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  #51  
Old 01-12-2006, 04:13 PM
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drsogr drsogr is offline
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I have never really used any of these programs. My question is, why can't landscape plans just be drawn in Autocad? I am fairly proficient at it. I haven't seen a lot of designs, but the ones I have seen look like they could easily be made in Autocad.
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  #52  
Old 01-12-2006, 04:53 PM
Drafto Drafto is offline
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I, like you, are very proficient with ACAD. I use ACAD for laying out most of my work, then I import it into Pro Landscape. Once you get all your blocks together I am sure you could use ACAD instead of PL. But to easch his own, if you were going to choose between purchasing ACAD or PL for doing landscape designs then it makes sense to buy PL. If you are going to be doing 3D or architectural drwaings with a little landscaping, then use ACAD.

Dan
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  #53  
Old 01-12-2006, 06:03 PM
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Dreams To Designs Dreams To Designs is offline
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If you are really good with CAD and have the program along with all the symbols you need to create landscapes and don't need to do 3D imaging, you could do it easily. Most of the rest of us are not proficient with CAD nor own a copy, so we rely on software written for the intention we need. The 3D imaging part of the program that is included in many of the software packages is an excellent presentation tool and will help you sell work by allowing your client to understand what you are trying to accomplish. If you know CAD, then you also know most people don't and are only confused by the typical 2D plan. I add color to my hand drawn plans and people are impressed, still confused, but they think it is pretty. When I show them a 3D image of their home with plants, hardscapes, structures and lighting they now have a visual reference. I also explain that the installation will NOT look exactly like the 3D image, but it is a representation of the goal we wish to achieve.

You need a good set of plans for the installation and materials take off, so no matter how you arrive at that goal, it all works. The key to good design is not how it is drawn, but how it is created. Is it sustainable, attractive, safe, environmentally sound, artistic, unique to the property owner and does it meet the needs of the client? How you get there is not as important as these considerations and more.

Kirk
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  #54  
Old 01-12-2006, 07:34 PM
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drsogr drsogr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreams To Designs
If you are really good with CAD and have the program along with all the symbols you need to create landscapes and don't need to do 3D imaging, you could do it easily. Most of the rest of us are not proficient with CAD nor own a copy, so we rely on software written for the intention we need. The 3D imaging part of the program that is included in many of the software packages is an excellent presentation tool and will help you sell work by allowing your client to understand what you are trying to accomplish. If you know CAD, then you also know most people don't and are only confused by the typical 2D plan. I add color to my hand drawn plans and people are impressed, still confused, but they think it is pretty. When I show them a 3D image of their home with plants, hardscapes, structures and lighting they now have a visual reference. I also explain that the installation will NOT look exactly like the 3D image, but it is a representation of the goal we wish to achieve.

You need a good set of plans for the installation and materials take off, so no matter how you arrive at that goal, it all works. The key to good design is not how it is drawn, but how it is created. Is it sustainable, attractive, safe, environmentally sound, artistic, unique to the property owner and does it meet the needs of the client? How you get there is not as important as these considerations and more.

Kirk
Most of my drawings tend to be small in scale, not really huge landscaping projects. Basically things that I could draw out by hand, just would rather do it in autocad. I have always done it by hand, so this is the first year that I will do it with autocad. I am hoping the time I spend developing blocks, will be a lot less significant that the cost of a new program. I usually don't have a problem selling my designs, so I think that the 3d feature would be nice, but the added time drawing it would not be worth it. I want to be done with a small landscape project...like the front of a mid range house in less than 45 minutes. I want my price for my design cheap enough that the customers won't baulk at it, yet the design nice enough that they will buy it!

All of the big landscape projects we will use an actual designer.
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  #55  
Old 01-13-2006, 08:02 AM
dutchman dutchman is offline
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I have a demo of Design Ware for 60 Days and I am not very impressed with there plants they don't have much of a selection and if I would buy it,it will cost me $800 and that is a lot of Money.....Dutchman
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  #56  
Old 01-13-2006, 04:43 PM
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Dreams To Designs Dreams To Designs is offline
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Dutchman, if you go to Pro Landscapes site, you can order a demo of their product and the sales staff is very good about answering questions. You can call or email them and they will answer immediately or get back to you quickly. I'm sure if you asked, they would be able to give you the real number for their plants in your zone. How do you intend on using the software?

You had better do a great deal of design work and be paid very well for it to purchase, maintain and print software. Software does not make designing easier, but does offer people with better computer skills than drafting skills a professional looking drawing. I do not find the "drawing" takes a great deal of time, but the designing does. A CAD based program is a digital pencil, and if you are better using the computer than pencils and paper, go for it, but weigh all the costs.

drsogr, with your skill and experience, drawings with CAD may be simpler and easier. For larger work you may want try creating your base plan with the CAD, printing it out and creating the concept by hand and then going back to CAD to create your final drawing for presentation. If you do mostly smaller designs, you may be able to do it all from a computer. I'd like to get some tips and trick from you if you are able to do a foundation planting in 45 minutes, but then again, I coudn't justify my price for design work. I usually spend about 10 hours on the front of a mid size home with drawings, plant lists, materials and construction notes, imaging and presentation. The 3D imaging isn't drawn, it's using an imported photograph and pasting plants, hardscapes, mulch and other landscape features as a visual representation of your design with the clients home or property as the background. Imaging is relatively quick and easy if you already know what your design is going to look like. It makes a great presentation tool to use with clients on larger projects. when they are parting with tens of thousand of dollars or more, usually they want to better understand what it's going to look like. They really aren't as interested in your style as much as their are concerned with getting what they want. When you can show it to them in a way that is easy to understand, most clients are willing to give you a budget that that more easily accomplishes both goals, your and theirs. You are very wise to use a designer or more than one. That let's you concentrate on what you do best and bring in someone with specialized knowledge and abilities only when needed.

Kirk
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  #57  
Old 01-13-2006, 04:56 PM
dutchman dutchman is offline
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Hi Kirk,

We just started this part of the business last year and we like to this more in 2006. I have a designer that does everything by hand but I would like to have some kind of pictures that I can show to the Customer so they can see what it looks like. But the software I have doesn't have to much of shrubs so maybe doing the designs by hand is the best option for us. Dutchman
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  #58  
Old 01-13-2006, 05:32 PM
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Dreams To Designs Dreams To Designs is offline
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Dutchman, for 3D imaging, I think Pro Landscape is the best and easiest to use. It has a lot of plants, but the picture is more important than the actual plant. If a Steeds holly image looks better on your 3D image than the image for a San Jose that your actually installing, than I use it, because the plant list and plan have the correct information on them. It's just a representation of what you are going to do. Some of the photos are great, others are not. Some plants don't have the form you are looking for, but a similar plant may. With Pro Landscape you can also import your own pictures and pictures from the the plant encyclopedia software, Horticopia. Horticopia also allows you to create slide shows, print picture and or data for all the plants you have selected for your designs. They also offer excellent photos, data and formats for presentation. Right now I think my version has almost 8700 plants with pictures and data. You can order additional portfolios that have more pictures of some plants already in your library and other cultivars and varieties. As of now, there is no data in additional portfolios, just pictures.

I understand your concern with costs, but hopefully with the right presentation tools you will sell more and better jobs that will offset your investment. Does the designer work for you or are they an independent. If they are your responsibility the right software will benefit you, but may take longer to recuperate. If they are an independent, they should realize the benefits of the right tools and be able to service all their clients, including you, better.

Kirk
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  #59  
Old 01-16-2006, 01:29 PM
Mike33 Mike33 is offline
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I need to make the discussion today should i buy this program or not, I do lack a lot of design ideas. Is the less expesive i have seen for under $ 200.00 just as good? Is it really worth the $
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  #60  
Old 01-16-2006, 01:53 PM
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Dreams To Designs Dreams To Designs is offline
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Mike, no program will help you design. If you lack design ideas, "when in doubt, sub it out"! A good designer is someone that is educated in horticulture, drainage, hardscaping, construction, landscape installation and good environmental practices, and is able to put these together with your clients needs into an artistic vision. If you lack these qualifications, spend your money becoming better educated or better yet, pay someone that is.

I believe Pro Landscape is one of the better "design" programs and the price is reasonable. The inexpensive programs are designed for homeowners and that is where they should stay. They do not look or convey a very professional feel. If you want something to play around with, go with one of those, it'll be worth the small expense to learn. My best suggestion would be to seek out a local designer to work with, if the type of installs you are or will be doing warrant a landscape plan or 3D imaging. Design is a another aspect to your business as is hardscaping or irrigation. You need special tools, time and skills to do it well and profitably. Good designs should be paid for by the client and will definitely be worth the time and money they invest. I have seen some internet designs and am not at all impressed. You typically get cookie cutter or very basic designs with little input from your clients. A good design involves your clients thoughts, ideas and needs along with the site conditions, talent and knowledge of the designer and your ability to install the plan.

Don't just buy this software and let it sit on the shelf, it's way to expensive for that. Along with the software, you need a computer that can run it, maybe even a laptop and a large format printer to print the designs you create. Most importantly you need the time to learn and master the software along with the talent and ability to design.

Kirk
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