PROS / Multiple design wizards will make your life easier.
CONS / A wider selection of templates would help inspire ideas, especially for beginners.
VERDICT / With excellent choices, features and usability, this product is a great choice for landscaping software.
Editor's note: A newer version of this product is available.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.
Landscape Deck & Patio Designer, by Punch Software, is a solid contender when it comes to landscaping software. It lacks just a few features that the best backyard design software can claim. It doesn't provide the users with landscape, garden and patio templates that often serve as an inspiration for landscaping design. But with its multiple design wizards, you’ll be able to create your own like a landscape design professional in no time.
The more you use Landscape Deck & Patio Designer, the more you will appreciate it. As we were playing with a few tools, we realized that if you double-click on object, such as a lawn chair, the Punch 3D Custom Workshop will automatically appear. In this workshop, you can alter any object. For example, you can change the color of the legs on a chair. We found this extremely helpful and necessary in order to get our design to match the furniture that we have. You can change the color, shape and size of any object, as well as create your own.
In the Power Tool Launcher, you can use the 3D Custom Workshop, Photo View, PhotoView Editor, Estimator, Fence Designer and Pool Designer. Each one of these power tools allows you to create your own designs from scratch. There are many things that you can customize using these tools. The Pool Designer is one highly effective example. You can change the shape and depth of your pool to your liking. A price estimator is found in the Power Tools section too. If you enter prices for the products that you’ll need to buy, this tool calculates the total. The estimator will have all of the products that you have included in your design as well as the measurements of each. All you need to do is enter the price of each object. For example, you would enter the price of the patio flooring per square foot.
If you are looking for software that won’t make you use your imagination for the final view of your design, this is a good option. The tool that provides the best view is Render Final Quality. In this view, every object on the screen will cast shadows, from plants and trees to the deck railing. You will also be able to get a perspective that resembles the view you would get from Google Earth.
One thing to keep in mind is that Landscape Deck & Patio Designer is advanced software, meaning that it has all of the important tools and features that you would need for detailed front and backyard designs. You may feel a bit unfamiliar with the tools at first and face a steep learning curve. A hefty manual has been provided with the software as well as phone and email support, though. There is also instant access to tutorials, tips and a searchable index for quick answers to your questions. The most impressive help we found were the options provided when you right-click on an object, which offers access to a video tutorial about that specific object.
Landscape Deck & Patio Designer has clearly been created for the average home user; however, it has advanced tools that even professionals will appreciate. With its many features, you’ll have your landscape daydreams designed and ready to go quickly.