Pros / This program has extensive plant and object libraries.
Cons / The program is overkill if you just want to plan a new garden.
Verdict / This is functional software with a lot of useful tools that creates attractive, realistic designs, but it will take more time to learn than most of the programs in our lineup.
In terms of outdoor planning, Home Designer Suite is Mac landscaping software with excellent visuals, thousands options in its plant library, and useful information about which plants will flourish in your corner of the world. It also has an extensive object library for all types of interior and exterior designs. If you are planning to design your dream floor plan at the same time as your landscape, Home Designer Suite makes a lot of sense.
You can start by digitally recreating the unique terrain of your yard, incorporating lot shape, elevation, contours, setbacks, roads and other elements that are specific to your home. The shapes and elevations of different areas of your outdoor space can then help you map out where you want different flowers and trees to go.
Home Designer Suite has a plentiful plant library that includes information about how each choice would do in various climates. You can drag and drop plants and trees into place and move them around as needed. It lacks a plant slider that allows you to see how your trees will look years from now. That feature is fairly common among Mac landscape design software, including more expensive versions of Home Designer, so it is a little disappointing to find that missing with Home Designer Suite.
This Mac garden design software allows you to digitally insert a deck in various shapes and sizes, though it does not let you specify details like deck ceiling styles, planking and other specifics the way more advanced Home Designer versions do. The deck building tools you get with Home Designer Suite are more than enough for most homeowners, though.
Lighting recreation tools make it possible to view your yard in both daytime and nighttime. That can be very informative if you are trying to picture dinner parties in the backyard or plan adequate lighting to keep criminals away.
The look and overall design quality are good with this program. The yard layouts you create can be viewed and arranged in either 2D or 3D. The 2D drawing capabilities are very helpful for landscaping, especially when you want to understand just how much yard your patio occupies relative to other elements. Screen quality counts for something, but this software's digital recreations are noticeably excellent on every screen we tried.
You can virtually walk through your designs or fly over them to get a realistic idea of how they might look if you implement them. You get a feel for how far apart the trees are and whether they follow a straight line or a more random arrangement. The photo import tool makes it possible to incorporate an image of your existing home, dragging and dropping pictures of plants and trees around it so you can see what they look like with your home's actual facade.
Home Designer Suite’s interface is packed with professional-quality CAD tools even though it is designed with the DIY homeowner in mind. Once you learn how to find your way around this program, you will find it to be fairly user-friendly. However, in the beginning the busy interface and extensive feature package makes learning the program difficult.
All of these features are good as far as they go, and they go a great distance. But the program is one of the most comprehensive home design programs on the market, so it’s expensive. If you want to hone in on just the landscaping, you could save some cash with our top pick Punch Landscape Design for Mac.
Home Designer Suite is nice to look at, but the interface is busy and doesn’t lend itself to learning quickly. It has a big plant library to find the right look for your outdoor space, as well as an extensive object library. This Mac software has many of the features we looked for, like 3D and 2D design views, a photo import tool and numerous support options.
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