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Old 04-14-2013, 08:26 AM
peapod1125 peapod1125 is offline
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Newbie looking for some help

Hello fellow landscapers,

I have been doing lawn and landscape maintenance for 4 years now. Things are going pretty good. I have gotten my name out there and now I am starting to get calls for landscape design and installs. I have a lot of experience with installing trees, ornamentals, shrubs, etc. I need to learn a lot more about design though. It is the direction I want to start going because I love landscaping and creating a beautiful outdoor living space for people. I have looked into Prolandscape software and have heard mixed reviews. Is there any other software you would suggest or books? I have a few basic landscaping books, but none that go into extensive detail. The software also would help with presentation to the clients. I would apprecite any help. Thanks and good luck this season.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:48 AM
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andersman02 andersman02 is offline
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We use dynascape. Best design software by far in my opinion BUT it comes with a hefty price. Ive used prolandscape and didnt like the controls and overall finished product of it. May not be bad just starting off tho
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:10 PM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is online now
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If you're just dipping a toe in design for the first time, why spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on software? It's not like it can help you learn design. You're probably getting asked for a foundation bed here, an island bed there. You can draw those smaller designs by hand, bang them out efficiently, and get a little better with each one. Then that way you'll have a better idea of how you would like a program to fit your design process, instead of hammering your design process to fit what the software does.
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:44 PM
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alexschultz1 alexschultz1 is offline
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going off what pappercutter said. The landscape design software can get you into trouble if you are not extremely familiar with the design already. I always create a rough design on site with my own personal notes, then based off that design i create either a photo rendering of the job or a 3d design (usually i do 3d designs for full yard overhauls or for special areas like medians in parking lots where the design can be focused on a small area). Being unfamiliar with the plant selection and designing a plan off of what looks good on a computer will cause you to make serious mistakes in the general layout and designing process. As a rookie, the best way to succeed in a sucessful design is a lot of R&D and of course, taking pictures of the job and asking for help on this forum. Best of luck to you.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:01 PM
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andersman02 andersman02 is offline
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Originally Posted by alexschultz1 View Post
going off what pappercutter said. The landscape design software can get you into trouble if you are not extremely familiar with the design already. I always create a rough design on site with my own personal notes, then based off that design i create either a photo rendering of the job or a 3d design (usually i do 3d designs for full yard overhauls or for special areas like medians in parking lots where the design can be focused on a small area). Being unfamiliar with the plant selection and designing a plan off of what looks good on a computer will cause you to make serious mistakes in the general layout and designing process. As a rookie, the best way to succeed in a sucessful design is a lot of R&D and of course, taking pictures of the job and asking for help on this forum. Best of luck to you.
I agree with both the above posts. I should have specified having a CAD program will do you ZERO good and get you into lots of trouble if you do not have a good handle on design aspects and plant material. However I dont agree with using a 3d rendering program for the final product. We give a walk through of the 2d first with pictures of each plant with time of bloom, height, width, etc. then sometimes we will have a 3d rendering, like prolandscape has, to give a ROUGH idea of how it will look. I never liked the 3d aspect of prolandscape because it has everything blooming at once and overall looks like pictures photoshopped into a picture BUT it does give the customer an idea of how it will look at maturity. I think you could get yourself into trouble using just 3d BUT if you have a good knowledge of plant material then maybe not. I think french curves and circle stencils would be the way to go at first. Combined with many hours of studying plant material and design books. Any ofcourse endless hours browsing lawnsite

Not knocking you alexschultz just giving my opinion on what works for us
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:35 PM
peapod1125 peapod1125 is offline
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Thanks for the advice

Thanks to all who responded. I have been self teaching in regards to plants and placement and combos of different species together. I reached out to a pro here in my area that has been designing for 30 years. He is mostly retired now and does mostly supply. I have always asked a ton of questions and he is more than willing to work with me to get me started. Free advice as long as I buy from him. Ive been using his mulch and stone for years so the nursery is an added bonus. I really appreciate the honest opinions and the direction. I have learned a lot of stuff here and this is why. When I get to the point that I'm able to help, I will. Thanks again and good luck this season. God Bless
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:14 PM
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alexschultz1 alexschultz1 is offline
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you met a good friend, keep him close and treat him well.

and andersman02, its all good man, im just ratteling stuff off the top of my brain.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:30 PM
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andersman02 andersman02 is offline
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Originally Posted by alexschultz1 View Post
you met a good friend, keep him close and treat him well.

and andersman02, its all good man, im just ratteling stuff off the top of my brain.
No problem, have you ever heard of Sketch3d from dynascape? That is one nasty rendering program. Pretty spendy though
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:34 AM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is online now
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Originally Posted by andersman02 View Post
However I dont agree with using a 3d rendering program for the final product. We give a walk through of the 2d first with pictures of each plant with time of bloom, height, width, etc. then sometimes we will have a 3d rendering, like prolandscape has, to give a ROUGH idea of how it will look.
I think a lot of it depends on where you are in terms of knowledge, and how well you can sell. If you're unproven, don't have a strong portfolio of built work, and people get the sense that you're still finding your way, photo imaging might give your homeowner enough confidence in the outcome to say "sure, let's do it." I think the programs are bullcrap and I won't use them, but that's me.

Because I didn't have these photo imaging programs available to me when I was starting out (back when I was 21 the software and a computer advanced enough to run it would have set me back >$5k), I had to learn to sell the hard way. Here's what you do:

1- commit to learning 2 plants a day. Get to know size at maturity, evergreen or deciduous, does it bloom, when it blooms, does it like full shade or full sun.

2- buy the basics for drawing: circle template, scale, pen, Sharpie, and a pencil and eraser.

3- make a stack of copies of 8x11 paper with your titleblock at the bottom.

That's really all you need if you can sell. #1 will give you the confidence to recommend the right plant for the right place, and when the client picks up on this confidence they'll be convinced by a simple plan view sketch that shows where everything goes and the sized relative to one another. \

Don't lose sight of the fact that you're selling your ability to conceptualize and execute a landscape. Anything else - software, artist's tools, etc - is just in service of that goal.

Don't make it more complicated than it has to be.
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:32 PM
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andersman02 andersman02 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaperCutter View Post
I think a lot of it depends on where you are in terms of knowledge, and how well you can sell. If you're unproven, don't have a strong portfolio of built work, and people get the sense that you're still finding your way, photo imaging might give your homeowner enough confidence in the outcome to say "sure, let's do it." I think the programs are bullcrap and I won't use them, but that's me.

Because I didn't have these photo imaging programs available to me when I was starting out (back when I was 21 the software and a computer advanced enough to run it would have set me back >$5k), I had to learn to sell the hard way. Here's what you do:

1- commit to learning 2 plants a day. Get to know size at maturity, evergreen or deciduous, does it bloom, when it blooms, does it like full shade or full sun.

2- buy the basics for drawing: circle template, scale, pen, Sharpie, and a pencil and eraser.

3- make a stack of copies of 8x11 paper with your titleblock at the bottom.

That's really all you need if you can sell. #1 will give you the confidence to recommend the right plant for the right place, and when the client picks up on this confidence they'll be convinced by a simple plan view sketch that shows where everything goes and the sized relative to one another. \

Don't lose sight of the fact that you're selling your ability to conceptualize and execute a landscape. Anything else - software, artist's tools, etc - is just in service of that goal.

Don't make it more complicated than it has to be.
Agree with you on starting stuff, Id also add a set of french curves and a block of 1/8th scale 17 x 11 grid paper to help with stay continuous with sizing. I found 8 x 11 to OK for very small beds but any bigger it gets too cramped for me
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