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Parking lot with some landscaping


Steve H
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Hi guys, 

I have been wanting to create a base for photographing my cars. Some of you on here have some amazing backdrops and shop dioramas. I intend to try a building backdrop at some point, but for now this is better than nothing.

The plan is to combine my career (civil construction/road building), my passion for landscaping, my enjoyment from from creating things from wood, and our wonderful hobby. This is my first diorama, so I’m keeping it fairly simple. This will be built to look like the corner of a parking lot.

I started with a quick, close to scale, and slightly crude sketch. I love drafting and always like to have a visual reference. 
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A walk around the yard to appropriate some supplies. The small driftwood twigs were from a local beach collected years ago for use on birdhouses. 
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The base is 1/2” plywood which is 19” by 24”, the hole in it will make sense later…

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For the “asphalt” I chose 220 sandpaper. Parking lots and driveways typically use a smaller aggregate in the mix compared to roads and highways, which would typically be a coarser aggregate, for a highway 120 would probably be a better choice. Instead of gluing the sandpaper down with square edge’s butted together, I had the idea of creating “cracks” in the pavement as would likely occur naturally over time. So I overlapped the paper and cut a random edge.

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The results after cutting…

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After gluing these in place, I added a few more random “cracks” with the back side of an old #11 blade. I intensionally had the joints “not perfect” to try and help the realism of cracking. These joints got various treatments of white glue, and semi gloss acrylic house paint left over from painting the house trim last year. The intent being that some of the cracks look like they had crack sealer applied. The sandpaper was misted with several different shades of grey, flat black, tan, and white. Pavement isn’t usually black! In my area the aggregate has lots of granite in it, thus the white flecks. I know some areas the roads are almost brown, areas in Washington State the roads are quite green. All this depends on the stone in the mix. So after some paint it looks like this…

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Now about that hole… All parking lots need proper drainage! So when I prepared the plywood base, I actually took some time with my palm sander to create a “slope” to the hole. The drain cover is part of an old garlic press painted with some red oxide primer and flat black.

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I still have some “finessing” to do on the cracks, but overall I’m pleased with it so far. In the background you will notice I have started some landscaping, including raised beds and a boulder stack wall. More on those once I progress a bit further. Oh ya, the white lines were simply masked off and painted with white primer, 4mm wide which is scale for a typical 4” road marking. 
As always any comments, tips are welcome. This is a new avenue for me but it’s fun blending all my favourite things into one creation. 
Thanks for having a look!

Cheers, Steve

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Looking good so far! Nice job on the asphalt. I'd suggest that you don't keep too perfect an edge on the asphalt against the landscaping, especially where dirt would wash down from the raised wall over the asphalt towards the low spot at the drain.

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5 hours ago, EngineerBob said:

Looking good so far! Nice job on the asphalt. I'd suggest that you don't keep too perfect an edge on the asphalt against the landscaping, especially where dirt would wash down from the raised wall over the asphalt towards the low spot at the drain.

Hi Grant, I appreciate your input. You’re thinking like an engineer, I love it! I have 2 options for the grass, haven’t made a final decision yet. The edge will be clean, but not too crisp. You did just give me the idea of some runoff stains… hmmm. Thanks!

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5 hours ago, crazyjim said:

Looks really good.

Thanks Jim! IIRC you have a nice photo backdrop. One of several on this forum that inspired this. Thank you sir!

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Got a bit of the landscaping started today. 
The boulder wall is complete. I have had the pleasure of working with a fantastic machine operator over the years who builds amazing 1:1 boulder walls. He and I (mostly him) have built some really nice walls together. The “boulders” scale as roughly 18”-30” in size.

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The shiny resin will be covered by grass. The “boulders are 1” stones from my property, tried to find some interesting stones with some character. Still haven’t made final decision on ground cover above wall.
Raised beds are MDF shaped with drum sander.

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More soon

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6 hours ago, Bills72sj said:

I'll be watching you techniques. My workshop needs a parking in front for setting up Summertime car shows.

http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/topic/154551-grand-opening-of-the-american-restomod-workshop/

 

Hi Bill, your shop diorama is fantastic, I have admired it several times. Hopefully you will find something useful here, but I am sort of winging it, and learning as I go. Thanks for having a look. 

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2 minutes ago, bbowser said:

That looks great!  Might consider some grass growing in the cracks, I have to weed my paved driveway at least once a year!

Thanks Bruce, grass in the cracks is on my “maybe” list. I’m definitely going to try it, and if it looks good I will keep it. A little around the edge of the drain would be appropriate. Thanks for the input!

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Love what you are doing here! That looks fantastic and you have just started

Great that you are using things you have around the house…garlic press cover, hilarious but perfect👍🏻
 

and hello from across the straight, hope you guys are getting some sunshine too😎

 

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4 hours ago, TonyK said:

Excellent so far! Even more detail that you will be adding is going to make this one of the best I've seen.

Thanks Tony! It’s been a fun project so far. I appreciate your kind words.

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4 hours ago, Twokidsnosleep said:

Love what you are doing here! That looks fantastic and you have just started

Great that you are using things you have around the house…garlic press cover, hilarious but perfect👍🏻
 

and hello from across the straight, hope you guys are getting some sunshine too😎

 

Thanks Scott! Ya, last year when cleaning out a kitchen drawer came across the garlic press (never used, we have a much better one) and thought hmmmmm….could be a drain for a diorama, scales almost perfect for a 2’ casting. It was fun foraging in the yard for the rocks etc. I will share a photo or two of my 1:1 landscaping here when closer to complete.

Yes! we are FINALLY getting some sun and heat!! Feels good. We are crossing the straight tomorrow, my wife is going to Thunderbird in Langley to show her horse for the next 2 weeks. I’m going for the day to help set up. 
 

Cheers, Steve

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Got a bit more done  on the landscaping. After playing with some grass in the pavement cracks, I liked it and applied it in a few areas. I may add a bit more, but I don’t want to overdo it. It’s a combination of some moss from my yard, and some scale grass from the LHS.

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Ground cover is scale railway ballast, the “river rock” border is pea gravel from my yard. The bushes are moss.

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Lots of cleanup and fine tuning to do yet.

Above the boulder wall, I “planted” some grasses and some synthetic shrubs from the LHS. Next up will be finishing the rest of the ground cover, then planting some grass.

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More soon!

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Thanks Bill. So far it’s been fun, I’m enjoying the “eyeball engineering” as I go. There is a balance of doing enough, but not too much. Of course everyone’s eye sees that balance differently. My goal is to add SOME visual interest, but once a model is introduced, that this just becomes background. Thanks for checking in again.

Cheers, Steve

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1 hour ago, NOBLNG said:

That looks great Steve. You might need some of those little concrete limiting barriers to keep the cars off the grass.🙂

Hi Greg! Yes sir, and to keep them from backing into the wall!!  If you look at the sketch they are on there. Haven’t made them yet, but I plan on using some slightly modified carpenters pencils. I will drill them and use wire, (probably from a paper clip), as the “rebar” to hold them in place. You sir, are always sharp as a tack when it comes to details. Thanks for the input, and for taking the time to have a look. It’s kinda lonely over here in the dio section…. I will be back on the Blazer soon, but it will likely be a drawn out build for me. Yours is looking fantastic.

Cheers, Steve

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11 hours ago, Phildaupho said:

Great project. Looking forward to seeing the parking lot filled with cars. 

Thanks Phil !! I was thinking if we do the “three of a kind” theme at our local show again, this would be a perfect place to park them. I’ve got three ‘62’s, and three El Camino’s. Thanks for having a look, always nice to here from you.

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10 hours ago, Twokidsnosleep said:

Looking great Steve, awesome detailing

What is a good hobby shop in Victoria?....in case I get dragged to the in-laws now that Covid is overish

Hi Scott, BC Hobbies, (formerly BC Shaver And Hobby) is a great hobby shop. They have new ownership (2years ago) and a new location in Hillside mall. They have started carrying some high quality tools, paints, etc., definitely worth a look.

Cheers, Steve

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Ok, on the home stretch here.

I wanted some variation in the landscape, but tried also to keep it from looking TOO hodge podge. 
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Here I have added the driftwood and grass. For some added texture and colour I cut up a disposable paint brush for ornamental grass.

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Next up, the curb stops in the parking spaces. As Greg mentioned above, without these people tend to drive in the grass, or bump into whatever landscape there is. So I decided to modify a couple of carpenters pencils. They were slimmed down in height and width and reshaped. I then shot them with some textured paint, then a few shades of grey to resemble concrete. Holes were drilled to receive the “rebar” pins to hold them in place. “Rebar” is short pieces cut from a paper clip, then painted a rust colour. 
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I was hoping to get this outside this afternoon to get some better photos, but it’s yet another windy day here and I didn’t want any bushes to blow away! So hopefully tomorrow I will get some decent outdoor pics and get it under glass. Looking forward to parking a few cars on it!

Thanks for following along and taking the time to contribute your comments, much appreciated.

Cheers, Steve

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