Best buy for landscape software?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by daysel, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. daysel

    daysel LawnSite Member
    from TEXAS
    Posts: 140

    I did a search and seems like prolandscape is great, but is there something cheaper than $1000?
  2. GreenN'Clean

    GreenN'Clean LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,512

    lawnpro software is under $100.00 and works great
  3. daysel

    daysel LawnSite Member
    from TEXAS
    Posts: 140

    I've never used it but it sounds like a lawn service program.
    Unless you can design landscapes with it.
    I need landscape design software.
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    The best buy will be the one that best fits YOUR balance of cost, what you want to do with it, learning curve, and how much of a difference it will make in closing a sale. Only you know any of that.

    Some guys have good sales improvements through the use of photo imaging software. I personally think it is not a good option for an inexperienced designer because it documents a very specific result that in many cases is very hard to achieve and impossible to achieve in other cases. You are empowering your client to have a fool proof victory in court if the result does not look like it does in the picture. It is very easy to fool yourself into thinking a certain amount of plants will fit in the picture. This software is best used after you prove out the layout in a plan view. Then you can make a mock up of what you know will work.

    It is safer to produce a plan view. First, it forces you to measure the site to reproduce the existing conditions on your base plan. You will put in plant symbols that will hold the space that those plants will use which makes you know whether they fit or don't fit and how well they are spaced. The plan is more abstract in terms of the result that you are representing to your client. As long as there are the same amount of plants and other materials laid out in a similar way, it is pretty hard to argue in court that you did not deliver what was contracted.

    A plan can be done on paper, but you want to do it with software. That may be because you don't draw well (like me), or it could be for another reason. If you will let us know why, it will help in understanding you needs a little better.

    My opinion is that you should use a plan drafting software that allows you to accurately draw to a scale. More preferable is to draw in real units (like feet) and be able to print it out to a scale (like 1/8"=1' or 1"= 10'). It helps if you can measre distances between objects and measure area in your drawing on screen to help you make determinations as you design. There are lots of programs that do this ranging from cheap to very expensive.

    Most new designers tend to want to use programs that have either colored symbols or simulated photo looking symbols. The idea is that you'd get a very professional looking plan out of it. I think there is a negative in doing that. Some people perceive that a computer generated the plan and sometimes they look pretty cheesy and cartoony.
    I would suggest sticking to black and white line work. If you want color, bust out some colored pencils. The line drawings look more technical and less generated.

    I believe that you should be careful not to allow your client to separate you from the design. The more it looks like the computer designed it the less important you become to them. I think the black and white like drawings help in that. Use terms like, "when I was drafting this on the computer ..." to help them stay focussed on you over the program.

    There are lots of programs with add ons that sound really good such as those that count your plants for you. I think these are over rated in that there is always potential to count plant symbols that are somehow lost in the drawing (one on top of another, or misplaced off of the site in the drawing). I often do plans with hundreds of plants. I prefer to print out a plan and actually count them and put a red line through them when I do. I don't get double reads and it forces me to look at every inch of that plan where I find little errors or other problems in the drawing or flaws in the design.

    These are just my opinions based on my perspective. Others might match up better with your perspective. But these are things to think of.

    I hope that all helps you think about what YOU need.
  5. daysel

    daysel LawnSite Member
    from TEXAS
    Posts: 140

    I've had the business established for a few years and am ready for the next step. I've been doing design jobs and executing them for about a year and I think it's cheezy to step up without a nice printed plan.
    I have mostly everything I need, the software will help professionalism.
    Software suggestions please...(design)
  6. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Landscape Architects use Autocad for a lot of reasons that might not apply to you, or maybe they do.

    No matter what you go with, it is "garbage in - garbage out". The difference between the 3d garden designer software you can get for $20 at best buy or staples and $1k-$2k is variabilty in how you can input the information. The cheap programs have less variables while the others have more. More variables means more to learn. Less variables means limited results.

    That is why it is not about what is the best program, but what is the best program for you.

    I believe the best program for landscape design is Autocad Lt. If you drop $900 on it with no experience, it would be anything but the best program. But if you want just to know what the best program is, that is it.
  8. skidster32

    skidster32 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 105

    try unilocks new program

    STRINGALATION LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 777

    as usual i learn and agree with AGLA.

    on that note the program i use is by punch master landscape pro. and it is great for me.
    i can relate to the process AGLA described. i use my plan view for the majority of my designing to keep my scale and perspective. check my recent post of my postcards. the top left and bottom right are from this program but hey a rookie my self and my foremans dad just gave him auto cad so i will be loading it soon to check it out
  10. yardmanlee

    yardmanlee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 898

    do you use this one ? and how does it compare to
    pro landscape ?

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