I've been indulging myself with terraforming my new SL parcel. I couldn't wait to dig a trench for a new river and add drifts of grass and flowers for the ever changing landscape of my virtual home. In the past I'd always found the edges of ponds and rivers quite tricky as I liked to make them look as natural as possible, so I often used rocks and plants to soften the outline of the water's edges. Linden water is great, as you dig down into the sim with your SL land tools and the water appears, it looks so real, sparkling droplets of light and the gentle movement of the water gives it life. I like to create waterfalls, ripples and mists in the pond or river, plus adding the sound of running water adds to the magic.
You can't always terraform though, some places don't permit it and if you have a sky platform above your SL home you are limited to working with the prim base so using the land tools isn't an option. I have a sky platform where I spend lots of my SL time, so I wanted it to look nice. I made the area as big as I could, the base prim is 64 meters by 62 meters, so I have plenty of room for a house and a garden. The old platform house I had, even after taking it apart to save prims, still worked out to 188 prims without furniture, so I decided to shop for a new one. I went to a great store called InVerse where there is an amazing amount of beautiful dwellings to suit large or small parcels of land. I bought a modern mesh house called Destin, which, with all its furniture and fittings included, still only had an approx 90 prim land impact. Then I set about creating the garden. I realised that I could still add height to the landscape by adding mesh sculpted hills which I found at a lovely store called HPMD. I bought 'Cliff Hill' there, which contained two different shaped mesh grass topped shallow cliffs. You can change the texture of the grass and also the cliff faces, so it can fit in with the base grass texture of the platform. You can buy the grass textures at HPMD to match anyway, so it blends very well.
I also bought some mesh Gravel Ground edges at HPMD for my ponds and the river, which also look good at the edge of the ocean, each mesh edge blends in with the land and the water really well. For the sky platform I bought some riverbank mesh sculpts from another brilliant store called Studio Skye. The riverbank making set includes the best water movement textured prim I've seen so far in SL, so I used the riverbank mesh parts on my platform with the water prim to create a stream. I also bought a rustic stone wall from Skye to run at the back of the riverbank mesh making a semi-walled garden. The modern mesh house actually looks good with the wild gardens and the old stone wall, a mixture of old and new that seems to work for me.
So the mesh SL revolution has added to my pleasure of landscaping with its hills and cliff mesh sculpts, plus the flowers the designers are creating out of mesh are so beautiful, my Hollyhocks from T-Spot look solid and real as well as exquisite. Also you do not have the texture clash with the background as you do with alpha textured plants. I wonder what new digital technology awaits us next in virtual reality. For me the fun is putting it all together to create different scenes, these designers are so talented, I am in awe of them all.