Landscape Relief Carving

The Basics to Landscape Relief Wood Carving

By L.S. Irish

Landscape patterns can create many hours of fun for any wood carver. So, if you will join me, we will go through this project step by step from the original design to a finished painted carving ready to proudly display in your home.

The design to the right is a low relief carving, the knife cuts only going about 1/4″ to 1/2″ into the surface of the wood.


So the interest in a carving as this is created not in the depth of the carving but in the changing textures that are used. The sky shows the round gouge marks implying clouds, the trees are v-gouged to give just a slight impression of leaves, and the barn roof boards are cut with a bench knife. Every area of the barn design has a different textural line or feeling.

Landscape relief designs are excellent subjects for the beginning carver. You do not need to spend hours creating deep overlapping layers of work to achieve a fascinating finished project. And as you work you enjoy the chance to discover a number of techniques and strokes that can be made with your carving tools. Old barns are very forgiving to the new carver since few of the lines in the barn structure need to be precise or absolutely straight.

Basic Barn Pattern
Click image for a close-up view.

Let’s begin with a simple barn pattern as on the right. We will be using this pattern through out this tutorial.

Our barn has straight walls with a 45 degree angle roof pitch. The roof is accented with a copula which is an open vent into the roof to allow steam from the drying hay to escape. The tallness of the front wall is broken up with a small hay door and behind our barn stands a very simplistic silo. Lightening rods are added to the silo roof.

Since our pattern is just the basic structure we will begin the carving work by exploring several building material options that you might wish to use.

To follow this tutorial please click through the pages in the order that they appear below. So, go next to Roofing Ideas.

Roofing Ideas
Boards and Bricks
Field Stone and Flag Stone
Barn Example Drawings
Carving Sample One – Rough Out
Carving Sample Two – Detail Work
Carving Sample Three – Finishing Details


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