Anybody use Auto Cad LT or LSI?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by trailboss, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. trailboss

    trailboss LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    I am looking at buying some new design software and I am trying to decide between "Auto Cad LT" & "Landscape Illustrator". I do not have any Cad experience and therefore I am a bit concerned about the learning curve involved.
    I have read most of the past discussions about design software, but would still like to have a little more input.
    It would be great to see some actual designs using one of these or some other 2D Landscape Software programs.
    I would like to have something that will have some color and texture to the design, rather than just B&W.
    Any input and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778


    I am an ACAD guy. I have not seen LSI, so I can't comment.

    I can speak for myself on the use of ACAD and my personal preference to black and white or blueprint plans. I find that I am taken very seriously with a nice line drawing. I rarely render a drawing. When I do, it is Prismacolor colored pencils on a line drawing. I have used Colorfast (Landcadd), M-color, and some image editing software. My opinion is that the renderings look too impersonal - almost like the computer did the whole design. I have to admit that I hate image editing software because it can fool you as easily as the client if you are not careful.

    I have a link to a simple b&w plan of a modest residence:
    That was done on ACAD with no add ons, nothing that ACAD lt could not do (with experience).

    I discovered that my www button was a dead link, so I fixed that, too. There is at least one more line drawing there.

    It might not be what you are into. That is cool, but it might help you make a decision.
  3. trailboss

    trailboss LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    AGLA - Thanks for the information. I think that I am leaning that direction, especially since so many people use acad. I tried to check out your design but there wasnt anything there.
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778


    Just hit the www button at the bottom of my post. The plan pics will enlarge when you click on them. Some of the company names are links as well.

    I had trouble getting it to work, too. Try hitting the "go to" button next to the web address after you get the "not found" message.

    I think there is no problem with the "www" button below.
  5. trailboss

    trailboss LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    Those are some great looking designs!!! About how long does it take for you to do a design this size? And typically what do you charge for one?(if you dont mind me asking). The design thats in color, did you hand render that one?? Do you save them as a draw file or something and have them enlarged at your local print shop? Sorry for all the questions, I am just wanting to learn as fast as possible. I'm in North Texas and our season is about to be in full swing - and I am tired of using a pencil and graph paper.
    Thanks, Trailboss
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    How long does it take to design, or how long does it take to draw? Most plans like that take about 20 hours of work and run about $1,200 when I'm working in the design/build environment. That is starting with a CAD file from an engineer or surveyor (they give them to me as a professional courtesy as I am a Registered Landscape Architect. I have never been refused a CAD file), measuring details on site, and without revisions.

    In the design office world every hour would be billed and there would be more interaction and hand holding with the client. By the time I'd be done with revisions and have it ready for bidding, it would be more like $3k.

    The difference is that in one environment you have to recoup the overhaed and make a living on just the design work. In the other you are selling the job (or at least many of them) which brings in sales of labor and materials that turn that overhead into nothing.

    The color plan on the resume page is colored pencil by hand. If you click on the words "Crossroads..." it links a page that shows a rendering done with Colorfast which is a module of Eaglepoint's Landcadd programs. I find it useful to present to large audiences, but I think it is too cartoony for residential designs. It is also very time consuming if you have a lot of detail.

    I use a large format color inkjet. An HP500c that prints 24"x whatever. It cost about $2k two years ago. I use the same model in two different offices and find it to be a very good plotter.

    I do have to tell you that I have had a lot of CAD training both in school and working with very experienced people as an intern. I'm not sure how easily you can pick it up without some formal training and some capable friends or associates that can help you out when something does not make sense. You can always ask this board, I'm sure there are a few of us that can help you out of a bind.

    You might want to look at something like Dynascape ( that is designed by 'scapers to get you rolling out decent plans without having to be trained to death. It is well designed for a nice professional plan done in house (meaning it might have some conversion issues with ACAD from what I here). They set up lineweights and have a good library of symbols to let you worry about your design more than your drafting. I think they have a free demo.

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