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Landscape Design Software Recommendation

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Horticulture Goddess, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. Horticulture Goddess

    Horticulture Goddess LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Hi all,

    I am new to the site and the business. I am looking for a Design software recommendation. I will be designing and installing landscapes for the most part with emphasis on plantings, not hardscape to start. I've been in some stores but for this type of specialization I am not getting good info. The characteristics I am most interested in are:

    Ease of use
    Good maintenance and support
    Extensive Plant Catalog
    Growth Examples ( 1yr, 3 yr etc)
    Ability to import Digital pics for realistic presentations

    If anyone is using Autocad, what version is best for these types of applications.

    All advice appreciated.
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Autocad would not be a good choice based on the criteria you outlined.

    You need to look at landscape specific programs like ProLandscape, Dynascape, or VectorWorks.
  3. Okiebug003

    Okiebug003 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 243

    I just bought PROLandscape when it was on sale at the end of last year. I really like it so far. Sounds like it would be a good fit for what your looking for. ALthough the learning curve is considered by many to be pretty steap.
  4. Horticulture Goddess

    Horticulture Goddess LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    AGLA & Elite Outdoor, thanks for your response. I took a look at the three software recommendations and was blown away by ProLandscape. It is perfect and will grow with my business options. Great recommendation.
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    I use Prolandscape.

    I can't really recommend it only because I haven't used anything else to compare it to.
  6. h400exinfl

    h400exinfl LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 106

    I just looked at ProLandscape, currently I use realtime, but there are a few things I don't like about it. I'm not attempting at all to hijack this thread, but since I have questions that relate to Goddess's thread, ... here goes. How is the bid creation feature in ProLandscape? Pretty useful, or do you still find yourself using excel? What about ground cover, is there a good feature for calculating and drawing ground cover installations, i.e. do you have to place every single 1 gallon plant? Last, how are the building drawing features? Is it easy to properly build lanai's, overhangs, or screenrooms?
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    On the planner side of PRO Landscape, i had no problems building an apartment complex, including the parking lot and all the islands. I don't necessarily like the the estimating side of the program, but I don't have a need to incorporate that into my biz. I've got my own template for that.

    Overhangs and the such don't show up only because the roof feature in pro automatically creates the roof, so overhangs show up as part of the whole roof.

    I do like the calculation features of pro. As far as I can remember it only works on the planner side of the program, but it does come in handy. It gets pretty close to the final total on the install.
  8. h400exinfl

    h400exinfl LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 106

    Thanks WG. How about the palcement issue? Can you just plop 300 1 gal juniper down and the program will automatically place them in the bed using triangular spacing 1 ft on center, or do you have to place each one? That is one one of my biggest issues with realltime.
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    In all honesty I'm not sure. I've only used the auto-cad side of the program a couple of times only because my customers don't really want it, and I'm not designing for builders who will need the blue-print style for 20 different contractors to use.

    I did find though that when I did the large apartment complex that had three buildings, that when I did one side of the building, I was able to group the objects and copy them to the other side of the building and so on. So that saved a major amount of time and effort.

    I've talked to a couple local designers and we agree that the age of auto-cad, and hand drawings are going by the way-side. Image editing seems to be what people are asking for, and it really does a great job of showing the customer exactly what they are going to get, instead of a birds-eye view of symbols that they can't wrap their brains around.

    Besides, with auto-cad, there always seems to be a variations in the real world in plant spacing and location, so taking the extra time and effort to specifically place each plant to me isn't worth the time or effort.

    With all that said, I love the artistic value of hand drawings, and also I understand there will always be situations where auto-cad has it's place.
  10. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    "Birds eye" landscape plans are not going away any time soon. Their purpose is for accurate horizontal layout.

    Image editing only does conceptual mock ups which can be very misleading as perspective and depth perception are altered with each piece added. They are most accurately done after a plan view layout has been established. The more layered the image, the less likely the space will appear to be on the same elevation or have the same scale as the original photo.

    You also have to understand that your client can claim that you did not deliver what you sold and leave you pretty well defenseless because of the realistic look of the photoimage. A plan is an abstraction and is much more easily defended when challenged in court.

    Certainly, imaging works well for demonstrating a look on a small planting, but it does not replace a plan view.

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