PROS / This landscape software offers excellent home design software in addition to landscape software.
CONS / There are only a few samples for beginners to explore.
VERDICT / If you are just looking for landscaping help this may be more than you need, but it is perfect for envisioning your dream home.
Editor's note: A newer version of this product is available. We will evaluate, rank and review the new version of this product when we next update the Landscaping Software reviews.
Home Designer Suite from Chief Architect, our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner, offers a plethora of quality tools for creating your ideal home, inside and out. This product may be a little more than you want if you already live in your dream house and just want to dress it up with some nice home landscaping, especially since there is less expensive software specifically for exteriors only, but this is an especially nice choice if you want to design your next home and its surrounding yard.
Features & Tools
Home landscaping is not a matter of one size fits all, so we like all of the tools for personalization that come with Home Designer Suite. The plant library is respectably large – with over 3,600 flowers, trees and shrubs that will thrive in various climates – so you can find just the right greenery to complete the look of your design. Also, you can truly recreate the topography of your specific yard. There are buttons for making raised regions, lowered regions, retaining walls, curbs and more. A fencing tool helps you establish the perimeter around your yard, whether curved or straight in different sections.
This software fully embraces the important trend of outdoor kitchens. You will be able to browse a wide selection of 3D furnishings and appliances that you can add to your layout to create a space for entertaining outdoors. That space can also be populated with pools, pathways and water features.
There is not quite the selection of patio, garden and other landscape samples we were hoping to see, but there are sample galleries on the Chief Architect website that you can download, though there are not too many for landscapes specifically. Since this software is relatively easy to use, it will not take too much time to create your own gardens or patios without a pre-existing sample and with the tools and templates available.
The designs you can create with this 3D home and landscape design software are of very good quality. You can layer in photos of your home and other structures on your property for a realistic look, or draw a model of your home into the landscaping plan using built-in tools. When you have the look just the way you want it, you can walk through a 3D-style mock-up or print it off for sharing with friends or your contractor.
Ease of Use
Home Designer Suite is relatively easy to use, though there aren't many templates to help spark ideas. Undo and re-do buttons are easy to find and those buttons come in handy when you are mapping out a landscape – it is hard to imagine how plants will look until you see them in the design.
Help & Support
There are myriad ways to get support if you find yourself lost in this software. Chief Architect offers lots of tutorials, a user forum, a FAQs page and more. If you cannot find your answer there, you can access customer service representatives by phone or email.
If you are looking for simple lawn design software, this may be a little more than you want or need, though there are some great tools for landscaping in Chief Architect's Home Designer Suite. You may end up using the landscaping tools now and the home design tools later. Both are of very high quality.