LandworksCAD Lt or Pro versus Vectorworks Landmark

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums STORY BOARD LandworksCAD Lt or Pro versus Vectorworks Landmark

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    Kathy Robert

    I’d like to hear what people have to say about these two drafting programs.  If one better than the other?  I’m getting ready to purchase, and I’m having a hard time deciding which way to go.  I haven’t been able to find reviews that are prompted by the software developer.  

    I’d appreciate your input.  

    Robert Anderson

    I can’t really make too much of a comparison as until your post I had not heard of LandworksCAD. In my brief review I did notice that it did seem to be a little weak in the 3D features. Landmark has a vast library of 3D objects and tools, walls, stairs, landscape walls and much more.

    Depending on your workflow and your clients it would appear that there may be similar inter portability with other cad platforms however there wouldn’t appear to be any BIM capabilities. I’m assuming that you are in or near Australia. There is a fantastic resource in your area in Jonathan Pickup.

    I would be happy to share more if you are interested.

    Kathy Robert

    I’m located in the Pacific NW of the US – nowhere near Australia.  However, I do appeciate your comments.  


    I am not sure what your background is when it comes to using any kind of CAD software, but before you purchase you might consider the following:

    1.  If you are new to using CAD software Vectorworks Landmark might be the way to go.  I own the software and it has a lot of capabilities a lot of software programs do not.  

    2. If you have worked in Autocad in the past you might consider LandFX.  It’s Autocad compatible as an easy add on or you can get their stand alone version of FX CAD which is the latest version of Autocad without all of the Autocad bells and whistles.  Trust me you will never need all of the bells and whistles that Autocad builds into their software and the FX CAD is plenty powerful.

    Full disclosure, I own both programs, but I am only using Land FX exclusively.  My clients and associated disciplines I work with use Autocad exclusively and when converting and importing and sharing files autocad to autocad is the way to go.  Even though other cad programs say their files can be saved in a .dwg format it adds a lot more steps and isn’t as compatible as they would like you to think.  IMHO.  I have used Autocad for over 15 years and the LandFX add on was a simple transition.  And its quick to learn.  Landmark Vectorworks has a huge learning curve if your mind has already been trained in Autocad.  Terminologies are different so the process of developing a design is more difficult and time consuming.  That being said, if you have no CAD background what so ever Landmark might be the way to go because you haven’t had your head poisoned to draft in any other matter.  Just keep in mind the end user and who you might be collaborating with.  If you work with outside civil engineers or architects you might want to stay in the Autocad world.  

    Sorry if I have blathered on here a bit…..hope some of this is helpful.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Great response. I worked in two different civil engineering/land survey offices doing civil plans for twelve years. There are sometimes some issues with non-native dwg files when they are received by the CE’s.

    I looked at FX CAD and Land FX using Intellicad. I liked the landscape specific things in the programs, but I am so used to working with AutoCAD or ACAD Lt that I have just stuck with using ACAD Lt.

    Be careful to understand that FX CAD is just the engine – you still need to pay for the Land FX module on top of it. It comes to about $2k if I recall correctly.

    I do just residential and an occasional small commercial job and always 2d, so my needs are not huge.

    I’d go with FX if I did go forward with more a landscape specific program for the reasons Dennis mentioned.

    I just upgraded to AutoCAD Lt 2016 just 5 days ago. Mulled FX CAD briefly, but stuck with LT.


    Andrew, I believe that FX CAD is basically Autocad LT, but you are right there is a cost associated with it.  I’m not sure why you can just use the LandFX add on with Autocad LT but i am sure there are some kind of proprietary features that prevent it from happening.  A couple of times a year LandFX does offer some pretty good sale incentives with deep discounts on their products.  If you can hold out for a sale its the best way to go.  

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Acad Lt is $et up so that NO add ons can be u$ed.

    FX Cad was very similar to Acad Lt when I last test drove it. I just wanted to point out that there is more than one component that you have to purchase and not to get fooled by the single price of FX CAD ($1,595). You still have to buy Land FX ($1,295) as well, it seems. I’m not going to shell out $2,900 to automate my plant schedules and get a few extra graphic shortcuts, but that is only because I’ve learned lots of ways to quickly get the same things done. If not, it would probably be worth it.

    ACAD Lt is about $300 a year as a subscription, but you can still get a perpetual license for $1200, but that ends this month. It is just drafting and won’t support Land FX or any other add on.

    Robert Anderson


    Did you get enough to form an opinion on your original question?

    Kathy Robert

    Thank you all for you input.  It has helped me make a decision.  


    We are officially, albeit slowly, transitioning our small practice to VW Landmark. I’ve been running two trials back to back on different computers to try and get the hang of the software and although I’ve been tinkering and watching all the videos I can for several weeks I can say with certainty that I am still just scratching the surface.

    The reason we made the switch is because all of our consultants work in 3d from civil 3d to archicad/revit. We also work on 3D, but go between three programs daily to study design features, illustrate, and document. SIM is the future and I feel like we are getting ahead of the curve.

    I love that VW emphasizes design in their branding, and recognizes the landscape architecture profession with tools we really need, very powerful tool I might add. VWL reminds me of a combination of Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD, ArcGIS, and Sketchup. Very powerful tool, but learning is a bear!!

    RObert, I’d love to connect with you again at some point about training!


    Kathy Robert

    12/31 – I bit the bullet and purchased VW Landmark.  I’m also working my way through the videos and feel it’s going to be a bit of a learning curve to get up to speed.  I was hoping to work through a small design that I have to do in VW, but have decided that I better just keep plugging through the videos until I feel I have a better grasp.  

    I also would love to connect with others about training.  I’m a single person operation with no one to ask questions of.  I did purchase the Service Select, which has already paid off.  Service Select was worth doing in my opinion.   


    Thanks for reporting back Kathy.

    If I were a student, I would be learning VWL and after a couple weeks I’d feel just fine drawing up a site plan and playing with site mods What makes things more complicated in the professional world is need for accuracy and file interoperability with other consultants. I’ve spoken with Robert before and he is very knowledgeable of VW. Shoot me an email through my website if you want and we can stay in touch.

    nigel varley

    Let me first declare my interest, I developed LANDWorksCAD and to this day still have a significant input into its future direction. LANDWorksCAD has been a great success story for my company and forms a large part of its annual revenue, mostly in new sales and more than 50% from referrals. It appeals to professional landscape Architects and landscape designers all over the world because of its very high quality output and ease of use.

    The license is permanent so there is no compulsory annual fee like AutoCAD now have although you can subscribe to upgrades and very personalized support.

    LANDWorksCAD works the same on both Mac and Windows and has a wide range of specialized tools that take it from being a simple but very powerful 2D drafting system to a highly efficient landscape specific product for fast creation and editing of design documentation. 

    There are two versions of the software – LANDWorksCAD LT and LANDWorksCAD Pro being 2D only and 2D/3D respectively. It works along side other software too such as SketchUp that some users also like to work with and has a huge database of plants that can be edited and added too very easily. It is compatible with files from other designers too which makes working with AutoCAD DWG files very simple.

    LANDWorksCAD’s online training course make learning the software a straight forward step-by-step process which also appeals to new users in particular.

    LANDWorksCAD’s library is pretty much unlimited as it can import from just about anywhere including the worlds largest 3D model repository, Trimble’s free 3D warehouse. 

    One of the main reasons LANDWorksCAD was created was because of clients calling to ask for an easier to use and more friendly CAD software for landscapers. There was Vectorworks Landmark and AutoCAD with various plug-ins at the time but people either complained about the complexity or lack of support or engineering style output, so it seemed there was a market which LANDWorksCAD has met with open arms.

    If you’re still unsure then you can always get a ‘starter pack’ which gives you training, support and the software for a year, at the end of which you can purchase outright.

    I don’t get much time to frequent these forums feel free to email us or ping me if you have any questions at all. We find most clients are almost as passionate about the software as i am…  🙂

    nigel varley

    Hi J. Robert, and thank you for your input.

    It’s great that you took the time to check the software out and voiced your subjective views (albeit in an objective manner). Luckily for us our users have a differing opinion and luckily for everyone the software does not dictate the style of the end result as you have intimated.

    LANDWorksCAD software, unlike many others, is a tool that can be used to produce almost any graphical style and like pencil and paper, some styles will take a little longer to produce than others. Each user likes to create a unique style that clearly delineates his or her work from all the dross; LANDWorksCAD is NOT AutoCAD and offers unique abilities that allow those unique design styles. It is definitely the user that decides. This applies to colors, depth, line styles, labeling, text, shadowing, fills, plant and hardscape graphics and in fact everything you might include in your drawings. LANDWorksCAD does not have a limited style palette.

    Having viewed some of your hand-drawn published works online and witnessing the style you have developed and clearly prefer, it would be possible to duplicate that style using LANDWorksCAD, or at least create something extremely close. Robert, honoring your opinion, is there a particular drawing you feel stands out as being ‘professional’ and appeals to you? I would love to have a bit of fun and see what I personally could do to emulate it in some way. 

    Ultimately, LANDWorksCAD isn’t for everyone (neither is a Porsche or Lamborghini) but those that use it seem to love it and that’s very important to us. We take our software seriously and have a bit of fun along the way.

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