Plant database files

Every landscape designer creates specific species lists for their various projects. Species on the lists are chosen for their ability to grow well at the site in question and possess features that will enhance the design. It is often difficult to keep this information together so gCADPlus helps designers build these lists to aid in the generation of a plant schedule.

Specific plant lists

Lists are part of a landscape designer’s intellectual property and usually drawn from books and personal experience gained over many years. Designers keep lists in many different forms – from lists on paper, Excel spreadsheets, to sophisticated online databases. gCADPlus allows designers to create and attach an electronic list with each CAD drawing.

Several lists are provided as part of gCADPlus and a number have been provided by our users. These lists can act as a plant data file and assist greatly in plant selection and can be used over many different drawings if required. The gCADPlus lists are simple text files with the extension .gcp. One in particular is called gardencad.gcp and has more than 500 entries. It’s likely to cover the needs of many landscape designers.

Attach a list to a design

The first step in generating a plant schedule is to attach a plant database file to the drawing. The figure below shows a typical plant database file ‘floating’ above the drawing in its own window.

Note the column order: Botanical Name, Common Name, Type, Code. If the window is stretched, PotSize, Cost and Custom area also available.

Tip: While the names of the columns can be changed, the order must stay the same. If not, the automated plant schedule and labelling tools in gCADPlus will not work properly. You can add extra columns e.g. Height, Width etc.but these msut be added to the end of the table.

As mentioned, these plant data file are simple text lists and have the extension .gcp. The list can be short list suited to one site only, or a much longer list containing all the designer’s favorite plant species. When first loaded, the database file is sorted on alphabetical plant name in the fist column, but you can for example sort on Type just by clicking at the top of a column.

Spellcheck inside a plant list

Note the red underlining in species names in the list above indicating potential mis-spelling of the botanical name.

If gCADPlus sees a word in your plant list that it does not hold in its dictionary (or suspects that it is mis-spelled), the word is highlighted in red. Once you are sure that the highlighted botanical name is correct, add the word to the gCADPlus dictionary, simply hover over the underlined word, right click and select ‘add word’.

Tip: If you have chosen a word with special characters like quote marks, remove those before adding the word to the dictionary.

We cannot over emphasize the value of learning to use the plant list effectively. Some designers have comprehensive lists of several hundred species with information on text code, pot size, flowering time, flower color landscape use etc. That enables them (with the aid of the sort facility) to find a species for a particular use in a landscape plan.

Companion tools

We have developed a plant database system in addition to the in-built gCADPlus system.