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  #1  
Old 08-07-2014, 01:25 PM
CSLC CSLC is offline
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Best design software for a new guy on the block.

To all my fellow landscapers and hardscapers:

I am not new to the industry but am new as a business owner and a designer. I have installed countless projects before deciding on going on my own. I am looking for advice on what everyone is using for design software. I want to do more then just the old graph paper design. I do not have any experience with CAD, but am a quick learner. Any feedback would greatly be appreciated!
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:43 PM
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AztlanLC AztlanLC is offline
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Real time landscape architect do a google search
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:11 AM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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We use Google Sketch-up. It's pretty nice.

But the best out there is DynaScapes. Problem is that in order to buy it, get the necessary training, get the other stuff you really need to do the nice designs, etc. you're out $3000-$4000. But it's freakin' AWESOME what you can do with DynaScapes.

My advice to you would be to go to the GIE+ Expo this year, if you can. You'll found dozens of booths offering design software. One of them is bound to meet your budget.
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Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
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landscape design Portland Oregon
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:54 AM
cotyledon cotyledon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AztlanLC View Post
Real time landscape architect do a google search
Yup
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:26 AM
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zedosix zedosix is offline
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Been using Dynascape since 2000, very satisfied with it. I am using the older version and its only 2d but in reality its all you need. Like Jim said, expensive but imo very worth it.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:13 AM
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AztlanLC AztlanLC is offline
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I respect all comments, but we all have found ways and especial needs depending on your area, if most of your referrals come from existing customers and they have previously seen your work your chance of closing your sale is a lot higher and with this type of customers sometimes just setting a budget will close the deal since a 2d drawing for most customers is as visual as you explain it with hand gestures.
When I started my company I was one of the few ussing a computer and 3d design this led to many closings on my part, people were thrilled to see a computer generated 3d design cause they could visualize it (sometimes unrealistic to be honest) bu none the less I had people writting deposit checks in the spot, and had many keep my design and hire someone else or do it themselfs (I now charge for any design before even start).
Problem is now eveyone is doing them and people expect it to be the norm and as time goes by more and more, just like email has replaced a fax nowdays 3d design will be required even for commercial jobs, only people with tremendous sales skills and/or large customer base can afford not to learn it (if they choose) Just my 2 cents and personal opinion.
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:39 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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AztlanLC,

I agree. Sounds like you learned the hard way. But we've always charged for designs. I never thought it was a good idea to give them away for free.

I run into the same stuff all the time - competitors offering free designs. Sometimes we even lose people because we refuse to give a free design and they've already found others who are willing to do that. But I combat that in three key ways:

1) I explain to people that you get what you pay for. And if the design is free, it's probably going to be a design by someone who isn't really trained in design and only spending an hour or two on a quick sketch design. You're not going to really get that amazing back yard you're looking for if someone without the right training has put little time into it. Then I explain how our designer has a degree in landscape design and will spend 10-15 hours working on a really nice, well thought out design that is not only more creative but will also encompass the surrounding landscape so that they end up with a yard that will all go together. In the end, you get what you pay for.

2) We charge more than most in our area so we can afford a lot more advertising and marketing. Because I'm not throwing away money on free designs and other gimmicks, I can afford to attract a lot more clients. So fine. We lose a few each week because we wouldn't do a free design. But who cares? I'm bidding 4x more jobs each week than those guys who are giving free designs away. I can afford to lose more jobs than they can.

3) Almost always, the guys who give away the free designs don't have the nice portfolio of jobs that we have. When a client compares our jobs vs. theirs, there is a noticeable difference. I make sure they understand that. I go over our big portfolio photo book, I bring up our website and go through our gallery with them. Then I encourage them to do the same with the competition (if they've mentioned they are looking at another company). Because I know 9 times out of 10 we're going to beat them at that game. Most of my local competitors - especially the guys who do the free designs - don't have projects as nice as ours in their portfolio. So the customer has to make a decision. Do they want their yard to turn out like the hardscapes & landscapes that we are showing them? Or do they want them to turn out like the other guys' jobs look? Because there's a difference.

You can fight that free-design crap if you just know how to do it.

Back to the topic, we still do most of our designs free-hand. Our designer likes doing them that way and she's really good at it. But we are looking seriously at getting Dynascapes too. One of our PMs does a fair amount of design too. So with two licenses, two trainings, two AutoCad, and the other extra elements, it's rather spendy. But I bet we'll have the Dynascapes by next spring. I have been really amazed at what I see people do with that program. The only one, IMO, that really looks amazing and professional.
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Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


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landscape design Portland Oregon
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  #8  
Old 08-14-2014, 12:07 AM
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GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is offline
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I'll second real time landscape architect, we routinely use on jobs ranging from 50k to 400k. We use it on most jobs when we're working with the homeowner. When dealing with most contractors or architects we use cad. I could type a lot right now but it looks like Jim covered everything I was thinking.
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:25 AM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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I'd love to see some of the designs you guys have done with that Real Time Landscape Architect program you're all referring to. Any of you have a PDF or JPG of a design that you could post?
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Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
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www.lewislandscape.com - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon
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  #10  
Old 08-15-2014, 09:52 PM
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andersman02 andersman02 is offline
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We use dynascape, big learning curve but man you can really crank them out and have them look amazing
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