Pros / The software provides useful instruction and resources with each design feature, guiding you step by step.
Cons / You get a limited database of items and designs.
Verdict / This is a fast and effective software choice, but it does not provide an advanced interface.
Editor's Note: The manufacturer has informed us that Virtual Architect Home & Landscape Platinum Suite 8.0 is now available for purchase. We will post the new test results and review when we next test the Landscaping Software.
The Virtual Architect Home & Landscape Platinum Suite 7.0 provides some helpful guidance as you design a new landscape for your property, and you get systematic instructions as you progress from one task to the next. Even a beginner can work with this landscape designing software. The general functionality of this application with its drag-and-drop capability, multiple viewing modes and its 3D editing all contribute to making it our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner.
Ease of Use
There is not much you need to learn in order to begin your landscape-designing process with this software. It uses a building wizard, which is helpful when you are starting. Best of all, it includes directions as you go step by step through the application, and it prompts you with "Next Step" as you go. In addition, you get a "Tutor" box that pops up to help you learn new tools when you click on them.
There is a slight learning curve with this landscape design software, and you must make an effort to master it, but the guided instructions make this process go reasonably well. This includes a search option so you can find whatever it is you are looking for without having to plow through a lot of material you've already learned.
Making your way through this software generally is a direct path. You get a simple drag-and-drop capability that works well. You just click an item and drag it into your design. You can upload a digital photo of your property to get a more accurate idea of where you want new things to be, whether it's a bench, a pathway, a hot tub or a hedge.
The software's various tools and features are organized by tabs and icons, with views on the bottom and a catalog on the side of the screen. You can navigate the application pretty intuitively. If you take the time to read the tutorials to make the best use of this software's capabilities, you can start work on your exciting landscape design right away.
You can use the drag-and-drop function in both 2D and 3D modes, which gives you a true to life glimpse of how your landscape design is shaping up. That capability is easy to use and gets the job done nicely. You can edit in 3D if you choose, which lets you really see what your online actions will look like if they become reality.
You get a fun viewing mode that lets you see how your house, yard and garden would look with the changes you envision during the different seasons. You also can see where sprinkler systems could go and where you could erect a fence or hedge, plant flowers, create paths or maybe add a trellis.
The graphics for this software are a big clunky and are not as realistic as the top programs in our product list. You also do not get such a wide database of items and designs. However, when it comes to plants, you are in luck. You have access to a 7,500-item library of different plants, trees, shrubs, flowers and other vegetation that you can choose from to add color, texture and depth to your landscape. Only Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design offers as many plant options as this program. You get information about what grows best in your area and how to care for plants as far as what kind of soil and light they need, how much watering and more.
Another helpful feature is the option to see how any virtual plants look as they grow in increments up to 20 years. You might discover that a particular tree would be entirely wrong for your property, perhaps obscuring a view, casting a shadow over flower beds or posing a rather unsightly mistake in the midst of your otherwise appealing landscape. With this software, you can avoid errors like that and simply choose another type of tree that would complement the area.
Help & Support
If you run into any problems, you can get answers fast using live chat on the company's website. You also can check the website's knowledgebase or ask questions through email. Regrettably, you have to pay to get help by phone. One welcome benefit with landscape designing software is that you get a money-back guarantee if the product is unsuitable for your needs.
The Virtual Architect Home & Landscape Platinum Suite 7.0 takes time to master, but the systematic instructions give you good guidance so you can move along smoothly. The graphics are not flawless, but nonetheless give you quite a bit to work with, and you can view your proposed landscape design in different modes such as 2D or 3D. You also get an abundant selection of plants and plant information to help you make your lawn, garden and overall exterior look well designed and vibrant.