Landscape Design Software – Which is Best?

Landscape Design Software – Which is Best?

We investigate which landscape design software should be on your radar if you want to use the best program out there.  Are you a techy person, interested in using design software? Want to stay on top of the landscape architecture game? Here at LAN (Landscape Architects Network), we have offered several articles that dive deeply into this subject: Ashley Penn has given us the essential guide to a range of landscape design software options to suit any budget and writer Paul McAtomney has also given the low-down on some of the top 3D modeling software. The following list is of the top landscape design software programs that you should definitely be using or at least trying out throughout your student life and professional career. We will take you through the best options, used by some of the top companies, from initial line drawings to renderings to making final edits and finally, the layout.

The Best Landscape Design Software

1. AutoCAD

Let’s start off with landscape design software that has never left the top trending list: AutoCAD. We have all used AutoCAD from our beginner student years, right through into our professional careers. It is a versatile program that can be used as a stepping-stone to 3D modeling software like SketchUp. In fact, transporting AutoCAD line drawings into SketchUp to produce simple and quick 3D models has always been a dependable and efficient technique. WATCH >>> The SketchUp Connection Process between AutoCAD and SketchUp for Landscape Architecture Design

2. Vectorworks Landmark

There has always been a debate between the preference of using Vectorworks or AutoCAD. If you have used both, you can let us know what you think of the two options. Vectorworks may not be the industry standard but it has been growing in popularity in many landscape companies. This is due to its versatility and ease of use, which allows you to work in 2D and 3D, as well as having industry-specific features like a parking tool or even its own plant database. If you try this out, you won’t be missing out as there are options to import and export drawings from other programs such as AutoCAD, SketchUp and 3ds Max. WATCH >>> GSG – Vectorworks Landmark 2016 – Introduction

3. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe has brought out many software options that are great for the landscape profession. Adobe Illustrator is a great one for line works; for example, you can easily edit the separate lines on a PDF drawing, which you import into the program, as well as exporting it for other programs like AutoCAD. Likewise, you can make beautiful diagrams, maps and other graphics such as infographics using this program. WATCH >>> Creating A Map With Illustrator – Drawing a river with a variable width

4. Sketchup

Sketchup is another one of the popular and useful tools that has been used worldwide in many design professions including landscape architecture, since it came out in 2000. It is a versatile 3D modeling landscape design software with many plug-ins that allow its users to turn their initial simple 3D models into cool, crazy and beautiful works of art. WATCH >>> landscape architects, garden design – sketchup

5. Lumion

Widely used in some of the larger multi-disciplinary firms, Lumion is a popular program amongst architects. It is also becoming commonly recognized in the landscape architecture world as a 3D rendering program that is easy to learn, whilst producing fantastic results. You can check out this article that explains how this landscape design software can help bring your design ideas to life. WATCH >>>  Lumion 6.0 Launch Trailer

6. Autodesk 3ds Max

3ds Max is used in the industry to produce professional and realistic 3D renderings and animations. It is one of the more challenging programs to master but it is a highly regarded landscape design software. Although it is a high-end product that is mainly used in professional environments, for the techy landscape architects out there, it is a worthwhile program to learn. WATCH >>> landscape design making by 3d max and Render by lumion

7. Rhino

Rhino is part AutoCAD, part 3D modeling and part illustrator software that can be used to create beautiful line work for quick 3D graphics. With an even cleaner finish than SketchUp, there are many tutorials out there that can give you the tools you need to achieve a clean 3D model. WATCH >>> Modeling a landscape in Rhino 5

8. Autodesk Revit

Revit is still relatively uncommon in some of the smaller firms but the bigger multi-disciplinary firms are using the software as the popularity of BIM (Building Information Modeling) increases. The software is not tailored particularly well for our industry but it can be used to create great terrain models or detail works. It allows the flexibility of working in plans, sections and 3D visuals all in one go and can provide more information than AutoCAD. If you are interested, there are many tutorials that can get you started. WATCH >>> Siteworks for Revit

9 . Adobe Photoshop

What would we do without Adobe Photoshop? This is another versatile and high-quality-image producing software that is used by many landscape architects. From an amateur to a pro user, there are many tutorials that allow you to create sleek renderings. Indeed, this program is a popular choice to make final renderings and touch-ups. WATCH >>> Sketchup to Photoshop: quick rendering tutorial

10. Adobe InDesign

As part of the Adobe software range, Adobe InDesign has been a true classic, a reliable “go-to” program that commonly used for laying out projects. From booklets to large presentation sheets, we have yet to find something else that achieves the same outcome as elegantly as InDesign. It is also an easy software to learn. WATCH >>> ARCHITECTURE PORTFOLIO TUTORIAL: ADDING TEXT

From the classics to the new ones growing in popularity, we definitely recommend you try out some of these fantastic software programs, if you haven’t already. Sometimes, whilst working in industry, it is just about having knowledge in the right software programs, being able to adapt and jump between them to produce nice drawings at the quickest speed. If you have used some of these options already, do share with us about your experience. Do you have a favorite? What do you use the program for?

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Published in Blog
Win is a chartered Landscape Architect, currently working with Greenhalgh Landscape Architecture, in the historic City of Bath. She is refining her craft in the profession through different platforms, including being a landscape writer for over seven years. She's the host and creator of Thitpin Podcast, which explores the intersections of landscape with culture, identity, well-being, design and many more - to represent the diverse connections of the profession. The podcast can be found on iTunes and other podcast listening apps. Follow @thitpinpodcast on Instagram for further engagement!

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