Pros / You can go into great detail with this program.
Cons / It has a complicated interface that can be overwhelming for beginners.
Verdict / If you have ample time and energy to learn, this application is a robust landscape designer.
Home Designer Suite is a home and landscaping design software product that really lets you see what you are creating and make it your own. You can work in 3D and prepare the perfect outdoor area to make your landscape truly outstanding.
The design tools are similar to those used by professionals, and this level of sophistication could be overwhelming for a beginner. Anyone familiar with CAD software will feel right at home, but for most of us, there will be a steep learning curve to master the abundance of amenities this software presents. However, you get tutorial videos to help you get started and such things as a plant guide and map to show what kinds of vegetation flourish in your particular climate.
Like many landscape design applications, this software focuses primarily on home design (although it offers robust landscape design options). The graphics are quite good and you can "see" your landscape design in multiple views and different dimensions.
Among other things, you can try imaginative approaches, such as using the "Sun Rotates with the Camera" setting so you can see how your property will look without shadows obscuring your view. You also can see what you've created cut into sections (you get as many as six cutting planes) in order to really examine details.
You get templates to help with landscaping and deck design, and you can import a photo of your property to get a truly realistic background. You can set your lot perimeters, add things like slopes or other characteristics of the land your house sits on as well as such things as sidewalks, roads and driveways. Yet another helpful feature is the ability to import surveyor information or data from a GPS to assist you in making your design as accurate as possible. That can go a long way toward helping you or a contractor make the online design into a reality.
This landscaping software lets you work with more than 3,600 plants, including flowers, shrubs, trees and more. This software includes premade plant beds you can customize. This is a good number of plants, but programs such as Virtual Architect Home Design offer almost twice as many with a library of more than 7,500 plants.
When selecting vegetation to put into the plant beds, or elsewhere on your property's design, the software's tools give you plenty of information about individual plant sizes, heights, hardiness and more. This software can generate a "plant schedule" of all the vegetation, so you can use it when you buy greenery or flats of flowers.
You get a tool that lets you see how young plants look on your property and then another view of how they will look when they mature. Armed with this knowledge, you won't mistakenly stick some pretty flowering plants behind a clump of pampas grass that can grow to towering heights.
This software is equipped with more than 6,500 objects that you can add, move around or remove from your project depending on whether they fit your landscaping vision. Most are for homes, but there are several things, such as decks, patios, swimming pools, benches, fountains, retaining walls and other outdoor-related items.
If you encounter any problems or have questions, you have access to good customer support options. You can contact the company by phone or email, and learn quite a bit from user forums and a FAQs section on the website.
One excellent benefit is a free trial version that you can test to see if this landscape design software is for you. This landscaping software also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you buy it and decide it doesn't suit your needs.
Home Designer Suite is well equipped with landscape design options and tools, and it goes into considerable detail so you can really see what your property will look like if you decide to invest in outdoor improvements.
However, one of its greatest strengths is also one of its flaws: It has so many options and features, and it works at such a sophisticated level, you will need to spend quite a bit of time to learn how to navigate this software and make it do what you want.