The Beauty of Garden Design Software
This is a guest post from Sara Carbone who runs the AidaCarbone.com where she gives home and garden decoration tips, exterior design ideas, Exterior Accents Coupons and fancy accessories. Take it on Sara!
If you’re an avid gardener or you’re just thinking about doing some landscaping, there’s a wonderful tool that can take the headache out of it for you. Software companies make garden planning programs that you can use to completely lay out your landscape plan. These are powerful programs that enable even a low-tech amateur to landscape like the pros.
Of course, you can just head out to the yard and start digging. But somehow it never quite works out the way you thought it would and then your yard is trashed. Software programs cost a bit of money, but it’s well worth it, especially if you’ll be doing more garden planning in the future.
What Garden Planning Software Offers
There are a few key features that most garden planning software programs offer. They include:
- A library of features to put in your garden. Most programs have a wide variety of plants, furniture, accessories and water features.
- Multiple views. You can view your garden in 2D like a blueprint or in 3D. Many programs render very realistic images. They also have walk-throughs where you control the camera and you can change the settings and see the garden by night, different times of day, and various weather conditions.
- Templates that you can look at to get ideas. Some also let you import images of your house.
- Options for planning decks, pools, fences and parts of the home in addition to your garden.
Garden planning software programs are designed so that you don’t need any CAD experience at all to use them. However, because they offer lots of different options, all programs take some getting used to. Plan to spend some time studying materials, watching tutorials and tinkering with the program.
3 Highly Recommended Programs
There are lots of programs to choose from, but here are three that are usually ranked the highest on review sites.
Realtime Landscaping Plus’s main advantage is that it is probably the most realistic software program on the market. The images are so real you can almost reach out and touch the grass. It has more than 10,000 objects to choose from including 6,000+ plants, and you can import anything you don’t find there from Google’s 3D Warehouse.
This program is the most difficult to use of the three mentioned here and also the priciest (although you should note that it’s still cheaper than professional-grade landscaping software). Another downside is that it doesn’t come with any water features.
Software programs by Punch! offer some unique features that you won’t find anywhere else. One is the ‘Going Green’ option. When you’re designing your garden, you can choose this option and it will give you tips on how to make it more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.
Another area where it excels is its deck features. Landscaping Deck and Patio is consistently rated as the best for designing your decks by review websites and magazines. The program even tells you what materials you’ll need and estimates the cost for you.
Landscaping Deck and Patio is more user-friendly than Realtime Landscaping Plus, but it doesn’t have as many features.
Home Designer Landscape and Deck also gives you materials and cost estimate. Of these three, this one is the easiest to use and has a wonderfully user-friendly interface. It has detailed information on the plants you can choose including ideal climate, height, sunshine requirements and other data.
Although it’s the easiest to use, its 3D rendering isn’t quite as realistic as the other programs. If you want the most realistic possible and don’t mind spending a little extra time learning the program, Realtime by Idea Spectrum is great. The other two offer fewer features and less realism but they’re easier to use.
Garden planning software gives you all the tools you need to do your own landscaping and even if you’re a complete beginner, it’ll look like you hired a professional contractor to do it for you. Check out the above programs’ sites for free trials and more information.