Landscape Design Software Or Drawings?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by lawns by design, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. lawns by design

    lawns by design LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    Hello Guys and Woman
    I know there is some blogs on here about landscape design but i did not see it.
    I have been looking for a good landscape design software but the few i seen that were good were like 1,500 and i am a small company and cannot afford that just for software? I have been drawing my designs but that takes a long time and sometimes is not as accurate as other design software programs. Do any of you have advise ? On some good software ? Or how are you doing your landscape designs?
  2. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    When you say it's not accurate enough, what do you mean? What size jobs are you doing?

    I do most of my work in AutoCAD, which is more expensive and robust than you're probably looking for. Hand drawing's all about technique, though. If you know the right tricks, you can knock out a design for a $10k planting job in half an hour and have something pretty for the client to look at.
  3. lawns by design

    lawns by design LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    Hey I just mean like human error I am by no means a artist my designs don't look as clean as I would like ? My circles and lines aren't as crisp . How did you learn cad software ?
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  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    I learned CAD from a class at the community college. Before I took that class, though, I took a hand drafting class. I highly recommend a class in hand drafting, because 1) the principles you learn there will make you better in whatever CAD program you go for, and 2) not every project needs to be done on the computer. Why work harder than you need to?

    A drawing can only be as accurate as what goes into it, whether it's by hand or on the computer. There are some great tricks that once you know them you'll be amazed you hadn't run across them sooner. As for crisp circles and lines, it's all about the right tools. If you have a sharpie, a gel pen, a scale, a triangle, and a circle template, you can bang out a nice looking drawing. I'll dig around, I may have a sample I can upload
  5. New2TheGreenIndustry

    New2TheGreenIndustry LawnSite Senior Member
    from GA
    Messages: 925


    It takes me all day to do that type sketch with templates and flexible rulers. I was looking and maybe purchasing Pro Landscape sometime this year.
  6. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    At one of my previous jobs I had a desk at a major homebuilder's design center. After someone bought a home they would go through and pick out their appliances, carpet, tile, etc., and end with me. I had 50 minutes to design their builder-provided front yard and try to design and upsell the backyard. You either got good at being fast or you ate a lot of ramen.

    As far as being accurate, ask the homeowner for a copy of their survey plat. Take it to Staples and enlarge it on the photocopier till it's a useful scale like 1/8"=1'-0". Trace over that on a clean sheet and you have the house, driveway, front walk, fence, and property lines. All you then need to locate and add to the drawing are any relevant trees or hardscapes, doors, and windows.

    If you're charging for your designs then you probably want to make them a little more impressive. Otherwise, all you need to do is show what you're proposing in a clean, understandable way that'll sell the job. The black and white sketch was for one of several "pocket" perennial gardens the client had around the house. I knew I'd be making changes in the field anyhow, so why bother putting a lot of time into the drawing? As for the color drawing, it was for a winery client I was trying to get more work from, so I made it a little fancier - but simple circles with a circle template and no color would've gotten the job done.

    Don't get me wrong, the software is great and the last time my computer was at the shop for a week it was killing me. But take a look at your sales process and make sure you're doing what will make you the most money in the least amount of time.


  7. lawns by design

    lawns by design LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    Thank you very very much this really helps out I am going to try everything you said do you know of a site I may can get the survey from If home owners don't have ? Also do you know of any where that is good for circle templates ? Thanks very much for all your time you've helped me out a lot
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    If there's not a local art supply shop near you, a great little small online retailer is . Their prices are competitive and the selection's awesome. Here's what I would set you up with if you were designing and selling for me:

    - 0.5mm and 0.9mm mechanical pencils
    - white eraser
    - Staedtler pigment liner (pens) set of 5, black
    - architectural scale
    - engineering scale
    - 45 degree triangle
    - compass
    - large circle and small circle templates
    - zipper pouch to carry this stuff

    That's what I carried with me to work at the design job I mentioned above, and it was sufficient for me to sell over a million dollars in installs in six months.
  9. lawns by design

    lawns by design LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    I have my agenda planned out for tomorrow we have lots of like art supply stores and if all else fells im sure staples has alot of stuff. I looked online for Survey Plot and have not had much luck i know alot of customers i am currently working on little jobs for wont have there property survey, Do you know any easier way to obtain theses?
  10. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Some cities or counties have them online, but most don't. What I do if a client doesn't have their plat is this:

    - I measure whatever portion of the house is relevant to the area I'm designing, but at least one whole side
    - I locate a few key detail points (driveway, trees, whatever)
    - I then get the aerial imagery from GoiLawn and print it out to scale and use that for a base just like I would a plat.

    It's not as accurate as a plat, but if I also have some exact field measurements of key areas, it's close enough for a planting plan.

    If you're doing hardscapes or carpentry stuff and you can't get a plat, you need to suck it up and do a really thorough job measuring. It's a hassle, but it beats screwing up an estimate.

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