Modern Home Builder - Winter 2018 - 7
VR technology helps homeowners and
contractors visualize hardscaping.
BY JOE RABOINE
Even for the savviest homeowners, hardscaping can be
a tough sell. A large project often requires wholly reimagining
a beloved outdoor space. Who knows how a well-cultivated
backyard might look after a fire pit is placed in the middle of
it? Will that paver driveway really match the house color?
These can be tough questions to answer no matter how
many hand-sketches or renderings a homeowner sees. That's
where virtual reality (VR) technology comes in. Far from a
novelty, VR is quickly becoming a game-changing tool for
contractors, salespeople and homeowners. Its immersive,
real-world perspectives put hardscaping in context, giving
owners a realistic preview of how certain new features will
appear on their property.
VR offers a welcome change to doing business. Contractors are seeing happier customers, which translates into
higher sales closure rates. A well-executed VR rendering
will allow consumers to see how amenities such as retaining
walls, pavers, fire features and kitchens will appear outside
That's the core difference between this solution and a
3-D rendering you might see on a home renovation television show. Although those offer increasingly realistic peeks
inside and outside houses, a VR rendering for a hardscape
project will place a homeowner directly in the outdoor
space (as apposed to presenting aerial views), allowing for
a 360-degree experience.
There's a world of difference between seeing how hardscaping looks in a generic, anonymous home versus how it
looks inside one's own backyard or driveway. A good VR preview isn't static, either. Homeowners can see smoke wafting
from a fireplace or lake water twinkling in the background,
which will add to the sense of immediacy and realism.
While VR isn't perfect, it's a powerful tool for hardscape
design and it's here to stay. Just like renderings and videos,
VR minimizes the issues that might arise if homeowners
Winter 2018 www.mhb-magazine.com