Landscape design apps are tools that help homeowners and professional landscapers plan outdoor spaces. Some include advanced features like AR visualization. And others simply help you place plants and create garden layouts. This post is a definitive guide to landscape design software for companies and designers.
What is a Landscape Design App?
A landscape design app is a type of software that helps landscapers, designers, and homeowners visualize new landscape layouts. They allow you to add new plants, water features, and hardscapes so you can see them all together and create a plan for actually creating new designs.
The Benefits of Landscape Design Apps
- Visualizing Before Implementation: One of the key advantages of landscape design apps is the ability to visualize your garden or landscape before actual implementation. This means no more guesswork; you get to see exactly how each feature (be it plants, water features, or hardscapes) will look in the intended space, ensuring client satisfaction and reducing the risk of costly errors.
- Interactive AR Experience: Just like AR visualization, many landscape design apps utilize Augmented Reality to superimpose your desired landscaping elements onto the real-world view of your space. This provides a more immersive and interactive experience, making design choices feel tangible and realistic.
- Customization and Flexibility: Every space and client is unique. Landscape design apps allow you to tailor designs according to specific client requirements or environmental factors, from plant placement to deciding the flow of water features. This personal touch elevates the client’s experience and meets their expectations precisely.
- Cost-Efficiency: Starting a landscape project without a clear vision can be a financial drain due to repeated alterations and reworks. By using a landscape design app, you can significantly cut down on unexpected costs. The ability to experiment virtually helps finalize a design that aligns with both aesthetic goals and budget constraints.
- Streamlined Client Communication: Communication is vital for any design project. Landscape design apps enable a seamless sharing process, allowing clients to review, suggest edits, or approve designs in real-time. This collaborative approach ensures transparency, faster approval times, and overall smoother project progression.
Our Methodology: The Best Landscape Design Apps
In the realm of landscaping, where visualization is key to crafting the perfect design, landscape design apps have emerged as indispensable tools for both professionals and hobbyists.
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These apps help in conceptualizing, planning, and executing beautiful outdoor spaces. When evaluating the best landscape design apps, we considered several factors crucial to fulfilling the diverse needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs in the landscaping field.
Here are the criteria we based our selections on, each ranked on a scale of 1 (least critical) to 5 (most critical):
User Interface and Experience (5/5)
The app must offer a clean, intuitive interface, making it easy for users to navigate through features, design spaces, and visualize the end results. Clunky or overly complex interfaces can hinder the creative process.
Feature Richness (5/5)
We look for apps providing a comprehensive set of tools that cater to various landscaping needs, such as 2D/3D visuals, plant identifiers, climate zone information, and virtual garden planners.
Realism and Visual Quality (5/5)
The ability of the app to produce high-quality, realistic visuals is paramount. Detailed and authentic representations help in better conceptualizing the finished landscape and can be impressive in client presentations.
Plant and Materials Database (4/5)
A rich library of plants, materials, and decor is essential. The app should offer detailed information about a wide variety of plant species and landscaping materials, assisting in informed decision-making.
The app should allow for high customizability, offering users the freedom to experiment with different layouts, plants, and landscaping materials to match their specific vision and style preferences.
Project Sharing and Collaboration (3/5)
Features that allow for easy sharing of project ideas and collaboration are vital, especially for professionals working with teams or clients. This can include cloud-based collaboration, multi-user editing, or simple project sharing options.
Learning Resources (2/5)
For beginners or those looking to expand their knowledge, apps that provide learning resources, tutorials, or guidance can add significant value, fostering skill development within the landscaping community.
Device Compatibility (4/5)
The app should be compatible with various devices (smartphones, tablets, computers) and operating systems, ensuring a versatile and flexible design experience regardless of your tech setup.
Pricing and Value (5/5)
We evaluate the cost of the app (if not free) against the features and tools it provides. The app should offer excellent value for money, particularly for professionals considering it as an investment towards their business.
User Reviews and Community Feedback (5/5)
Positive feedback from the app’s user community and high ratings in app stores indicate satisfaction with the app’s performance, reliability, and output quality.
By carefully considering these aspects, we curate a list of landscape design apps that combine functionality, aesthetic freedom, and professional-grade features. These criteria ensure that the apps we recommend can assist in bringing creative visions to life efficiently and beautifully.
Best Free Landscape Design Software for Designers and Companies
Starting a landscaping business from scratch is not easy. And if you run a landscaping or design company, you need the right tools to provide customized designs for your clients. There are tons of landscape design apps with various features and capabilities. Some are completely free, and others come with potential fees. But all of the tools listed below are at least free to download. Read on for a full list of landscape design software options to take your business to the next level.
Compatible with: iOS 12.2 or later, MacOS 11.0 or later
iScape is a landscape design software specifically for Apple Products. It’s optimized for iPad, but can be downloaded on iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac devices as well. It’s available for both homeowners and professionals. So it’s meant to be easy to use. It also provides realistic visualization tools to help you see what each design will actually look like once it’s completed. Then you can share designs or even collaborate with other users.
The basic version is free for homeowners and hobbyists. There’s also a premium version available for $29.99 per month that includes features like 3D AR designs and proposal tools.
Compatible with: Android and iOS devices
Planter specializes in optimizing growth conditions for various garden plants. You can create a grid with your landscape dimensions and add more than 50 preloaded plants or create custom additions. The app includes information about companion plants, frost zones, and spacing. It’s ideal for planning vegetable gardens, with less features for those interested in flowers and hardscapes.
The app is free to download and has in-app purchases. It’s designed for consumers. So it’s easy to use. But it doesn’t include many of the advanced design features of other software programs.
3. PRO Landscape Home
Compatible with: Windows desktop app, can be used on Mac using Parallels Desktop; companion apps available for Android and iOS tablets.
PRO Landscape is a computer design software for landscape architects. It includes realistic photo imaging and CAD designs so you can see proposed ideas right on your screen. It’s also a licensed program, so you can run it on multiple devices or include multiple users in each project. The companion apps for tablets include tools for providing estimates and collecting payments on-site.
The companion apps are free to download. But the desktop version is $1,245. It comes with 24/7 support. And free demos are available as well.
Compatible with: Web-based software
SketchUp is a free 3D modeling software. It’s not specific to landscape design. But it is useful for placing objects in a space. So landscape designers could use it to render plants, patios, benches, and water features.
It’s a web-based software, so it’s accessible to just about anyone. And it even includes cloud storage and sharing, perfect for those who need to send design ideas to clients. The free version is meant for small projects. But there are also paid options starting at $119 per month.
5. Microsoft Pix Camera
Compatible with: iOS
Microsoft Pix Camera looks like a simple photo capture app. But it allows you to take full panoramic shots of a yard. Then it includes Photosynth technology that you can use to add extra features to the images, giving you a realistic view of what the new design may look like.
It doesn’t include some of the advanced features of other software programs. But it is totally free and allows you to render new designs over an actual image of the yard.
Compatible with: iOS, Android, Amazon
Houzz is a mobile home design and remodeling app. You can upload photos and then add popular products to see how they may look in the space. It’s designed for interiors, but also works for garden spaces. It’s also meant for consumers, so it’s user-friendly but doesn’t have many advanced design features.
Compatible with: iOS and Android
LawnStarter is a mobile app for both homeowners and landscaping professionals. It’s not really a design app. But you can use it to connect with customers for jobs. It has a booking feature and lets you set prices and create schedules. Basically, you can use it along with the design apps on the list. Simply market your services and make appointments, then use the other apps to showcase your designs.
Best Paid Landscape Design App for Companies and Designers
The above apps are at least free to download, though many do come with additional costs. The following ones charge for downloads. But some at least offer free trials so you can see what you’re getting before paying. Here are some top landscape design tools for those interested in paid products.
8. Garden Planner
Compatible with: PC, Mac, iPad, and web
Garden Planner is a software program from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It includes the ability to draw out garden beds, add plants, and move things around to create ideal layouts. It’s adaptable for various gardening styles. So it works for those with large gardens as well as those with small containers or raised beds. However, it’s more about the plants than it is about the design elements or visualization.
Garden Planner Pricing
You just need an annual subscription to access this tool. It costs $29 per year if you allow it to renew automatically, or $40 per year otherwise, or $70 for a 2-year subscription. There’s also a 7-day free trial available.
9. Uvision 3D Landscape Creator
Compatible with: Windows PCs
Unilock’s Uvision 3D Landscape Creator is a software specifically for landscaping professionals. It includes a full library of pavers, walls, hardscapes, and plants that you can move around to create ideal layouts. Then you can use it to calculate prices and share designs with clients.
Uvision 3D Landscape Creator Pricing
This software is a one-time purchase of $379.95. Or if you have the 2018 version, it’s just $179.95. A free trial is also available.
10. Garden Designer
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Garden Designer offers a variety of plants and other design elements all within a drag and drop interface. The software offers both 2D and 3D renderings of designs. You can use it for everything from planning a small garden to seeing what a space might look like with a deck or patio.
Garden Designer Pricing
The software is a one-time purchase of $38. And the mobile app is just $3.49 to buy.
11. Home Design 3D Outdoor and Garden
Compatible with: Mac, iOS, and Android
Home Design 3D is a rendering tool for home designers. And the company offers an outdoor version that you can use to plan gardens and outdoor spaces like patios. You can add various products and design elements, then view and share realistic 3D versions of your designs.
Home Design 3D Outdoor and Garden Pricing
There is a freemium version with limited objects available and in-app purchases. The paid versions range from $6.99 to $19.99 and include upgrades like AR designs and the ability to import and export projects.
12. Landscaper’s Companion Plant and Gardening Guide
Compatible with: iOS and Android
From Farms.com, Landscaper’s Companion Plant and Gardening Guide is basically a reference tool for integrating the right plants into your landscape designs. It tells you how much light and spacing plants need, along with other factors like watering and weather conditions. It also has pictures so you can visualize various plants in your designs.
Landscaper’s Companion Pricing
The apps cost $9.99 to download, with additional in-app purchases available.
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VizTerra offers an intuitive design interface that lets you draw landscaping elements in 2D. Then the visualizing tool allows you to see what they would look like in a 3D environment. There’s also an extensive library of products and design elements that you can drag and drop on your images.
The base version is $97 per user per month and includes features for designing decks and other outdoor spaces. There’s also a $149 version for pool designers, and $197 version for luxury landscape designers.
14. Lands Design
Compatible with: Windows, Rhino 6 & 7, AutoCAD
You can use Lands Design to create 2D models, 3D renders, photorealistic rendering, and even videos. It uses AutoCAD features and BIM technology to provide realistic designs you can proudly present to clients. But some design knowledge is necessary to make the most of these tools.
Lands Design Pricing
A commercial license for Lands Design is $795. You can also purchase it with Rhino for $1695. And there’s a 90-day free trial available.
15. Home Outside
Compatible with: Web, desktop, iOS
Home Outside offers a design planning tool that’s easy to use. You can drag and drop design elements and choose new ones from a gallery instead of drawing from scratch. You can also choose photo backgrounds and measure the land to make sure each item is scaled properly.
Home Outside Pricing
The iOS app is just $2.99 to download. The company also offers landscape and garden design sessions for $99 each. But those are geared toward homeowners.
Landscape Design Apps Comparison
|App Name||Compatible With||Main Features||Price|
|iScape||iOS 12.2+, MacOS 11.0+||Landscape design for Apple Products||Free (basic), $29.99/month (premium)|
|Planter||Android, iOS||Garden plants optimizer||Free with in-app purchases|
|PRO Landscape Home||Windows, Android/iOS tablets (Mac with Parallels Desktop)||Realistic photo imaging, CAD designs||Tablet apps free, Desktop $1,245|
|SketchUp||Web-based||3D modeling||Free (basic), from $119/month|
|Microsoft Pix Camera||iOS||Panoramic shots, Photosynth tech||Free|
|Houzz||iOS, Android, Amazon||Home design and remodeling||Free|
|LawnStarter||iOS, Android||Connects homeowners & landscaping professionals||Free|
|Garden Planner||PC, Mac, iPad, Web||Garden bed design||$29-$40/year, $70/2 years|
|Uvision 3D Landscape Creator||Windows PCs||3D Landscape design||$379.95 (one-time)|
|Garden Designer||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android||2D and 3D garden design||Software $38, Mobile app $3.49|
|Home Design 3D Outdoor & Garden||Mac, iOS, Android||Outdoor space design||$6.99 to $19.99|
|Landscaper's Companion||iOS, Android||Plant reference tool||$9.99 + in-app purchases|
|VizTerra||2D to 3D landscaping||From $97/user/month|
|Lands Design||Windows, Rhino 6 & 7, AutoCAD||2D/3D/Photorealistic rendering & videos||$795 or $1695 with Rhino|
|Home Outside||Web, Desktop, iOS||Easy design planning with drag & drop||iOS app $2.99, Design sessions $99|
Finding a Backyard Landscape Design App
There are plenty of premium and free landscape design apps available for users of various skillsets. Some top options include iScape, PRO Landscape Home, and Home Outside. To find the design tool that’s best for your needs, compare feature lists for the options that are available on your devices. You might also consider a free trial or demo to see it in action.
What is the best app for landscape design?
The best app for landscape design depends on your needs and budget. If you’re looking for a free app for iOS, iScape is probably your best choice. If you need a professional software, Lands Design has more design features. SketchUp is ideal for those that want to create 3D designs beyond landscapes. PRO Landscape Home is one of the most versatile tools that’s available on multiple platforms.
What is the best free app for landscape design?
iScape is one of the best free landscape design apps available, but it’s only available for iOS. Planter is best for those who just want to learn more about gardening. PRO Landscape Home offers a wide array of features and is available on multiple devices and operating systems.
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