity Info”. In the “Entity Info” window, choose the desired layer from the drop-down menu.

Step 5: Drawing Buildings and Structures

Now it’s time to draw buildings and other structures on your master plan. SketchUp provides various tools that make this process efficient and accurate.

  1. Select the “Rectangle” tool from the toolbar.
  2. Create a rectangle by clicking once to define one corner and again to define the opposite corner.
  3. Pull the rectangle upward using the “Push/Pull” tool to create a 3D extrusion for your building.
  4. Edit your building’s dimensions or add more details using tools like “Move”, “Rotate”, or “Offset”.
  5. To duplicate buildings or structures, use the “Move/Copy” tool by selecting an element, pressing Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac), and moving it to a new location.

Step 6: Adding Details with Components and Materials

To enhance your master plan, you can add details such as trees, cars, or furniture using pre-made components available in SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse. You can also apply materials to different elements of your design for a more realistic representation.

  1. Select “Window” from the top menu bar and choose “Components”.
  2. In the “Components” window, click on the “3D Warehouse” icon to access the online library.
  3. Search for the desired component (e., tree, car, etc.) and click on “Download” to add it to your design.
  4. To apply materials, select an element, right-click, and choose “Entity Info”. In the “Entity Info” window, click on the small square next to “Materials” and choose a material from the library or create a custom one.

Step 7: Adding Annotations and Labels

Annotating your master plan is crucial for conveying important information. SketchUp provides tools for adding text labels, dimensions, arrows, and other annotations.

  1. Select the “Text” tool from the toolbar.
  2. Click on your master plan where you want to add a label or annotation.
  3. Type in your desired text in the pop-up window and press Enter or Return.
  4. To add dimensions or arrows, use tools like “Dimension”, “Leader”, or “Text Callout”.
  5. Edit font size, style, or other properties by selecting the text element and using SketchUp’s formatting options.


You have successfully created a master plan in SketchUp. By following these steps and utilizing various tools available in SketchUp’s extensive feature set, you can bring your ideas to life with precision and creativity.

Remember to save your work regularly and experiment with different design elements to achieve the desired result. Happy designing!