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What landscape design software do you use and why?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Barrett Landscaping, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    I agree 100% with Papercutter. We've both been through working as designers for several different companies and ourselves. I worked for design/build contractors as well as design only and learning lots of different approaches and different results all the way. Some were high end, some were middle of the road, but no matter what, the goal was to make money. Part of making money is to know where to invest time and expense and where you should not.
  2. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 801

    I think it's great it's working for you guys, ( not being a smartass) but I don't know yet that "3D rendering" won't work for me until it doesn't.
    If that makes sense. I don't know if you guys work for a company or own yours..I own mine so when I come home and get caught up on stuff I really have no problem sitting down to design something free or otherwise. I would probably be watching TV or surfing the net and it's fun. I can see how the finished 3D design could cause some misunderstanding if project and plants don't look close to the design ..but I pretty much explain all that up front.
  3. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    There's no reason you shouldn't be able to sell with a 3D rendering. And right now it's fun and you have the time to play around with it, so it's cool. Have fun with it. But I look at the pics you shared and I see way more time invested in what looks like a <$5k foundation planting than the net on the job would warrant. That sort of thing, I'll often skip CAD altogether because I can bang it out in 10 minutes on paper with a Sharpie, a micron pen, and a circle template. Splash a little marker on it for sizzle and then when it sells, that's when I have my assistant put it into CAD for field drawings and maintenance records.

    It's cool that you have fun with the 3D stuff. If you want to have a scalable business though it's at least worth considering that as much as possible, every hour invested is billable or at least recovered. I realized years ago that while I'm good at 3D work, I'm not the best. That's why on this project I did the landscape design, and for the 3D model that the builder requested - I hired the best. http://youtu.be/bXbLBpXOFHg
  4. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 801

    That was very nice..what progam does Adam use ? Little off topic but those terrain changes look challenging. ( I'm not good with a lot of terrain elevation changes) If that project is complete , do you have any finished pics of the property?
  5. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    SketchUp for the model, and then a whole list of stuff for post processing. Do you follow him on FB? He usually talks about what he's using.

    Terrain and contours are hard to represent in any program. Is there even a decent option to do so in VizTerra? Granted you'd be hard pressed to find a worse site than the one this house sits on. Imagine building a 17,000 sq ft home at the bottom of a teacup and you have this lot. I know I have semi-completed pics somewhere, just need to find them. I drove by the other day and the front triangle bed (where there's supposed to be a natural-looking pondless) looks like crap. This was a $7 million+ spec house so while the builder wanted us to show what was possible, they weren't going to actually build out what will eventually be a $1.2 mil+ landscape unless it was a condition of the sale.
  6. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 801

    Viz terra just introduced dual slope in the newest update.. It bet it is tough to spend 1.2 mil on landscape in this economy. I do not follow Adam on FB but will definitely check him out. I'm not clear if your just a design company or install too?
  7. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,603

    I can see where both sides have valid points on how design software can and can't be a significant advantage for design jobs. For the most part at the moment people take my word for how it will turn out and trust I know that it will look good. However, there still are a chunk of people that want a visual aid. As my company continues to grow more and more that group of people grows as well, thus there being more money that I am potentially missing out on with not having some form of design software. I will have to sit down next rainy day and surf around and look at each of the systems mentioned and go from there. I am by no means a computer genius so I will have to weigh that as well.
  8. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 516

    I definately am in the boat the selling people designs is more than showing the plan. With that said, I was taught Dynascape along with hand drawings. While i LOVE the look of hand drawings, a CAD software will win 100% of the time with regards to time spent on the actual drawing, assuming both parties are completely fluent. This is especially true if there are any revisions to be made.

    With regards to the 3D rendering, I have been using my galaxy note 10.1 during interviews and take pictures while im there, If i feel this would be a good project to do a 3d rendering on or if the client needs that extra boost, I use a app called Autodesk Sketchbook to overlay the pictures I took with the design aspects. Personally I like this look more then most of the 3d renderings out there (excluding the video that was posted, that was unreal). Just like I like the hand drawn designs more, they just take more time for the most part.

    I also love drawing so maybe thats we i like doing it this way, you can literally draw a 3d rendering in 15mins if your good.
  9. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 801

    I don't think I understand the overlay..is it something you can post a pic of?
  10. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    Sketchbook Pro and Paper on an iPad:

    Parsons Master Design.jpg

    image 2.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014

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