PROS / Total 3D has thousands of sample designs you can peruse and edit for ideas and inspiration.
CONS / This is a simple program that lacks the robust functionality of much of the competition.
VERDICT / This is one of the most affordable of the programs we reviewed, but its low price is reflected in its limited functionality and object database.
Total 3D Home, Landscape & Deck is a good program full of useful features and realistic views. It was a little more difficult to use than the other home landscaping software that we reviewed, but it has the tools for creating a good landscaping design for their home. All kinds of sample designs, photos and a step-by-step guide are provided with the software to help get you started. The guide comes in handy, because you will need to build your home step by step within the program to start the design process.
The aesthetics on this home landscape design software are not too bad. We were most impressed with the plants, and even though they are not 3D, they are very realistic. It is easy to change the position and size of the objects in 3D view, which is essential for 3D home landscape software. This program does have sample plans you can start with, but it lacks a builder-wizard to help the process that is found in many products in our landscape software reviews.
Once you are used to the various tools that this software provides, it really is an effective designing program. Though it does take more time, effort and focus than normal to get a decent design, we were impressed with the results. Total 3D Home, Landscape & Deck does not allow you to overlap hardscape objects and regions; a warning pops up and prevents you from accomplishing the task, which was disappointing given the capacity of other landscape software to do the same thing. On the plus side, this program has an extensive idea gallery that you can peruse to get inspiration. The idea gallery is a collection of photos depicting various designs, such as what you might find in an architecture magazine.
Another task we found difficult was deleting certain items once they were put in the design. For example, once you place a room on the design, it becomes part of the house as a whole. You can, however, delete objects like plants and accessories, which is useful for garden landscape design. The software’s inability to overlap and delete certain objects makes it difficult to use and limits its functionality when compared with the best landscape software on the market.
Total 3D Home, Landscape & Deck helps a great deal with landscaping, but its focus is more on the construction of the house. The landscaping and home design tools were a little tricky at times, but they were impressive. This software would have ranked better if the tools had been easier to use, and if its emphasis were more on front and backyard designs and that of other outdoor areas.
The software can help you create the unseen materials that are necessary for a successful landscape design – such as sprinklers. You can place electrical outlets to facilitate outdoor activities that require electricity, like an entertainment space.
The multiple sample designs make this product shine. You can import your own plan or browse over 14,000 samples plans. You can look at and edit each one, and they serve as a great source for ideas. The program lets you scan and trace a sketch of your dream home or landscape, which you can then edit it until it is what you want. You can also import a picture of a floor plan and edit it in the program. In our experience and testing, we found this to be better than what the other products provided.
The 3D rendering tool allows you to view a virtual sunrise through the shadows of objects in the design. It even lets you specify your geographical location and the climate it has, which will be especially useful if you are in a place with a lot of snowfall and need to consider the consequences of laying out anything that might be covered or possibly ruined by snow. Aside from these strengths, the overall design views are simplistic when compared with other programs.
A product catalog displays brand-name items that you may want to purchase in the future, but pricing is not included. The budget planner automatically adds the objects in your design to the list. It provides some prices, but you may need to add the others because of price changes over time.
You have access to many help options through the software. You can view video tutorials, study the step-by-step guide, contact customer support and search by topics. An email address is not provided through the software, but you can find it online.
Total 3D Home, Landscape & Deck is impressive software. It effectively assists in designing landscapes and homes, but isn’t as easy to use as the top-rated products that we reviewed, and it has a simplistic interface. One major strength of this program is that it lets you look at and edit thousands of sample designs for creative planning. Overall, this program has its limitations, such as an inability to overlap objects, but it is a solid choice within this price point.