• Melanie Walker

Using Software to Design Landscapes

Using software to design landscapes – Real Time landscape Design is the one we use also include AUTOCAD.

Plan Before you Plant

Not everything about landscaping or garden design is about playing with plants. There’s a whole lot of planning that needs to go into the design and implementation before you even touch some soil. How would you like to be able to do it without even leaving your chair? (Although of course, we gardeners just love to play in the dirt! Yeah, at the moment baby, it’s cold outside! Or you may be in a rainy period, so traipsing through mud leaves a lot to be desired.) Well, it can be done. Landscaping software has been brought onto the market which allows you to create a landscape and watch it grow without leaving your chair, much less having to pick up a shovel and dig the holes.

Sure, there are many different landscape-design software programmes available these days which offer a wide range of options to help you trade your pencil and graph paper for a mouse and computer screen. So which one to use? And where to start?

If you want to make your life easier when it comes to ‘getting a plan on paper’, whether you’re giving a property a complete make-over, or creating a new area, or just doing a bit of a nip’n’tuck facelift to an existing space, getting all the elements right in the first place is your first point of call. And if you’re not all that confident about your artistic skills – like me (not all of us are artistic y’know) - why not indulge in a little bit of help. After all, do you really want to keep redrawing plans when changes occur? Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t still need to measure and inventory the property, as well as decide what you want to accomplish. But knowing where to turn for information and inspiration will help get you started.

Yeah, the boffins at Lifestyle College who understand how the programmes like Real Time Landscape Design and AUTOCAD work have put together a course that will teach you how to upskill your design talents, creating top-notch presentations for clients. A utility where you can see your landscape design ideas come to life. And of course, make it easier for your client to visualise your vision in 3D. All too often, people who you’re presenting to don’t have the ability to ‘see’ what you’re seeing – after all, we’ve trained ourselves to imagine what a space will look like when it’s finished and the plants have all grown in. Whoever said that designing in four dimensions would be easy?!

But at least getting it right in three dimensions is! CAD software has so many advantages - the software gives a visual impression of how planting design will combine with the design of paving, steps, walls and other hardscaping; it can also help to convert on-site measurements into a plan; and will definitely help to visualise the changes of level which play such an important part in a successful design.

Yes, there are many online solutions available, which sometimes come with video tutorials for common gardening jobs. But if the software is too complicated to install and use, you’ll probably give up on it! So learn to do it right, first time, every time – and make virtual plans on a computer – have the flexibility to change your mind over and over again, without digging a single hole! Put away your pencil and graph paper – there’s an easy-to-use and easy-on-the-wallet way of creating the best gosh-darned plan for your clients – and it will make planning a new backyard a cinch. Lifestyle College will definitely give you all the tools – just not the spade and secateurs though! – to convince you not to throw in the trowel...

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