Large Scale Central

Indoor landscaping

I haven’t built an indoor layout in 50 years. Times have changed!

I am looking for ideas on what I should use for the flat surface I will have on the Dirty and Dusty Timesaver?

I am looking for an indoor surface that will have buildings on it.

Others will say I over engineer it, but I use 2x4s for the frame and particle board for the surface. At close to 300 lbs, I can get up and walk or crawl on it and know it’s solid.

Also, consider what you will want or need to store under the table to determine the height off the floor.

We used the same things for our framework! I use 4x4 legs and 2x4 cross pieces. I also used 2x6 around the edges!

I used 4x8 board for the top that is used as roof under layment. . It is lighter than particle board and a little more water resistant. What did you use to make “ground” over the particle board?

Well, I’ve never got to the point of landscaping. I built a lot of layouts, but never got any of them landscaped.

The thing now is blue/pink/green extruded styrene insulation foam sheets.

My lower level bench work consists of tables made leftover OSB atop 1x4 frames supported by 2x4 posts with diagonal cross braces made from scrap. These tables have supported my full weight multiple times without issue.

Upper level is 1x12’s or 1x10’s atop ordinary shelf brackets.

Scenery: I experimented with the green paper mats. Better than bare wood, though a bit lacking. I use el-cheapo sandpaper for the roadbed. Last year, I took a badly frayed green bath towel, cut strips off it, and glued it to wooden strips to mimic grass. It’s passable, especially when I stuck other stuff in there - Lemax shrubs, rocks from the driveway and whatnot.

Upcoming project: making plaster mountains, something I have not done since I was about twelve years old. Ought to be interesting to see how big of a mess that’ll be.

I used 1/2" plywood OSB left over from the garage build, on top of 1x4 framing supports, I can stand on it no trouble.

Not a lot of comments related to landscaping (’m not much of an indoor landscaper either, however I have finished about 3 square feet of mine! For flat surfaces I am using a polystyrene grass mat - forget who makes it, will look tonight. The rest is built up from cut wood (last year’s challenge portal) and carved HDU foam for retaining walls. I don’t plan on any mountains, just building flats and backgrounds with the foreground being flat with perhaps some ballast and grasses someday.

Take a look at Kevin Strong’s blog for his indoor ON30. He has done some really nice stuff and I think his blog touches on the techniques.

P.S. Sorry Roo. Just keeping it interesante!

EDIT to add: The brand I am using is Woodland Scenics. It’s a little pricey but comes in a 50" wide roll which worked great for my benches. With a heat gun it can be molded to make mounds and hills.

If you are going to relax and sit for operations, don’t build it too high in order to get a better view of the layout.

Forget the standards. build it for your future use. (Unless you like looking at the underside of your rolling stock as you are relaxing(


If the bar stools are tall enough, he will get a good view.

That should cover future use too.


Bar stools are relaxing?

I’m thinking rockers or recliners.

I started out at 48 inches. After looking at it for a week the legs made a trip to the cut-off saw and they are now 38 inches.

One of the stools I have is padded and has a back.

I never got to doing the wiring this weekend so that will be this week’s project.

Track laying is complete!

i’ve got the lower level at 31" - too low for standing comfortably while working on it.

the upper level is at 56" definitely too high for watching, while sitting…

Yea, the FreMo standard is 50 inches from the rail-head to the floor. Its too high to see from a normal chair. That is why I take a bar stool with me to the shows, so I can watch the trains I am running while I am seated.

Lower level is at 33 inches. Upper level starts out at about 45 inches (and just 8 inches wide) and eventually reaches 56 inches, though the vast bulk is at 52 inches on 11.5 wide shelves (dimensional lumber). Does put a height restriction for buildings and whatnot on parts of the lower level.

Jon Radder said:

P.S. Sorry Roo. Just keeping it interesante!

有興趣 有兴趣 agreed !

Edited for post count (

Use polystyrene foam on top of the wood base. It will make the trains a lot quitter as they run.

Ron, yea, and then someone turns up their sound system to 5 decibels below ear bleed. ( you don’t have that issue, but the president of our club is slowly learning about scale sound.