While Revit doesn’t always have the fanciest graphics, especially when compared to Vectorworks’ planting plans, you can still put various symbols and colors in your planting families. Symbols are useful for graphics and construction documents, especially for differentiating between different shrub species. Color is useful if you want to create a quick color graphic without exporting to Photoshop.
To start off, symbols are quite easy to put into any family. They can be as simple or as complex as you want, though simpler symbols are easier to control and scale. I have four symbols in our typical shrub family. They are controlled via a Yes/No type parameter:
If you wanted to create complex, scalable symbols it might be a good idea to nest them into a separate family, but simple ones can be symbolic lines directly in the plant family.
Putting color into a plant family is slightly complicated, but highly worthwhile. The default plants in Revit are RPC, so they do not show well in plan, especially in a color site plan. A simple solution to this is to turn the RPC component off in plan and nest a color circle as a detail component.
But if you want it to cast shadows and play nice with your topo (and not embed, as shown below) you’ll need to do a few more things…
First, draw a reference plane in elevation. Give it a name and attach the height parameter to it. Now you can now host the detail component to that plane and the height (and thus shadow) will adjust appropriately with the plant height.
Secondly, the Draw in Foreground parameter of the detail component should be unchecked. Also, if you want any of your symbolic lines to show up on top of the color fill detail component, they also should be hosted to that reference plane and not be drawn in foreground.
Now you have a planting family that has color in plan. But since the color comes from a nested detail component, it is not controlled through visual style (such as Consistent Colors, Hidden Line, etc). It can be controlled by transparency and via family element visibility settings.
Also, just like anything in Revit, you cannot have both transparency and shadows. So if you want shadows, the plants must be opaque. (Transparency also does not work with areas)