When building in Minecraft, it is common that you will need to make changes to the natural environment around you. This could be as simple as flattening land for a house or more complicated like building a lake or mountain. This guide will help you with tips on how to landscape and terraform more effectively in Minecraft.
How to Flatten Land in Minecraft
On survival mode without mods, you will have to flatten land manually. This can seem like a lot of work, but can be sped up dramatically with higher quality tools (like diamond or netherite shovels and pickaxes), enchanted tools (efficiency and unbreaking), and beacons.
Using better tools is more obvious, but a lot of players forget about using beacons! When using Haste II on a beacon in combination with Efficiency tool enchants, you can break most blocks near-instantly (including stone).
If you’re finding it too difficult to flatten land manually, mods like the RFTools “Builder” machine can be used to remove blocks. Using mods is a comfortable middle ground between “cheating” like using commands to clear areas and clearing the entire area by hand. Since you need to power the machine to clear the blocks, it still requires some effort to setup. As an added advantage, the builder machine from this mod can even clear specific shapes (like spheres) which is super convenient.
Lastly, the easiest way to flatten land in Minecraft will always be to use commands (WorldEdit mod/plugin) or creative mode. When using commands, you can select a cubic area to completely clear out instantly and with creative mode you can break any block instantly without tools.
How to Terraform Hills in Minecraft
To terraform an existing hill in Minecraft to make it look more pretty, you should smooth out each layer of the hill one by one. The Minecraft world tends to generate very jagged and random, and in real life hills tend to be smoother due to many years of natural shaping from the environment. Try to make long, sweeping lines and circles to remove this jaggedness from hills.
If you’re looking to build a brand new hill or expand upon a hill to make it taller, you should follow similar logic. Build the hill layer by layer starting from the bottom and gradually work your way up to the desired height. For a steeper hill, leave less room between each layer.
The video below does a really good job explaining how to best terraform hills in Minecraft.
How to Terraform Water (Lakes, Ponds, and Rivers) in Minecraft
Creating a new body of water in the world can be challenging, especially if you don’t want a man-made appearance. You should follow similar logic as building a hill, but in this case you’re digging out the area instead of building it up.
In the photo above, we show you how to build a very simple pond in a flat area of grass. The pond is gradually deeper towards the middle and uses sand, clay, stone, and gravel to give the area a more naturally generated appearance.
Here is some additional guidance on how big to build your body of water:
- Ponds: Shallow water (around 1-3 blocks deep) and not too wide.
- Lakes: Slightly deeper water (1-3 blocks deep at the shore and much deeper in the middle). Larger in size than a pond and may take on different shapes like an oval or crescent.
- Rivers: Deep, long, and narrow. Typically 1-2 blocks deep at the shore and quickly getting deeper towards the middle.
When filling your dug out area with water, start with filling the entire bottom with water (using a bucket). Once the bottom layer is done, repeat for each layer until you’re at the top of your pond. You may find it helpful to build some temporary dirt blocks to place the water against.