Landscape design for dummies or computer challenged

pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)November 8, 2010

I've always wanted to buy a landscaping design software pkg. but I'm really very computer challenged. How can I find out what software is available for people like me? What features it has, what it can do for me? I'd like to be able to select a plant and "plant" it so I can see how it would look with the plants around it..color coded, height, texture,etc. I have never been able to draw a design using graph paper. I just have never understood how to do it..I'm 68 and it's kind of hard to teach an old dog new tricks!

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Hi pippi21. I don't know of any landscaping software package. I just make my own image but not exactly how the plants look like. However, I try to put the colors in the image I'm drawing in the computer just to be able to help me plan. While I am laying it out, I close my eyes and visualize the area what I am planning to plant. I am able to put plants in my imagination this way.

The graph paper is really easy. You can assign a 3x3 or 5x5 squares on the graphing paper to a 10x10 ft area. First, you'll have to measure your land. Here is an example. Let say, the backyard is 50ft x 30ft. It's up to you to decide how many squares you want to match the length. In this example, I used 5 squares to equal 10 ft in real life. It doesn't have to be 5. You can use 3, 7, 10, it's upto you. This will help you scale your land down on a piece of paper. You will then be able to draw on paper such as beds, plants, etc. It doesn't have to be in computer. :)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 11:52PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I do something similar to v1rtu0s1ty, in Microsoft Paint (if you have Windows, you'll find Paint in Programs -- Accessories). Paint is just like using graph paper except you can have lots of colors and everything erases -- and you can clone a plan, change it, enlarge it, etc. I also print out the plans, draw changes on the print-outs, then put those final changes in the computer.

The way my brain works, I only use the plans to figure out what fits where, and also to keep track of where things are, like where in the front lawn I planted crocus bulbs or how far the shade tree canopies extend).

I haven't tried to photograph the front of the house, then alter the photograph in Paint: for instance, draw green blobs on the front of the house to see what the new shrubs will look like. When I want to imagine what something will look like, I stand in the yard and stare at the area in question and try to picture in my mind the proposed change. I do a lot of standing in the yard and staring. (Part of my function in life is to keep the neighbors entertained. "What is that crazy woman doing now?").

Paint.Net is a similar program, and supposedly better; it's free. I've forgotten why I don't use it (probably my OS is too old; I need a new computer).

For past discussions of landscape design software, go to the Landscape Design forum page and search "software" at the bottom of the page.

Here's a thread where pls8xx discusses how to go about making a landscape plan:

He uses Microsoft's Paint. The symbols he uses for plants and objects look like things he's created himself, but you can also use graphic elements from picture you scan, photograph, or copy from the Internet. (Store the pictures in My Pictures [or whatever the newer versions of Windows call it], then open them in Paint.)

These are some links I have; I'm not sure if you'd find them helpful or not. Some are software and others may be sample garden plans. They're free, but most require registration.

Lowe's used to have a similar planning page on their website, but my link doesn't work, and if the page still exists, I can't locate it.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 2:23AM
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I also don't think that software program is necessary.All you need to do is just to walk around your project and the good ideas how it to be designed will come :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 11:28AM
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