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Software that actually designs the landscaping layout?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by walker-talker, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Is there anything out there that does that, create the actual landscape layout? I landscaped for 4 years, worked in a factory for 13 year and then 4 years ago started a lawn maintenance business. I am thinking of offering landscaping to the list of my services, but don't know enough to actually desing the layout. I was wondering if there was anything on the market that could do the layout if given the proper dimensions, angles in relation to the sun and region?

  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    There is not. There are drafting programs, photo-imaging programs, plant database programs, and plant encyclopedia programs at this point.

    The problem is not with programers so much as that most of variables of input you would need to know to put into the program must already be processed by you beforehand. If you know what to put in, you are far enough ahead to just start drafting and using your references for plant selection.

    If you have to enter the location of the front door and the driveway and how big you want the beds in order for it to "design" a walkway, aren't you really just telling it how to draft?

    I think there is some room for a program that can process your input such as matching solar aspect and hardiness zone against your selected form, texture, color, and size to give you plant choices appropriate to choose from.

    It comes down to "garbage in = garbage out". You have got to have the info to input and set up the criteria for the output. To do that, you already have to be an experienced site designer. What is left for the program to do?

    This is essentially what we do with programs like Autocad. We draw the house, property lines, topography, driveways, and all existing conditions. We want a bed 4' wide, so we offset the line that represents the house by 4'. We draw a nice flowing curved line from the middle of the steps out to the driveway, then offset either side of that line to make a walk. All we are doing is input, really. Input based on experience. The only thing left to calculate is where the line goes. So, I guess what I am saying is that there is so little left to process after you enter your input that drafting programs are not going to be replaced any time soon in my opinion.
  3. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    I'm with AGLA on this one. I haven't seen anything to date that works better for design that a drafting pad and a set of sketch pencils. When I need a set of prints done I take the site specifics and my sketches to a draftsman and let them do the prints. They have 20K worth of CAD software and the ability to use it. No way I could compete with that on a practical basis.

  4. trinitygrove

    trinitygrove LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    yes there are a few computer programs that you can buy. I've done a search on Bestbuy.com and came up with 3.

    Topics Entertainment Instant Landscaping 2.0

    Punch! Ultimate Deck And Landscape

    Punch! Master Landscape Pro & Home Design

    It's pretty much you load the photo in and design away!
  5. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    They do not lay out a design.
  6. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Day by day software is changing, and bit by bit in time we may see some software that becomes so elaborate as to do everything for you. Perhaps when you would begin a job you would input the address of the job site and then from an online database the program would download the county tax accessors map of the property, as well as topographical data, and location of buildings. From this information the program could calculate sunrise-sunset locations, slope considerations, and of course choose correct plants for the appropriate USDA zone.

    The program could generate virtually an endless amount of different designs to choose from. To top it all off, with just a few inital inputs of available water pressure and flow readings, it could lay out your irrigation plan as well.

    Okay, anyone interested?

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