Pros / The program's design builders help you quickly commence your design without going through the hassle of learning the minor tasks.
Cons / It's not as easy to use as other programs on our lineup, and you have to pay for phone support.
Verdict / There is a learning curve with this software, but it is an excellent product overall, especially if you are looking for a variety of ideas for plants for your landscape.
Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design with Landscaping and Decks certainly lives up to its name. You can be your own landscape architect, and your designing efforts can start immediately with this well-organized landscaping software.
Unlike other programs we reviewed, this application employs a systematic approach that guides you each step of the way and presents the tools you need in an easily accessible fashion.
Like most other landscape designer software applications, Virtual Architect focuses quite a bit on constructing a home, but there still are numerous yard, garden and outdoor features that you can incorporate into realistic-looking designs.
You can make use of sample plans to get started on your new landscape project and tweak these as you go to ensure that they align with your property boundaries and all the different characteristics of the terrain. To really see how something might look, you can import digital photos of your house and yard, then add various amenities to get a realistic view of how the finished design would appear after you've added different trees, shrubs, plants, fencing or other things that you've always dreamed of for your yard.
Using this software is not a total breeze – you do have to put some effort into using this application, because this product is not intuitive. The general design works reasonably well, but it is slower to use than Realtime Landscaping Plus, and the features and tools are not in places you would expect, so it takes more time and effort to design landscapes that our top-ranked product. However, the exceptional organization of the tools and features does help considerably, and this did work better than lower-ranked software in our product line-up.
You can see what your online creation looks like in multiple views, including 2D and 3D, so you won't run into unwelcome surprises once you start redoing your lawn, shrubbery or garden in real life. This software is equipped with a helpful search option so you can quickly find whatever it is you are looking for.
The process is systematic, since this landscape design software is arranged in a straightforward manner and uses primarily visual icons. The major icons are located at the top of the page and the toolbar is quite accessible. You can choose from categories such as building, interior, landscape, terrain and help. If you want to include something in your design, such as a tree, you can get a 3D rendering in the software's sidebar.
The drag-and-drop feature works quite well: You just click on the button and the object appears with no guessing as to where it might appear, which sometimes happens with less-effective software. You can position objects anyplace on your design (except on buildings), and you get both 2D and 3D views as well as other views using other approaches.
This landscaping applications lets you experiment with different types and sizes of decks, add a gazebo to your backyard, examine whether an arbor or trellis would look good, and see how your property would look with outdoor grills, pathways, garden plots and hot tubs. You also can plan installation for such things as sprinkling systems and various types of fences.
You can see your property with a 3D tour that you can record and watch again, and for greater realism, you can even add sounds. It's also possible to change the lighting so you know how it will appear in daytime and at night. You also can see how your proposed landscape would look during different seasons.
Virtual Architect provides a wide range of landscape items that you can incorporate into a design, and these are neatly organized by pictures. If you click on a picture on the top of the screen, other similar options show up in the sidebar.
This landscaping software is equipped with thousands of plants so you can choose what would work best in your area and what would complement your house. You can see how the plants, trees and shrubs look during different seasons, and you have an option to examine what the property would look like as the vegetation grows in increments of up to 20 years.
The graphics in this software are quite good. You can really see how your property will appear before you spend a penny on grass seed, flowers or deck materials. This application can also create an Excel spreadsheet that includes what you will need and cost estimates.
If you encounter difficulties, you can get quick answers using the company's live chat feature on its website. You also can make use of the website's knowledge base or ask questions via email. Unfortunately, you must pay to get assistance by phone.
One welcome benefit of this landscape-designing software application is that you get a money-back guarantee if the product doesn't work for you.
Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design with Landscaping and Decks takes a bit of work to use, but its overall organization and the sensible presentation of its tools and features make the process of creating a new landscape better than numerous other products on the market.