Not everyone is able to envision a finished landscape while looking at the bare ground. Landscape design software helps visualize arrangements of plants and fixed features to create the desired end result. Used in combination with good references books about plants adapted to a region, a landscaper will make better decisions and be more pleased with the result than landscaping through a haphazard purchase and planting process.
Getting Started With Landscape Design
Professional landscape designers use eight basic principles to guide their designs— unity, simplicity, balance, color, natural transition, line, proportion, and repetition. The landscape design includes more than plants; it also includes fountains and ponds, statues and sculptures, and paths. So the options available for the final look of a home landscape are almost infinite.
Before beginning a home landscape design, visit local botanical gardens, show homes, and upscale neighborhoods to generate landscape ideas. Consider the common characteristics of appealing landscapes and make note of the plants and complementary features used. The Landscape Design Advisor offers information and example pictures of 11 general styles including Tuscan, formal, informal, desert, xeriscape and Asian.
Think about the care and maintenance required by plants being considered. Some landscapes look great because the owners spend hours pruning, mulching, and pampering their plants. Plants that are not adapted to the region in which they are growing may require a lot of extra water and soil amendments to survive. In the long run, an informed decision before planting will lead to a better outcome.
Using Landscape Design Software
There are many software solutions to help design a landscape. These software packages range in price from free to computer-aided-design programs that cost several hundred dollars. The landscape design programs vary significantly in terms of capabilities and ease of use. Here are some software features that many people have found useful in creating a landscape design for their home:
- The ability to use a photograph of the home rather than just a line drawing of a generic house.
- A large database of plants
- 3-dimensional views of the landscape
- A night view of plants with landscape lighting
- Editable graphic objects such as paths and water fountains
- Adding fixed features such as fences, hot tubs, decks, and patios
- Editable templates to begin the design
- A training CD or on-line tool tutorials
Planning a home landscape that will be pleasing for years to come and can be accomplished within one’s budget, time available, and gardening capability requires a commitment of time for planning. Landscape design software can help.