Landscape Design Software
GardenCAD (aka Garden CAD) is a powerful, easy-to-use, entry level landscape design software tool for landscapers developed by Design Cad.
The figure below shows a garden design plan created using GardenCAD. Many professionally drawn symbols are included.
Uses layers, AutoCAD compatible commands, plant database files with hundreds of records included, utilize templates for ease of use, re-use past jobs, print PDF and cut costs, comprehensive suite of professionally drawn plant symbols, easily add your own symbols.
Click here to download a free booklet about using CAD for landscape design.
Design Cad is a group of software developers who have created a range of tools for professional landscape designers. Although each of these tools can be downloaded free of charge and we do charge a fee when you want to use them. However, we are aware that many designers have a limited budget and are looking for professional, but free, software tools apart from GardenCAD. To that end, we have listed some of these ‘free’ tools below.
SketchUp is 3D CAD modeling software published by a company called Trimble. There are commercial and free versions of SketchUp. The desktop standalone free version was called SketchUp Make and was used by many designers to build 3D landscape models. Unfortunately it is no longer available however SketchUp now available as a free, web-based 3D modelling tool to help visualize your landscape design ideas.
SketchUp Pro is the desktop version of the tool; it’s more powerful, customizable and shareable. The non-expiring license costs $695, but there is a free version you can trial. It begins with a 30-day trial of SketchUp Pro.
We suggest that you get the free version, or use a free trial and play around with it. It just takes time and practice to master the program. There are tons of videos and online resources that you can use to learn and help yourself!
Here is a link to a series of tutorial movies that illustrate the use of SketchUp to produce landscape models.
Kerkythea is a free, open-source rendering software that provides a full staging application for users to render architectural models and illustrations. It was developed as a powerful plug-in for SketchUp. Kerkythea can be used by both architectural professionals and educational institutes, as users do not need to spend any money on software licensing. Here is one of our SketchUp models rendered using Kerkythea.
Lands Design is a landscape design plugin for CAD software called Rhino. So you need a copy of Rhino in order to run it. Like SketchUp, the software can create realistic 3D images and virtual tours, but is is complex CAD software with a steep learning curve. A free version is available, but it is time limited. As can be seem from the features list below, Lands Design has many modules that add to its functionality for landscape designers.
Garden planner is a garden and landscape design tool. You can arrange trees, plants, flowers, and other objects. It has a library of over 1200 plant and object symbols. It is simple and straightforward to use.
An extensive collection of plant and object symbols.
A drag and drop interface which makes it very easy to use.
You can create plans, design, and images that produce high-quality print output.
You can create your own library of custom plants.
You can generate a report of all the objects in your garden.
Garden Planner web site.
Difference Between Free and Paid Version
Run all the features in the trial version for 15 days. After the trial version, print outs and exported images will have a watermark on them.
Download does not require your contact details. Quite a large setup file > 150Mb.
DreamPlan Home Design
DreamPlan is a design software where you can create a plan with a realistic 3D model. NCH Software published the software. The software is for home and floor plan, landscape, and garden design, interior and room design. DreamPlan is also great for remodelling, additions and redesigning.
- You can place trees and shrubs into garden beds and lawn areas.
- You can reshape the terrain of outdoor landscaping areas.
- You can create an outdoor swimming pool.
- You can switch between 2D, 3D, and blueprint view modules for home and floor planning.
- You can use Trace Mode to import a scanned image file of your floor plans and turn it into an interactive 3D model.
A free version is available for non-commercial use. The cost of DreamPlan Home Designer for commercial use is $40. The software has a version for Windows and Mac OS X.
Download it Here.
Showoff.com The Visualizer
Showoff.com is a combination of a real estate MLS marketplace and blog that’s equipped with design tips and layouts. The site offers an online service called the Visualizer that helps you design your dream house and garden, and then offer that design up to the Showoff.com community for tips and consultation. The Visualizer is a free software application that can be installed on Windows operating systems.
- Free via this download link.
The Showoff.com Visualizer is a free software application with a variety of elements and objects to help you form your ideas into a plan.
- It allows you to use a camera to search for your photo automatically.
- It has a catalogue of images with seven categories, including decks, outdoor furniture, landscape plants, and patio garden.
- It has a landscape plants gallery with over 2000 choices of annuals, perennials, trees, hedges, edibles, and other plant types.
- You can add patio furniture and other non-plant elements.
You can download the free program here. The program is compatible with WinXP, WinVistax64, WinVista, Win7 x64, Win7 x32, and WinOther.
The iScape app is excellent for users who are looking to collaborate with designers. iScape App features a community of designers and industry partners. It makes it easy for you to create a plan and build your landscape project from start to finish.
- Easy-to-use design tools
- You can easily share your project with a friend or a landscape designer.
- It also allows you to buy and order products based on your iScape designs.
- There is an active community of iScape users who are designers and industry partners.
Difference Between Free and Paid Versions
The iScape Pro allows you to create a business profile and become a Certified iScape Designer. You can connect with new prospects and clients to provide landscape design services. Signing up for the pro version will provide with you several tools and features. Unlimited access to thousands of plants, trees, and hardscape images. If you don’t see the object you need, you may upload custom images.
Gardena MyGarden is an online free garden planner. Gardena is a company based in Germany, and they are known for their complete range of products offering high-quality garden tools in Europe and more than 80 countries all over the world.
With the online planner, users can draw and create their garden plan and integrate an irrigation system. They have a set of examples from a small, medium, and extensive gardens. You can select your preferred garden example and start editing.
- You can start creating or editing a project without signing up for an account.
- You can plan the irrigation with their built-in sprinkler system online planner.
- You can input the exact dimension of your property.
- Add specific features like house, flowerbeds, paths, and garage.
MyGarden tool is only available as a web application. Check out their garden tool application by visiting this link.
Idea Spectrum publishes RealTime Landscaping software. It’s an award-winning landscape design software for homeowners and professional designers. With RealTime Pro, you can design a landscape in full 3D model.
- Lets you create movie presentations for a powerful effect.
- It has 5,300 specific plant elements such as trees, shrubs, flowers, cacti, palms, and many more. It has the common and botanical name, planting and climate zone, and plant sizes.
- It has a “House Wizard“ option to create a new house or use a template. It can be a single or multi-story house to enhance your landscape design.
- It has a vast selection of landscape lights. Use Realtime walkthrough feature for a night simulation with realistic lighting and shadows.
- You can use the Plant Growth tool to predict the size of the plants from 3 months to more than 20 years. This tool will guide you on the spacing and size considerations.
- You can design patios, landscape pathways, fences, and driveways by drawing their outline or shape.
- If you have a custom paver and could not find the material in the library, you can import a photo.
- It provides a quick cost estimate using the integrated project material list. Enter the prices for the landscaping objects and print the result or export as an excel file. It will automatically update when you edit or make changes in your landscape design.
There are three versions for RealTime Landscaping. Download a free trial of RealTime Landscaping Architect here.
Plan a garden
Better Homes & Gardens produced Plan-a-garden online web app. It is a design and planning tool, that is free to use by homeowners and DIY home designers. Before designing your landscape, the app will let you choose the scenery. Are you going to create an entryway? A front porch? A back patio? A backyard pond?
Select a type of house and hardscaping elements, like fences, ceramic pots, gazebos. You can even add a basketball hoop to spruce up the landscape design project.
- A database of 150 plant elements, including shrubs, flowers, and trees.
- You can add hardscapes such as buildings, sheds, fences, and decks.
- Drag and drop feature.
PRO Landscape Home
PRO Landscape design software provides architects with the photo imaging, CAD, 3D rendering, and customer proposal drafting tools that fulfill the requirements for landscape design projects. PRO Landscape Home is the “lite,” non-commercial version of PRO Landscape, designed for homeowners. PRO Landscape Home is a mobile application that can be used on all Apple, Android and Amazon devices. While PRO Landscape Companion App is a free app, it’s only free for those who already purchased the professional landscape design software. PRO Landscape Home, on the other hand, offers almost the same features as the professional version, except the ability to edit hardscapes, create customer proposals and create 3D files.
- PRO Landscape Home is the free, “lite” version of PRO Landscape.
- The Companion App is free to download for both iOS and Android. However, it’s only free for those who have already downloaded PRO Landscape.
Product Name: Designor Buddy
Designor Buddy is free, open-source landscape designing software. It is built on top of the OpenOffice Draw program and provides the ability to integrate landscape images into 2D drawings. OpenOffice Draw is one of Apache’s OpenOffice modules, which enables the production of simple diagrams and dynamic 3D illustrations.
- Free to download
- The ability to scale
- Layers (similar to PhotoShop)
- Library of plants, hardscapes and materials