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Help! What software Do you use?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Even Cut Lawn Care, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Even Cut Lawn Care

    Even Cut Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    What program do yall use to design your landscapes to show the home owner/buisness?
  2. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    We use Pro Landscape by Drafix, but the software does not aid in design. Any software will be a digital pencil to allow your plans to be easily read, easy to send anywhere or to anyone, great for making changes, but limited by the skills and knowledge of the user. Also with Pro Landscape you get digital imaging, which is an excellent presentation tool, but should not be used as a primary design tool. Imaging can allow the designer and the client to get a decent visual representation of what your landscape plan is unable to convey in it's drafted form.

    Many users will also use software called Dynascape. Dynascape lacks the imaging of Pro Landscape, but has some drafting features that some find more sophisticated. The best is to demo each type of software, especially at green industry shows where you can get almost a side-by-side comparison. If you are looking for professional quality software, expect to pay between $1200-$2500, but remember, they are all CAD based, and CAD is a powerful program. Being a power hungry program, you will need a computer that can run the program and reproduce the graphics and images in a quality befitting your work. I would also suggest pricing into your purchase, training. Most software manufacturers offer classes in the use of their programs. The training is definitely worth the cost and benefit. Otherwise, you may have software on a shelf that you don't have time to learn or is too difficult to get it to do the things you want. You'll also want to consider a large format printer, at least able to print 24"x36" drawings. For larger work, Kinkos or another print shop may do, but if most of your work is residential, you can do a great deal of your work or at least preliminary design on 24"x36" or less.

    If you have the skills and time to create designs, the high end software will be a huge timesaver and asset to your business. If you are just looking to show a client what the garden your planning will look like, check out the homeowner landscape software programs. They are inexpensive and will give your client at least an idea of what your are talking about. You can import a photo of their home and and plants and some hardscaping to get your idea across. If you are working on larger projects, don't have all the skills or knowledge or maybe don't have the time to create your own designs, get some assistance. A quality designer can increase the scope of your work, the size and price of your jobs and add huge benefits to your client. A good designer will have a broad range of experience and knowledge and should be able to create unique and sustainable landscape for you and your clients.

  3. allpro2009

    allpro2009 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I use realtime landscaping plus, with photo. This program is unreal for the price($90). i have sold probably 7 of 10 jobs in the last 2 months since purchasing this. i simply take a picture of the property, upload it to my laptop and into realtime, and clone out existing landscapes. once the landscape is cleaned, i make like 5 to 10 different designs and keep a clean one also. When i go to meet the customer, i have this program ready and i sit with them and we try different things. theres nothing like having a program like this. drafix pro landscape is what i wanted, yet the price is seriously laughable after using realtime for 10% of the cost of drafix. only a MAJOR landscaping company, with SKILLED graphic designers would benefit better by using drafix. realtime landscape....try it, u wont be disappointed.
  4. Rake 'n Bake

    Rake 'n Bake LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    With Realtime, are you also able to print overhead drawings for the crew to use during installation? How about assigning prices to plant material?
  5. allpro2009

    allpro2009 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    yes, realtime is sold in a few different packages; each having more software than the other. the one i purchased came with realtime photo and landscaper i think its called. landscaper has the "blueprint" type of overhead style of design presentation that i think you were referring to. realtime photo allows you to import prices, items, and more into a printable invoice. You can also save these prices and associate them with specific bushes, trees, or any other objects for future use. For example, ive edited/saved my realtime program to depict dwarf alberta spruces at 2 gallons for $40. So when im designing a landscape and i incorporate 10 dwarfs, it automatically adds them to my invoice materials list and calculates the price via quanity. Just last night i met with a doctor who i have been providing weekly lawn service for a couple of years. i told him i had some ideas a few weeks ago concerning his outdated landscape and that i would like to meet with him. so over the last couple of weeks i had taken pictures of his property and imported them into realtime on my laptop. i took a few days and designed some different landscapes and saved them to realtime. when i met with him last night, i had a photo already on my laptop desktop showing his plain landscaping, and just as i showed him that, i popped up my realtime design and he literally was like WOW! haha SOLD! 1 to 2 ft boulder job with numerous yards of dirt for hills, bushes, trees. its a money maker, especially for the price! its paid for itsself within weeks...just like a hedge trimmer.
  6. MImower

    MImower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Realtime sounds sweet. I have been wanting to get Pro Landscape but just can't quite spend that kind of money right now.

    Does Realtime have a way to add outdoor lighting like PL can? I would like to be able to upsell lighting when I design something too.

    Where did you get the program (Realtime)? On line or in a store?
  7. Rake 'n Bake

    Rake 'n Bake LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Thanks. Just spent some time looking it up and it looks perfect and pretty inexpensive.

    MImower, Realtime Landscape Architect does let you add lighting in both 3-D pictures as well as the CAD drawings. Google 'realtime landscape' and check out the architect version. The galleries show you everything it can do.
  8. MImower

    MImower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks, I did just check it out and it looks great for such a good price.
  9. allpro2009

    allpro2009 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    ive messed around with the lighting feature and its pretty cool. it allows you to easily click a "moon" button to show the customer a nighttime version. there are soooo many options for the lights to... you can change the scope, distance, type, and get this like 4 or 5 different colors also. On another note...i was looking for new 20 inch rims for my dodge ram the other day. i took the photo of the new rims from an internet site, imported it into realtime photo as a new object...along with my truck photo as background..and lol i got a glimpse of what they looked like. i also took photos of a customers home who had asked me to paint her shutters and exterior door. since she was not sure on the color, i used realtime to "paint" them different colors simly outlining the areas with the ground cover curser. goodluck, let me know how u like it.

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