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Virtual gardener
staff: administrator
Original Poster
#1 Old 13th May 2018 at 8:11 PM
Default TIPTORIAL - Level up your exterior and landscaping!

Hi guys!

I noticed while going lots hunting for TS4, there were quite a lot of houses that didn't even use any of the amazing exterior options/objects the sims 4 came with, that surely would have fit it's style! Usually the walls are being left empty with a few windows, and the roofing having no trims even though that's something we've always wanted since TS2! So a few months ago I decided "Why not create a tiptorial that shows it all so people can start doing it themselves and see what beautiful results it gives!" And here it finally is!

What will we learn?

Quite a few things will be covered here actually! Let's list them here:
  • How to mix specific plants together without it looking like crap
  • How to properly combine various trims together
  • How to mix specific walls together
  • How to mix wall plants together
  • How to do all of this with no CC whatsoever but does require a few EP/GP/SPs (I recommend vampires, romantic gardens and Get together the most for this one)
  • How to go overboard but have a great result anyways! :D

What do I need?

Not much but have a small shopping list!
  • Vampires Pack
  • Romantic gardens
  • Get Together
  • moveObjects Cheat (like always )
  • A hell lot of money! (The one we will be decorating took me 7-10k simdollars).

Now that we go all that covered... Let's move on to:


Before starting in the first place, we should know what we're suppose to study. Researching and studying (And obviously trying of course ) does a lot when it comes to improving yourself. If you're an art student and you're reading this, you have my utter respect for how much researching there has to be done on only just shadings and shapes (I should know as well as I'm one myself :P). So let's look up some examples to work with!

Example 1 - Victorian Mansions

I am a total fan of Victorian architecture! Might just be because I'm dutch and don't see those types of houses at all most of the time. (I mean small country means only small houses ) But enough of that. Let's take a look at the trims that are being used. So we see that the roof has quite an overhang, which for Victorian houses, it gives quite some room to add these big ass trims and awesome shaped roof decorations as you can see! This is what really dresses them up. If you were to imagine away all the trims, beams and all kinds of roof decorations, the mansion itself would have been completely boring, right? Let's take a look at the wooden panels as well. Now i'm sure you guys from the US (and other countries that happen to have houses like these ) have seen that most houses with wooden panels don't really have wooden bits that actually add additional patterns to it, which, if you look at this house, it definitely has a lot of that going on! The tower for example has a lot of different coloured wooden panels going on. It really accentuates it, doesn't it? That's something we want to translate in our building!

So in short, we learnt that this building:
  • It's hella expensive :P
  • The roofing has a lot of decorations, has a slightly more overhang than it would with regular houses
  • Has a lot of trims across the roofs and such
  • Has a lot of beams that are cut out in specific shapes.
  • Wooden walls have their own small patterns and have a slightly different coloured panels that accentuates it a bit more.
  • Windows are in the same shape and colour.

Example 2 - Modern

Modern to me is great, but not necessarily my favourite. That's probably because I love to go wild with landscaping and modern houses kinda takes that opportunity away from me. But what I do love about modern houses is the fact that, which the Victorian houses doesn't seem to have at all, 2-3 different types of walls! As you can see, this one seems to have at least 3 (including the foundation walls) Usually modern homes have a mixture of 2 different nature-y walls. Wood and stone. Sometimes the wood can also be replaced with a rock-y wall. I also really like how it just really doesn't matter what colour is being used, as long as it works with the inverted styled wall (So wood, rock). In this case it's black and a dark wood. Now lets imagine it with this super bright wood... wouldn't really work together with black right?
Another thing you see is that there is a soft use of trims here. It's never that it just ends and has no trims whatsoever That's why it's always good to have some trims or maybe even super low fences going on! Now trims might not really look like trims. If we're looking at somewhat bigger modern houses, you see how it's basically blocks merged together with windows leaving a deep cut into it. So it's never as if the windows are just... there, but there's actually quite some deepness in them!

We learnt that this building:
  • It's awesome!
  • Trims are still a thing, despite the flatness and comes in either as a not-so-noticeable trim or a huge one that isn't exactly considered a trim.
  • Has 2-3 different wall styles going on. Not just one!
  • They exists out of blocks that are pretty much merged together. So it's not just one block!
  • It likes to have big ass windows and a lack of privacy yet not too overwhelming!

Example 3 -The simple everyday house!

Let's go with a house I know you guys usually like to aim for. A simple everyday house! For an easy and simple lifestyle. Now let's go take a look at what makes this house so simple yet pleasant to look at? First thing that got me go "ohh!" were the windows. Since they're not just these regular small windows. In fact, I think if they chose to do this, the wall would look extremely empty! So in this case windows (especially the contrast of the colour yellow-y and green is a really good one!) While the house is a tad box-y, it still has some shape going on! If we look at the roof, it's great that they added a hipped roof at the porch bit here so there's no boring roofing going on. There's also the columns at the porch area. They're not too big, not too small, just about perfect! And certainly fits the fences used. The landscaping is also very settle and kind-looking. It's not like "BAM Landscaping!" that is sometimes going on with simple houses. Also note how this house uses 3 different, very soft, colours! We've seen this with our modern house, haven't we? Green, vanilla and white. We can also see at the corners of every wall that there's a panel. This is also easily done in ts4 especially!

We learnt that this building:
  • Simply simple and kind-looking! Would have totally ring the bell to ask if they have any additional sugar left for my horrible baking skillz!
  • The house has 3 colour variations going on, but very soft ones.
  • Has small little columns that work really well with the porch and the fence!
  • The roofing has 2 different roof styles going on and it's not just a boring roof that's way too tall or not fitting.
  • It has cute little windows! That really make the walls feel not as empty as they would have without the shutters!

Examples In-Game!

Now that we've seen enough pictures of the scary and outside world! (Because why leaving the house when you can look at outdoor pictures on google to see the outside world! :D) Let's move on to EA's way of how they do it. I think that way it's also much easier to see how much trims and additional decoration and all that kind of stuff really makes it feel less empty and awesome!

Example 1 - Mansions and manors!

Now it might be a tad difficult to see, but what we're focusing on here are the trims, the additional columns, and the fences going on at the top of the roof. See how EA added those to make it feel less empty and simple looking? Trims really do a lot to begin with! the additional ones I guess is more of a matter of taste, though the fences on the roof I think is a great addition to the house itself! It's something we'd want to aim for when building.

Example 2 - Themed!

We all know the gorgeous buildings in Windenburg. They all have a limited amount of exterior going on but that's obviously because of the walls that really help out here (Note! They have the same thing going on like our Victorian houses! ), Now it doesn't really use trims as much on the roofing. it's more of a way to make it fit the roofs of course (Which is really important!) But let's look at the walls at the upstairs area (The bits the columns supports) It has trims as you can see! And kind of hard to see, but beams as well to make it more Windenburg-y styled! The column choice also works really well with this style! Personally I think the ivy looks a little sad there and they could have done a bit more with it, but the flowery fences at the walls really give it an awesome feel to it, doesn't it? :D

Example 3 - Modern!

Now from experience and looking at modern houses, trims aren't really the thing that pops out. Which is something that's really visible here! Yet without them they look a bit dull, so I think the trims itself adds a really important feature to it! Also see how they used the different wall types like we saw with other modern houses? And the windows of course! The bushes really help out here too! It's not much but it really brings more of that "hey I'm a pretty lot! :D" vibe!

Let's make 'em pretty!

I know I know I went a bit too overboard with the house itself... but that's how I roll! *points at her lots here on MTS on her profile :P*. You're probably thinking "But Lyra, why the Goth manor and/or that much ivy!" Well, I always thought that (same counts for the other goth manors throughout the games) EA just about didn't capture the nice gothic-y vibe, yet old Victorian look in the exterior. When I think about giving the Goth manor a makeover, I'm thinking of 'Plants, awesome columns! more plants! Gothic-y decoration!' And a nice overflow of green ivy to red! I mean... look! Look at that beautiful hairy Museum! (See I did my research )

Where can I find all those fancy stuff?

To begin with, you might wanna check out romantic gardens and/or vampires pack for the ivy and such. It's okay if you don't own it but I suppose it might make things harder to do.


Roof trims:


Wall Sculptures:

Go put some clothes on!

Here we see a beautifully naked Goth manor in it's natural habitat... I took off all the trims just for the sake of this tutorial, besides that, the lot was already pretty bare
"Now what do I think needs doing?" or/and "What theme/style do I want to achieve?" That's something you want to ask first after you put the roof on and dressed it up with some wallpaper and windows. Now the Goth manor has an easy setup regarding the windows, and something to keep in mind is this: "Stick with 2 main windows max!" Which is something that's done really well here. Houses in general don't have 3-5 different main windows to begin with

Roof trims

We've got 4 candidates here!:
  1. Settle trim, because why not!
  2. The somewhat bigger trim with awesome white dots, because it slightly accentuates it more!
  3. The big ass trim that likes to crush window dreams
  4. The evil twin brother of number 3

And the winner is...*drum rolls*

Number 4! "But Lyra, why?! I like it's twin brother more!?" Well first of I guess it doesn't really matter which evil twin you chose if you wanted to go with big ass trim. But let's move on to the reason why. The tower surely is the first bit you look at when you're looking at the lot itself. Maybe your thought is "Wow that is one big box on a house!" One way to make big box pretty is to give it more structure, rather than leaving it with a thin trim (or somewhat thin), since it doesn't really leave the architecture that you want to keep. Now also note how I mixed the roof trim and the wall trim together!

Columns saves Architecture!

Here I picked 5 columns. Let's write them all out on why I chose them:
  1. This column I think fits really well with the trims that we chose!
  2. Stone can do a lot, especially with this wall! It certainly can bring a lot of nice shapes to it!
  3. Because simple columns will be simple! (And it fits with the trim as well)
  4. Wooden can add a nice addition to a wall. Of course this is more recommended for if you have wooden panels as wallpaper!
  5. This column is already used by the house's porch itself. While this sometimes could lead to awesome results, it could also give a really repetitive feel to the exterior. So not so recommended.

Now in some occasions you really can just do with only one column (That being victorian houses or simple houses... the simple house we used as a study I would really only use the wooden column!), but given how the goth manor has so many windows and shapes going on (And wall actually) I decided to give it 2 columns. Which, ended up with this result!

This was more of my preferable option. The haunted columns with some bricks added to it! The haunted columns here basically make it so the windows pop out a bit more, whereas the stone edges gives it more of an architecture-y feature that otherwise can't be added with normal walls Thus, why I went with a mix of this. And it works great with out trims! Do keep in mind that we will be using these 2 columns now since, like with the windows, you only want at least 2 column types (excluding the porch )

Roof trims on complicated shapes

Now trims on more flat-roofed bits and fences can be a complicated one, because what exactly fits the style? Now there are 3 options I listed here. And I will say, all of them are totally fine in this case. You could go with 1 to make the fences stand out more. 2 can really help with the fences as well but also the flooring of the roof, and then 3 really works will with having a connection with the tower bit (hence why I went with option 3 eventually) But really, in this case it's totally fine with what you're going with! As long as it's not a thin trim. Thin trims here in this case doesn't really fit the style of a Victorian Goth manor house and it really wouldn't help great with the fence that EA chose to use. In fact it would look a bit sad as well...

Lower walls Trims on complicated shapes

(in case it's not noticeable, it's the trims that just showed up a level under the fences ) These can really set out your buildings! They will eventually work really well with the column chose we used as well! Though, we don't want to reuse all trims, since we already used the same one twice already, and on this level of the building it doesn't really work out if you go big. Now I went with 2, because it translated the big trims into a small trim basically and it's not a whole different shape. Thus, translation in shape! The 1 and 3 options are too squared to properly translate that from the big trim to the lower wall trims.

Plants plants... Landscaping!

Look at that! A beautiful house with gorgeous columns and architecture! If you're not too into plants, you could call this a finished lot and share it ... well exterior-wise. Don't actually share... empty houses... because sims... and food... and sleep... But all that left aside, let's move on to the actual landscaping. Now what we will be covering up here is the mixture of plants. Most people tend to just use one plant and that's it. While you can totally mix them all together! I'll show you how:

Let's take a look at the flowers first. It's probably the most easiest variation in colours to do! Thing you want to be careful of here is the flower bumps at where they start to grow, and not making it as repetitive. One tile between them when moving it up is completely fine in this case!
The second one has more use of using the Shift ] cheat. With the squared ivy it's more recommended because else you end up with unrealistic flowers (Unless that's what you're going for ) As you can see it has quite a realistic gradient effect of going green to red. Okay maybe not too much but it's close enough!
Then the third one is using 5 different types. I used one big squared ivy and the rest is small. Now this variation obviously is more qualified for walls with only ivy, not with any gaps
The forth red one, is more like how you can combine 2 red versions that are a tad different (Obviously, the other one it actually a bit too pink for my linking rather than red) but it gives it more of a nice feel to it doesn't it?

Now let's take a look at this picture. I left the references of what I use on the wall and eventually build it up into something realistic. I also used the flowerbeds because I think it works really well with the ivy that's going on here. One thing you want to do is to experiment but don't make it too overwhelming. I considered using the white flowers with the ivy but that only made things too much so I took that out! So calm is good!


Trees really help your house to pop out! (or hide it :P) but there's a trick to trees. it's called a specific composition! Have an articular here:
"But how can making lots and placing trees do this?!" Well, composition indeed has something to do with it, but also the way things connect each other visually. Have a reference:

Now any art teacher would have said "This is shit!" but do see how they connect and flow together? Now I do notice that the tree in the middle might have been better off being place a little to the left but despite that, it does have a nice connection. The second image I think will make it much easier to see what exactly connects it!

Wonder walls!

Different types of walls are awesome! They really are! You can do all sorts of things and I figured, given how we have a boring brick wall, why not add some different wall to it? Now there are tons of variations of what you can do here. You could go for wooden panels, concrete, more nature-y bricks, or stone. I wouldn't recommend going with My Little pony wallpaper or something like that when doing this... at least not outdoors And make sure it uses columns like I used. Without it, it can give a really odd effect, especially if walls just stop out of nowhere


Let's have some pretty pictures here!:

If there's anything that was confusing, needs editing or you have any questions regarding this topic I'm always happy to answer them! Hopefully it was helpful and levels up your way of decorating your awesome homes!
The Plutonite Prosecutor
staff: senior moderator
#2 Old 14th May 2018 at 11:20 PM
Totally interesting
Mad Poster
#3 Old 15th May 2018 at 2:03 PM
Wow, you managed to make the Goth residence look good. That's quite a feat.

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( Join my dumb Discord server if you're into the whole procrastination thing. But like, maybe tomorrow. )
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