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Design Software

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by rika1, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. rika1

    rika1 LawnSite Member
    from 7
    Messages: 3

    I have just started working with a contractor doing some landscaping designs. I have been reviewing products looking for a program that will allow me to import or copy or scan in a plot layout. I mean, his draftsman has already done the design, I just need to get it into the software so I can place the plants in the appropriate areas. We're working with custom homes, and they have some unusual angles and such, so to redraw them in a software package is almost impossible. Does anybody know a product that does this that's fairly inexpensive?
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    I'm not quite following you. "His drafter", does that refer to the architecture plan or a site plan?

    What exactly do you have to work from? A plan with property lines and a house footprint? A foundation plan and a separate plan of the lot?

    And what exactly do you want to add to it? Plants? Driveways and hardscapes? Tool sheds, swimming pools,...?

    Are any of these existing plans done on CAD? It could be a matter of inserting one into another and then adding your landscape. ...depending on what they have.
  3. rika1

    rika1 LawnSite Member
    from 7
    Messages: 3

    Sorry about being so unclear. I was way too tired and aggravated last night.

    What I have are architectural footprints with the property line, slopes of the property etc. The draftsman who's drawn up the plans uses Auto CAD 2002. What I want to do, is do a preliminary landscape proposal so I can submit it to the homeowners design board for approval so we can break ground. Then I can elaborate on the initial design. I want to place plants, edging, etc. on the existing plans since they already have the drives, patios, pools, etc. in some detail. I would like to dress them up by coloring the drives, etc., and be able to present to the client a more realistic plan than just a black and white arial view. My biggest concern is not havng to redraw the plans. These designs are very unique and customized with unusual angles and some even have a stepping stone type layout because of utilizing the natural slopes of the landscape.

    I was looking at Punch's Master Landscape and Home Design program. It seems to allow you to scan in the plans, but I'm under the impression you still need to trace them to really work in the program.

    Thanks for your help and guidance.

  4. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    we use canvas by denaba. This is a very highly advanced drawing program that will do what you want and more. the only down side is that is does not have a plant database but you can get pics off the net and clean them and save them for use. I have done what you are asking many of times.
    Canvas will do many more things than the dedicated landscape program in greater detail. Learning it freehand might be the disadvantge. I have taking many courses for using canvas in landscape design. by far the best program out there for this hands down.
    I think the cost was only around 200 bucks or so. I may be able to help you out. If you want to scan in the layout and e mail it to me I could see what I can do for you.
  5. rika1

    rika1 LawnSite Member
    from 7
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the info Kickin sum grass. I'll check out canvas. If I get really stuck, I may take you up on your offer. I'm an MIS major, so I'm pretty computer literate and should be able to figure it out.

    Do you know of any other programs that might be even less expensive that are worthwhile? I'm a full time student, and since I'm just starting out and this is part time work, I'd like to keep my expenses down right now.
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Intellicad (~$200) is a cheaper clone of Autocad (not lite, but the full deal). It allows for the import of images.

    I think that you will find it much easier to open a drawing file and add plant symbols to it than to go through extra steps.

    I have used Landcadd's "Colorfast" and another program called M-Color for coloring ACAD drawings. It is a time consuming process, and would not be easy for someone with limited ACAD knowledge.

    I prefer a black and white and dressing it up with colored pencil. It is very fast and takes away that "the computer did it" look.

    It is one way, certainly not the only way.

    I am not familiar with "Canvas", it might be the thing.
  7. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    We use Pro Landscape for our designs. We usually don't have to present a CAD drawing to the customer, usually the photo rendering of their house with the landscaping installed is enough for them to say "Okay, we'll do it!" Pro Landscape has both the photo rendering software and the CAD software. I have not had a chance to do any designs with the CAD because it is not needed, but I have messed around with it some. It is a very clean and precise program that works very well. With Pro Landscape you also get the estimate software that adds how many of each plant/material you've put in the design and puts together the estimate. I haven't used that yet either, so I can't speak for it as of yet. We've just been doing estimates the old fashioned way until we learn the program, which will be this winter's project.
  8. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    This won't be a viable option to you based on your budget but if you really want to blow them away you could use 3D Studio Max by Discreet (formerly a autocad product). It allows for importing of Autocad files.

    You could build a 3D rendering of the home, property and landscaped areas then set up the camera to fly through the landscaped area and create a .AVI movie file to show the client. This program is very powerfull, and very impressive.
  9. trailboss

    trailboss LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    Wells, do you have a small sample of an .avi that you have created that you could email me??? I would love to see that program in action.
  10. Peach

    Peach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Rika 1

    Trust me ..... if canvas does what Kickin' says.... then 200 clams is not expensive.

    Currently I use a $100 cad (autocad compatible) and I spend HOURS redrawing footprints vefore I can begin to design.

    BTW I close 90% of my designs using a simple footprint drawing - but I have spent many more hours creating my own plant images.

    I'm going to check out both Canvas and Pro Landscape. I have used that type of program in the days when they left a lot to be desired.

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