PROS / The plant encyclopedia is truly impressive, with more than 7,500 entries.
CONS / It's not as easy to use as other programs on our lineup, and you have to pay for phone support.
VERDICT / There is a learning curve with this software, but it is an excellent product overall, especially if you are looking for a wide variety of ideas for plants.
Editor's note: Version 5.0 of HGTV Ultimate Home Design is now available. We will evaluate, rank and review the new version of this product when we next update the Landscaping Software reviews.
HGTV Ultimate Home Design with Landscaping and Decks is on our list of the best backyard design software options because of its wide selection of plants – over 7,500 – as well as its realistic graphics and user-friendly interface. The HGTV establishment is a go-to resource for many when they contemplate home improvement. The cable network's brand of 3D landscape software makes it fun to configure your dream floor plan and yard.
Even though this software puts a lot of emphasis on floor planning, there is a decent amount of help for exterior spaces as well. It can be difficult to picture your front and backyard designs without the help of quality software, and HGTV Ultimate Home Design can help with that by allowing you to see your ideas come to life in 3D views.
The library of objects that can help bring your plans to life with this software is great. You will find fountains, waterfalls, play equipment, outdoor furniture and more that you can place wherever you like. The plant encyclopedia also is a big help, offering both quantity and quality. The wide selection of plants is accompanied by loads of information about light, soil and water requirements for each one. You can see how the plans will look over time, in different seasons and in your yard. There are also tools for planning the practical, less showy aspects of your yard – sprinkling systems, lighting, topography, fencing and more.
You can import photos of your own home and then design your dream yard around it in both 2D and 3D so you get a really good idea of how your yard will look when everything is in place. You can even view it in walkthrough mode to get a feel of actually being in your future landscape.
A few things would make this software even easier to use, such as redo and undo buttons within easy reach, but overall, it is easy to find your way around HGTV Ultimate Home Design. Customer support options also are good but not great. There is phone support, but you have to pay for it.
There are stronger competitors for customer support and user-friendliness, but HGTV Ultimate Home Design with Landscaping and Decks is still very competitive in the field of home landscaping software. You can import photos of your existing home or design your dream home from scratch and fill in your perfect yard around it. This software makes landscaping fun to do.