my landscape design software - does it exist?

novembreMarch 31, 2010

I'd like to buy landscape design software that will allow me to import a photo of my house, and then place trees and shrubs where I'd like them to be. It would have to have the capability of illustrating what a given plant would look like when first planted, two years later, and maybe ten years later.

Anyone know of anything like this? And where I might buy it?



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Try Wal-mart or a wholesale club.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 1:49PM
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There are many out there. The problem is that you have to use your judgement of where it would be on the ground and how big and wide it should appear in your picture. You have to know how it looks in order to create the image that you want in order to show you how it looks. Do you see the problem in that?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 6:09PM
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laag...No, I don't have a problem with knowing how I want it to look, but I'm not famiiar with shrubs, their names, or their growing habits, so I really need something.

You said "there are many out there"...could you please suggest one or two, and where I might buy them.



    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 9:23PM
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....I think you misunderstood my point. I'm not saying that you don't know what you are doing.

I'm only saying that because you need to know what it looks ike in order to put the photo together there is no reason to put it together unless it is to show someone else.

Given that it is for you on your own home, it would lead me to believe that you either already know what it is going to look like (making it possible for you to make the photo, but making the photo unnecessary) or you do not know what it will look like (making it impossible to accurately make the photo) and need to have the photo to visualize it.

In either case, the software would be pointless, would it not? Perhaps the plant growth visualization does have a point even if you know what it looks like when it is planted.

ProLandscape is very popular with landscape design/build companies as is Dynascape. is one that is pretty popular at a more affordable price (I know this has growth simulation, but I think the others do as well).You can find some others at Staples or Best Buy as well.

I'm not convinced that the grow outs can be trusted since they do not consider maintenance or specifics to climate and are most likely done by a computer geek taking info from variuos sources.

I'm not a photo-imaging fan mostly because I have seen so many make believable looking photos of things that are impossible to execute.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:24PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

If you do a google search on free landscape program you'll see some directed for the non-professional.

This one looks like what you described.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 3:27AM
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Cool, it's like Colorforms for grownups.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 9:04AM
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laag I think you are presuming that everyone approaches design like you do. I for one would be helped a great deal by the program described. I am horrible at visualizing and it would allow me to see different layouts...

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 5:56AM
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I don't assume that. What I KNOW is that these programs REQUIRE the input of their users to put the plants into a picture.

The purpose of using the program is to show you what it looks like, but the process is that you have to tell the program what it looks like in order for it to show you what it looks like. You either have to have a good understanding of how it looks in order to put the image together(making the exercise unnecessary) or you will will put an image together that is not representative of where the plants are on the ground, depth of space the plants will occupy, size of actual plants going in, ..... making the image a hope rather than a representation of reality.

The programs are great to show others what something will look like if you already know. They are great to make pretty images based on hope.

They are not good at all at showing a novice gardener a realistic representation of what will happen if you put this plant here or that plant there which is the demographic that is always looking for this type of program.

Does that make more sense? Substituting hope for reality does not achieve good results no matter how good we feel about it.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 7:43AM
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I think the other issue is that the type of software is misleading.... it's not landscape design as an output, it is actually a landscape picture.

Most of these programs are simply ART programs in the sense that they produce landscape PICTURES - but a picture is not DESIGN.

It would be like buying a painting kit labelled art masterpeices. If you were a talented artist you may very well paint a masterpeice, but if you don't know much about technique, composition, color.... etc. then you are simply making a picture.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:09AM
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I think that what laag is trying to say is that if you know enough to make the software work well for you, you don't need the software for planning.

And if you don't know enough, the software will give you a plan that may look great on screen but is unbuildable or has other design problems.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:54AM
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Well- I think I know what I want in the way of say placing a new bed. I have an idea of how I want it to frame something and have my seasonal colors, sizes, textures etc. figured and rough plant choices. But until I make a mockup I have difficulty figuring out how it relates in actuality. It's a whole lot easier to move an entire planting six inches to the left on a computer screen than it is to ask a husband to please do it again.

The guy just asked for a couple of program recommendations. It'd be way easier just to name a couple than to tell him in 100 paragraphs why it's a stupid question.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 1:51PM
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It'd be way easier just to name a couple than to tell him in 100 paragraphs why it's a stupid question.

So you prefer people to give you bad advice when you ask for something that's not going to work as you hoped?

Installing Microsoft Word will not make you a novelist, AutoCAD will not make you an architect, MAT Lab will not make you a physicist ... there is no landscaping software out there that will impart landscaping skills to you.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 9:05AM
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I gave three brands and answered the question "does this software exist?" by explaining what the available software does and does not do, leaving it up to the OP to decide if the software he is looking for does in fact exist.

Listing software without saying exactly what is does would not be answering the question.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 1:13PM
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OK guys, I know.
Just seems that sometimes a simple question sets off a firestorm.

I enjoy trying to visualize projects before I bring out the shovels. I use Showoff, Photoshop, and even Paint to take a photo of the area I am fooling around with and trying different combinations of things until something clicks.
It doesn't even have to be a true representation of the specific plants- sometimes just drawing out some bones and different shapes to balance things can be incredibly helpful to me. I choose my exterior colors this way, my roof color, bed placement, plants groupings, hardscapes, and so on.
So while such novice timewasting might be useless to someone trained in the art of landscape design it can be incredibly useful to someone who is not. I know what I like but can't always call it right up- I need to finagle things on paper/screen before I commit.
If we want to play with it what's the harm? Some of us enjoy the process of learning what works and what doesn't work and while of course not every eventual problem will show up on a simple program, some things do work this way.
I don't want to hire someone to make decisions for me, and them bam do an installation and it's done. I want to continue to work the area and improve it in a way that pleases me and satisfies my own needs while at the same time providing me a fun hobby. I want it to look great, too, but I want it to be my creation.

I'm way off course and apologize for butting in.
But I still say it's fun to play around with the programs available even if they aren't 100% accurate or fluent in teaching design.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:46AM
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Wouldn't the program (hopefully) have been written by someone with similar skills to the person you don't want to hire to make decisions for you? Except I don't remember that being a designers brief. Consider the alternatives: there is the one size fits all computer software that you can play with until something clicks or until your heart is content, you can combine peony with pine or blue spruce with green spruce upside your yellow house. Cost? I dunno $35 and worth every penny. But then for a few dollars more imagine a guy with a nice leather belt holding up his trousers whose mother was born in England coming out. You talk, he sketches you have a nice afternoon and are still free to finagle things before you commit.

What am I saying? It is sure fun playing around with planting stuff to see what happens and how blue Geranium 'Brookside' actually is and watching this process beats any amount of computer diddling.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 6:25PM
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I don't think anyone said the programs are worthless. I don't think that at all.

All that I wrote was an explanation of why the available programs might not do what the OP is hoping they will do. Many people think that the programs help with accurate layout that goes with the photo. They are great for seeing how color, texture, and proportions look in combination. They are not so good with converting that to accurate layout or getting accurate images from a layout.

I don't know what the OP expects from the software. It might be fine, but (s)he might like to know what it does and does not do in order to make that decision. I'd feel better about that than to have the OP spend money on something not wanted.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 8:58PM
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Well, heck- a box of crayons is $3 and I can print out photos of my property for free.
And yes.... I have done this, too :)

All I know is that before I began all my on paper and on screen doodling I had plants that had been moved I kid you not 10 times because I had no clear plan. I learned a lot with my first house and I learned it the hot dirty way slinging a shovel. My new house saw me settled into a chair with a tall cool drink making sketches for months before I dug the first hole and I can count on one hand the number of plants I have had to relocate.

Sorry for crabbin' at y'all!
I get your point.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 11:27AM
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hald(Sunset 8)

I'm with cearbhaill and wonder if anyone ever found some suitable software? I'll look at Showoff. I've already spent thousands on a small area of my front yard, 16.5' x 40', but am having a heck of a time visualizing ground covers and would like to find a program as described in the first post.
Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 3:06AM
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Take a look at the extensive additions to First of all, it is an online application; no down load is required and it is still FREE. is now a complete Home Design Studio for all Home Improvement and Landscaping projects for homeowners.
We have developed Visualizer Apps for users to upload a picture of their home our yard and visualize, have fun experimenting and custom designing home and landscape projects. Homeowners can easily test out their ideas on pictures of their own home, or a model home, and virtually see a home or landscape renovated with their choice of paint colors on walls, or a new roof, siding and landscaping before the work begins.
Visualizers are available for Paint, Roofing, Landscaping, Doors & Windows, Outdoor Living, Siding, Home Accessories and Outdoor Lighting using products from the Showcase of Products. In addition, an Inspiration Gallery includes pictures of completed projects to provide ideas for projects. More products are being added to the Showcase and Inspirational Gallery, almost daily, which users can browse without registering. remains free because the website is sustained by businesses in the Home and Garden industry with Visualizer Apps on their website and the leads it generates. Manufacturers, suppliers and contractors services are presented virtually, at the time homeowners are planning projects.
PC Magazine choose as one of the top free software applications in both 2010 and 2011 before it became the site it is today.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Design Studio

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:01PM
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eljefe11 does much of what you asked. It's just under development, however, and so not many plants or trees yet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Landscape My Photo

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 5:48PM
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