As a child and as a young adult, I never started landscaping my layout, basically for two reasons to be honest about it. First, because I'm not an artistic person and was afraid the resulting sculpted and painted mountains would be embarassing. My experience with papier mache in Cub Scouts was not good!  And second because I was afraid it would take an awful lot of time.

It wasn't until the sopring of 2003 that I set my mind to the question of how a non-artistic person could make a layout look good. I'm pleased to say I'm pretty well satisfied with the result. It's not professionsl, by any means, but it's pretty good.

Then, after I was almost done, a friend I met on eBay sent me a video on the
Woodland Scenics products. I sure wish I had gotten that sooner! It would have saved me a lot of time, and might have looked more professional.  If you're planning to landscape your layout, I recommend that you get at least one of their videos and/or books first!  And they have a couple of short how-to movies online under "Information"

Here are some of the elements of how I did my landscaping.
All the slopes are made the old-fashioned way: old screening cut and fit laboriously into place.  That's the way everybody did it when I was a kid, and that's what all my old books and magazines show.

The soil is the decomposed sandstone found in our neighborhood, mixed with Gilbert's #21A imitation grass and glued in place with Elmer's. On the larger canyon slopes, I plastered the screening before glueing the dirt and grass.

The gravel is Woodland Scenics medium ballast that I bought at Frank the Trainman in San Diego..
The pasture is Gilbert's 21A Imitation Grass glued down with Elmers.

All the trees on the layout are from
Architrees.  He does a terrific job!  I might be able to make my own cheaper, but they wouldn't look anywhere near as good as his.

As he suggested, I drilled a hole in the plywood, inserted the tree trunk, and secured it with a hot glue gun that cost me just a couple of bucks at Home Depot.

I got the farm animals in that big collection I bought in the 1070s, along with the  Plasticville Barn.
I suspect they are from Plasticville, but I don't know for sure.
Detail of the southeast corner, in the Central Exchange.  It's hard to tell, but there's a little slope down from the crossing  to the actual corner.

More oak trees from Architrees.

I bought the power poles from an eBay friend named Miles who had some extras.  I cut the round plastic bases off them and mounted them like the trees.  Since the poles are O-guage, cutting off the bases also made them the correct scale height for S-guage.

I haven't wired them yet.  Miles suggested using EZ Line stretch wire sold by
Berkshire Junction, but my daughter-in-law gave me a spool of "Stretchy Illusion Cord" made by Westrim Crafts that may be the same material.
On the slope up from the red line of the lower loop to the upper loop are more oak trees from Architrees. On the hill above are his Ponderosa Pines.

I used to nicer side of some old scrap lumber to simulte the wood beam walls around so many railroads in the Old West.
Here's another view of that slope.
Show me some more of the landscaping.
If you or your friends have some American Flyer trains and would like them to go to a nice home where they'll be loved and cared for, this is the place!  Email me:  See my Wish List for the items I want most.
Now show me:          Overview      Grand Tour      Lessons Learned       Modes of Operation
Trains      Engines      Operating Accessories      Bridges      Towers      Buildings    
Crossings      Construction     Landscaping      Lighting      Semaphores      Control Panel
Wish List     History     Useful Links
visitors have viewed this page