Plant database software

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by iomonet, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. iomonet

    iomonet LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    I am looking into plant database software and wondered if yall had any suggestions. Horticopia looks great but expensive. Anyone know if its worth it? Or are there comparible choces?
     
  2. JimmyStew

    JimmyStew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 367

    The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael Dirr is an indispensable reference for myself. The book has its own place on my desk - right on top of all the clutter! There was a "companion" cd-rom that I purchased a number of years ago. It was a 4 disk set that has like a billion pictures. I can't seem to find where it is offered for sale anymore, but Amazon offers a dvd under a similar name, that I assume is the same or similar product, just in a different format. If it is, I would highly recommend it. The one caveat, you can't use the pictures in your own literature. You can print them from the cd and use those to show clients, but you can't integrate them into presentations, proposals, advertisements, etc.

    http://www.amazon.com/Manual-Woody-...bs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215736434&sr=8-2

    http://www.amazon.com/Interactive-M..._bbs_sr_9?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1215736989&sr=8-9

    I purchased the Horticopia A to Z cd-rom about the same time as the dirr set and honestly, I use it mostly as a coaster. The idea is not bad and I do find myself using it occationally to print out a quick info page for a client on a particular plant, but all in all, the combination I mentioned above is a much better investment.
     
  3. iomonet

    iomonet LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    I have Dirr's woody manual in book form. However, I use alot of herbaceous plants in my designs and need the photos to help sell the job. Dirr's would require 2 different software pkgs, right? One for Woodies and one for herbaceous. Thanks for the response.
     
  4. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    Horticopia is a resource I use everyday for my design work. It is a huge help in the client's understanding of the plants we are placing in a design and for some clients, the data offered is a wealth of knowledge. I also keep an extensive library of plant information books, anchored by the manual of woody landscape plants and the remainder of Michael Dirr's words of wisdom. I have not yet upgrade to Horticopia version V, but will certainly benefit from the new and updated information. A huge advantage to Horticopia is being able to customize a presentation for a client to give them specific choices for their landscape. When you bring them a book with some pages marked, they also want to know about all the other plants in the book. With Horticopia, you create a "book" that is specific for their project and makes their choosing easier. Often too much information is overwhelming to a client that is looking for landscaping. Horticopia allows you to customize your presentations with just photos, or any amount of information they offer. Most clients get a plant sheet with basic information, but some clients are gardeners and what allow the information you have on the plants you have installed, including photos.

    If you are looking for books on herbaceous material, Alan Armitage offers an excellent, diverse and in depth selection of books. With the diversity and proliferation of herbaceous plants, no one source will have all that you need. A couple of my favorites for client selections are the series offered by Ortho & Sunset. They are simple, with pretty pictures and most clients can appreciate that.

    Kirk
     
  5. iomonet

    iomonet LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    Thanks Kirk. I am leaning into Horticopia. I have the demo but I think I may need another hard drive to hold it. Looks huge!
    Also looking for more design work in Tennessee. It will cost the landscaper only 5% of the job I sell, estimate and design. I just need the lead.
     
  6. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    Are you doing design only or design build? Horticopia will be an investment in your business if you do a good amount of design. Your installers and the clients will appreciate the images and information you will be able to provide them. It has avoided the "that's not the plants i thought they were going to be" scenario.

    To find more design work, hook up with as many installers as you can find and show them how your work can increase their sales and their bottom line. I find most installers to be very good at what they do, manage labor. If you have the skills and knowledge to help them sell more and better work, you have ideal partnerships.

    Kirk
     
  7. iomonet

    iomonet LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    I am design-build. The problem I run into is the quality of work from the landscaper. For most it is all about "get in, get out", which is great if you do the job right the first time. If not and there is a call back...there goes their profit and sometimes it gets blamed on me, when again, if they did it right the first time...they wouldn't have a call back. When they put in poor quality plants or don't follow the design or substitute plants for a plant that will get too large (for example) for the space, the homeowner calls me, of course. Some landscapers will make changes I request, some won't. Those that won't I cannot work with. Tricky business.
     
  8. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

    Why would you need a program or a book? My design program has a huge plant directory with all the pictures and descriptions I will ever need. I also use a website at www.midwestlandscapeplants.org for more information if needed.
     
  9. iomonet

    iomonet LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    I am old school and still draw by hand. I really should get with it and use a design program. I took some Auto CAD classes and hated it. Which program do you use and do you love it? I have used Design Ware 3.3 and home and gardens and several others, and discared them for one reason or another.
     
  10. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    Lawnpro, no single book or program will have all the information you may need. If you are doing small, simple designs and not giving your clients many choices, you drafting program maybe all you need. For the type of work we do, even Horticopia with almost 10K plants doesn't have all the answers. New plants are constantly being released to the industry and only some of the better trade magazines find the room to give us that information on a regular basis.

    io, we are using Pro Landscape from Drafix and find it to be the best program for my clients and installers. It is CAD based, and being comfortable with CAD is a big plus. It also has imaging for great presentations and a 3D flyover feature of the plan mode that allows you to see your design from unlimited angles and directions. We are also able to create designs or images and email them directly to a client so that they may view it and even print it to scale with access to a large format printer. Works well for changes or long distance design work.

    Kirk
     

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