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In the past, landscape design software programs were used mostly by landscaping industry professionals in order to create and design landscaping projects. Today, these software programs are not only for pros but also individuals, landscaping enthusiasts, and DIYers.
When choosing your landscape design software, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. You'll most likely want to select one that includes a free demo or trial period to make sure it's a fit for your needs. You'll also want to find one that's compatible with your device because many of these programs are only available to be used on one operating system. If you are ready to take the next step and invest in landscape design software, we have rounded up the best options here.
Best Overall: SmartDraw
Why We Chose It: SmartDraw makes working on landscaping design collaborations more accessible and easy to share among peers and clients.
Available for mobile devices and desktop computers
Offers a free trial
Company doesn't focus solely on apps for landscaping design
With its headquarters in Texas, SmartDraw was established in 1994 and has provided design software solutions to individuals and businesses ever since. On a yearly basis, the company garners about 3 million downloads across all of its apps.
SmartDraw allows its users to build landscaping plans and designs for gardens, patios, decks, and backyards, to name a few. The software can be used for any type of structure, whether a house or a commercial facility. Some of SmartDraw’s highlights are its landscape templates that help you get started faster, the program's large gallery of landscaping icons to play around with, and the free company support. If you are part of a team, multiple personnel can work on the same project by using the SmartDraw folder sharing feature or a different sharing platform like Google Drive or Dropbox.
The SmartDraw software is compatible with computers (PCs and Macs), mobile devices (Android and iOS), and most operating systems. You can use the program via a free trial before buying it. The SmartDraw Online Edition for around $120 a year for one person or a package for multiple users. Large companies can purchase a license for $2,995.
Best for 3D Design: VizTerra
Why We Chose it: VizTerra helps professionals bring their creative ideas to life with the program's 3D visual landscaping designs.
Designers can convert 2D designs to 3D in one click
3D design library
Video design creation
Can be used offline
Not available on mobile devices
One-time setup fee of $95
Structure Studios created the VizTerra landscaping design software in 2009, specializing in helping users create 3D landscaping plans.
With VizTerra's landscape design software, you can create personalized plans for your clients or yourself. Thanks to its technology, you can convert 2D designs to 3D in a split second. Its dedicated “Smart Library” feature allows you to add any of the 3D items on file‚ from trees and plants to accessories and furniture. In addition, you can utilize the video and photo mode to share your project with others. Plus, the software allows you to design landscaping plans in stages, calculate material costs, and include custom icons, colors, and more.
VizTerra starts at $97 a month per user, plus a one-time setup fee of $95 with the option to upgrade to more sophisticated design features. The system is only available for PCs running Windows 7 or higher.
Best for Tablets: PRO Landscape
Why We Chose it: PRO Landscape allows contractors to build landscaping designs on computers and tablets.
Available in multiple languages
Can be used on tablets
PRO Landscape was founded with a mission to offer landscaping professionals a platform for creating and presenting designs that can help them increase their revenue. The software, first created in 1994, is used by contractors, garden centers, architects, and others.
PRO Landscape includes some of the most sophisticated features that will allow you to create the perfect plan for your project. The software comes with a photo imaging feature that lets you use real-time images of the property you are designing, a library of more than 18,000 images to choose from, computer-aided design (CAD) to create scaled plans, a tool to generate proposals, 3D and light design features, and more. The PRO Landscape Companion app is available for Android- and Apple-powered tablets.
You can get a free demo on the website. A Pro Landscape license is around $1,500 per user, which can be used to install the software on two computers and to install the tablet app. The software comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Best for iOS Devices: iScape
Why We Chose it: iScape is quickly revolutionizing the landscape design industry with its mobile apps that landscapers can use to create their designs.
Specializes in iOS products
Close to 5 million designs created
Offers a free app
Not compatible with Android devices
iScape was created in 2018, but it quickly became a favorite among individuals, pros, and even retailers. As of February 2021, almost 5 million projects have been designed using its technology.
iScape is a mobile application that can be used on iOS devices. The app's "envision and plan" tool helps users create projects faster and lets you visualize an idea, while the "share" feature gives you the option to easily share your project. In addition, you can buy any of the plants, trees, furniture, or special features you add to your landscaping design directly from within the app.
This free, user-friendly app is compatible with iPads, iPhones, and iPods. Landscaping professionals can purchase iScape Pro, which includes additional features like creating proposals and leads for $29.99 a month or $299 a year.
Best for DIYers: Home Designer Software
Why We Chose it: Home Designer Software allows DIYers to build their own dream landscaping design from a Mac or PC.
Offers multiple packages
Live chat support
You can rent or buy the software
Free trial available
For residential designs only
Not available on mobile devices
Chief Architect, the creator of Home Designer Software, has been in the home design software business since 1992. Among the many attributes of Home Designer Software is the ability to create landscaping designs.
Home Designer Software is the right choice for homeowners who like to tackle projects themselves. It allows you to design your backyard, patio, and deck at the same time you're laying out your garden and outdoor kitchen. The software can create something for all types of land and lot layouts. And with more than 3,000 different garden items to choose from, you can build your dream landscape. You can also add water features and see the final product before you start the actual construction phase of the project.
Home Designer Software starts at $99 and is compatible with both PCs and Macs. Professionals who want more features can choose from one of the company's advanced products.
Landscaping design software programs make the landscape design process much easier and more accessible to a variety of users. While many of the software options on the market are still only compatible with one operating system, some can be used across multiple devices. If you own an Apple mobile device or tablet and want to be able to build on the go, your best choice is iScape. For any other device or computer, SmartDraw and Home Designer Software are great options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Landscape Design Software Programs?
Landscape design software programs are computer-, web-, or mobile device-based programs that allow users to create, design, and visualize landscaping projects.
How Much Do Landscape Design Software Programs Cost?
The shrinking cost of landscape design software has made these programs more affordable to more people beyond architects, professionals designers, and landscapers. The price of software programs included on this list starts at zero for the iScape free app version, while paid options start at $29 a month and go up to around $3,000 for a user license. The higher end of that spectrum is aimed at industry professionals.
How We Chose the Best Landscape Design Software Programs
We looked at more than 15 landscape design software platforms and narrowed down our choices based on the software's usability, price, device compatibility, user experience, customer satisfaction, and industry expertise. We also considered whether anyone buying the software could easily learn how to use the program without prior experience.
For instance, we picked SmartDraw as our best overall as it's useful to a wide audience, compatible with mobile devices and desktops, and user-friendly. We chose PRO Landscape for best for contractors for having one of the largest design library features, being available for use on tablets and computers, providing lifetime support, and offering an online demo.