17 Best Landscaping Design Software [Free & Paid]

Wouldn’t it be great if you could catch a quick preview of your backyard or porch before starting a full-fledged renovation?

While most of us meticulously plan our home interiors, we often do not pay much attention to the external scene. This is mainly because landscape designing does not share the center-stage with indoor architecture, engineering, etc.

Nevertheless, if you want to see how it will all look like before buying a ton of plants and gardening ornaments, you have arrived at the right place. In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of 17 best landscaping design software, including free and paid options that are worth your time and effort.

Without further ado, let’s get down to business.

Best Landscaping Design Software

Designer hands using graphics tablet while working with computer at studio or office. Top side view.

So, whether you’re a professional designer or a homeowner looking to enhance your outdoor living space, here’s the list of the 17 best landscape design software options to consider.

  1. Plan-A-Garden

Landscape designing is an art that’s not limited to professionals but also interests DIY enthusiasts and amateur artists who enjoy the process of creation. That said, if you’re looking for a free platform to try out your ideas, we recommend using the Plan-A-Garden software. All you need to do is sign-up and get started.

Why Did We Like It?

First off, the software allows you to find a relevant background from a series of stock images that look similar to your house. After that, you can pick a surface covering and include multiple objects using the ‘drag and drop’ technique. For instance, you may add swing sets, sheds, fire pits, and other elements to accessorize the location.

However, what impressed us the most is the diverse selection of plants available on the software. So, if you want a specific type of vegetation or foliage on your property, you have plenty of options to choose from. Besides, it includes information on plant care, which is a significant add-on for a free designing tool.

While it runs on a 3D interface by default, you may toggle between that and the ‘bird’s eye’ mode to view your design from multiple angles. Furthermore, users can even print the final design as well as a list of all the items required to replicate the said design.

What Could’ve Been Better?

There’s very little to not like about this software, but the one thing that bothered us is the restricted 3D mode. Meaning, when you use the default interface, you can view the design from only one angle. There’s no option to navigate in any other direction for a better look.  

  • Users can select a background closely resembling their house
  • Includes a diverse selection of plants along with care information
  • Bird’s eye mode to view your design from different angles
  • Designs and list of items featured can be printed
  • 3D mode allows viewing only from one, fixed angle
Compatibility: Web-Based | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Wide Plant Selection | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. SketchUp Free

SketchUp is a popular tool among designers and architects, and as such, a favorite among entry-level users. This web-based platform allows you to work with models and includes multiple features and functionalities that ensure life-like results. If you want to upgrade, you can subscribe to SketchUpPro; however, this is an excellent place to start. 

Why Did We Like It?

First things first, SketchUp includes a 2D and 3D interface, so you can work with either, depending on your requirements. Besides, it supports 3D drafting, editing, and rendering, enabling users to create the perfect simulation of their landscape. 

Apart from that, it allows you to conveniently import and export files, which is something not available on most free platforms. Plus, you can save your progress at any time while working on the landscaping design and share it with other users, facilitating collaboration. 

SketchUp, more or less, supports all popular file formats, so you can download and share in a single click. Besides, as design enthusiasts, you’ll appreciate the creative liberty this software provides, offering a range of features and an extensive 3D Warehouse library. 

While the pencil, push, and pull tools are the most commonly used functions, the controls include multiple other features enabling detailed work. So, if you want to build from scratch, here’s where you begin your masterpiece on a blank canvas.

What Could’ve Been Better? 

Some artists may feel inhibited while using this platform as it fails to make perfect curved designs. This is especially an issue when you’re recreating landscapes. The best you can do to form a curve is to draw several small straight lines joined at an angle. While that may not create a neat curve, for some users, that’s enough for basic representation.   

  • Supports 3D drafting, editing, and rendering
  • Allows users to export and import files
  • Users can save their projects and collaborate with other users
  • Includes an extensive 3D Warehouse library
  • Unable to create curved designs
Compatibility: Web-Based | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: 3D Warehouse Library | Import/Export Files: Yes | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. PRO Landscape

Up next, we have PRO Landscape, another user-friendly tool that caters to both design experts and novices. Like SketchUp, it includes both free and paid versions, so depending on your requirements and skill level, you can use either. The features are simple enough, and you don’t need extensive technical knowledge to make landscape designs.  

Why Did We Like It?

To begin with, this is a great tool to make illustrations for your clients as it includes multiple features to design realistic mock-ups. So if you’re looking for photo imaging or 3D rendering functions, we recommend using this platform. 

Apart from that, the software also supports CAD and other drafting tools, allowing you to create landscaping layouts while incorporating customizations. What impressed us the most is the vast object and plant library, which is fully accessible in both versions. 

Therefore, you can add multiple accessories as per requirements and experiment with different layout styles. Furthermore, we like the intuitive interface of this software, enabling users to figure things out in a snap. Basically, you don’t need a design background to use it, thanks to its straightforward features and controls.  

What Could’ve Been Better? 

Some designers prefer adding more layers to their design, and as such, their projects may require intricate work. This software is not suitable for those designing assignments as it’s pretty basic and limited in its functions. So, if you’re looking for higher features and customizations, we suggest using a different tool. 

  • Software provides photo imaging and 3D rendering
  • Supports CAD and other drafting tools for making illustrations
  • Vast object and plant library available in both free and paid versions
  • Intuitive interface with straightforward features and controls
  • Not suitable for detailed designing
Compatibility: Windows, Mac | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Object & Plant Library | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free, Paid Versions
  1. Gardena’s My Garden

If you’re looking for a design tool that allows more room for creativity, enabling you to create the most inspiring layouts, we suggest using the My Garden app. This web-based platform is incredibly handy and includes a range of features that will truly impress the artist in you. Plus, it’s free, so it’s a win-win from the get-go. 

Why Did We Like It?

To begin with, Gardena can truly bring alive your landscape with a range of user-friendly features, intuitively placed for the tech-savvy folk. The first step is to create the shape and size of the area you want to renovate. 

You can customize everything from the surface material (be it gravel, lawn, or decking) to landscape accessories like planters, trees, outdoor decor, lighting, etc. The process is simple enough; all you gotta do is drag and drop the individual elements. 

One feature that truly surprised us is the irrigation planning system. Long story short, this app allows you to include irrigation paths, so your plants can access sufficient water. This way, you’ll also know what garden equipment you’ll be needing to keep your green pad perfectly manicured. 

What Could’ve Been Better? 

We’re more or less satisfied with the utility of this online tool. And recommend it to users looking to get a fair idea of how their garden, backyard, or any other outdoor space would look. However, unlike other options, it does not include a range of plants, which would come in handy for a more realistic presentation. 

  • User-friendly interface suitable for all skill levels
  • Users can choose among multiple surface materials
  • Includes outdoor elements like planters, trees, decor, and lighting
  • App allows you to plan an irrigation system for your garden
  • Does not include a lot of plant options
Compatibility: Web-Based | 3D Modeling: No | Template/Library: Outdoor Elements | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: Yes | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. ISCAPE App

The ISCAPE app is another digital tool that caters to your passion for designing bold and elaborate landscapes. It’s pretty straightforward in terms of operation, and unlike paid software options, there’s no steep learning curve. So, if you want a reliable app to improve upon your ideas, get started with this one stat. 

Why Did We Like It?

For starters, it’s free, so you can create, edit, and build upon your project endlessly. That said, ISCAPE is primarily meant for DIY-ers, and entry-level artists keen on experimenting with design tools. 

However, that doesn’t mean you cannot use it for serious projects, as many homeowners rely on these layouts to convey their idea to contractors and builders. Honestly, uninhibited sharing is the best thing about this app, enabling users to share their ideas, concepts, and drafts with builders, clients, and others concerned. 

Furthermore, when you incorporate different items into your project, the app will inform you about suppliers and retailers who sell those things. Honestly, this is a real time-saver, considering that you don’t need to go pillar to post with your shopping list. 

It includes a limited selection of plants, but we’re not complaining since it more or less has the common ones. So, if you need a dependable designer for your landscaping plans, get cracking with this one. 

What Could’ve Been Better? 

Our only gripe is that this app is meant for Apple users only. Therefore, it caters to a niche community of designers and artists. We would have liked it better if it was more inclusive in terms of device and OS compatibility. That aside, it’s still a good place to begin your design ventures. 

  • Suitable for DIY-ers and entry-level artists and designers
  • Users can share their projects with contractors and builders
  • App generates information on suppliers and retailers
  • Includes common plants usually found outdoors
  • Meant for only Apple users
Compatibility: Apple Devices | 3D Modeling: No | Template/Library: Limited Plant Selection | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. Showoff.com The Visualizer

Showoff.com is an interactive online space that offers a free design program – the Visualizer-to create landscape layouts. Of late, this tool has become immensely popular among homeowners and small architecture firms, and so we decided to find out if it’s worth the hype. After multiple trials, we couldn’t help but agree with the users.

Why Did We Like It?

First off, this downloadable software gives you a preview of the landscape before you start with the renovation project. You can experiment with different templates and find out what works best or straightaway upload an image of your property. 

Once you upload an image, the app quickly calibrates it and suggests edits to the user. You can surf through all the different features and edit, add or improve the canvas. This also works for real estate firms as they can share the images with prospective clients, providing a rundown of expenses. 

Other than that, we like that it comes with a substantially large objects library, including an assortment of plants, garden furniture, and ornaments. Lastly, the software allows you to upload your finished projects to the community forum, where you can interact with other users and discuss your designs.  

What Could’ve Been Better? 

The only drawback to using this app is its limited compatibility. Long story short, Visualizer can only be used in devices with Windows OS. While that’s more inclusive than the iOS-only apps, it still loses out on a substantial user-base due to this one hitch. 

  • Users can upload images of their property and work on them
  • App calibrates the image file and suggests relevant edits
  • Large objects library including plants, garden furniture, and ornaments
  • Upload projects to the community forum and interact with other users
  • App is supported by Windows OS only
Compatibility: Windows | 3D Modeling: No | Template/Library: Large Objects Library | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. DreamPlan Home Design

When we’re talking about free apps, it’d be wrong not to mention DreamPlan Home Design, an all-time favorite among professionals and amateurs alike. The reason behind its unprecedented popularity is its incredibly user-friendly features and functionalities. Therefore, if you want something that enables a more personalized approach, check out this one. 

Why Did We Like It?

First of all, it works on both Windows and Mac OS, which is a significant advantage for most users. Meaning, you can use it on your system both at work and home, designing limitlessly. Furthermore, DreamPlan enables users to create blueprints while incorporating 3D modeling.  

What impressed us the most is the fact that it’s pretty much self-explanatory, and you don’t need to hunt for different functions available on the interface. Besides, if you’re not confident enough about designing from scratch, you can even import models and improvise. 

Other than that, you can customize the landscape terrain and add multiple outdoor elements like plants, trees, and even a swimming pool. Lastly, since it’s primarily meant for designing houses, you can include your home in the landscape project to give it a realistic look and feel. 

What Could’ve Been Better? 

This is a pretty basic app, and we recommend it to the uninitiated in the design field. But if you’re seeking something a little more challenging, you can upgrade to the paid version. That said, for a free digital tool, this is truly impressive, and we’re sure you’ll find enough room to experiment.  

  • App is compatible with both Windows and Mac devices
  • 3D modeling enabled interface for realistic mock-ups
  • Users can import models and edit or improvise on them
  • Allows users to customize terrain and add outdoor elements
  • Free version only includes basic features
Compatibility: Windows, Mac | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Outdoor Elements | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free, Paid Versions
  1. Marshalls Garden Visualiser

The Marshalls Garden Visualiser is another excellent digital tool for users with an eye for detail. We agree that your home exterior deserves the same amount of attention as the interior, given you’d want to make a great first impression before someone enters your house. Therefore, this is an excellent web-based platform you should try out to get things in place.

Why Did We Like It?

First of all, it’s free, but that’s not the only thing that caught our interest. Honestly, we’re bowled over by how much it has to offer, despite being a no-expense tool. For instance, this Visualiser allows you to include garden paths, patios, and driveways in your landscape project. 

To top it all, you can even customize the laying style of the patio or path, and select a pattern that will further elevate the exteriors. Besides, you can also incorporate walls, pillars, and edging design to your layout, which is hardly available in other web-based platforms. 

Simply upload a picture of your plot and handpick the elements you need to transform the landscape. The results are usually instant and rendered in 3D. So, if that sounds like a sweet deal, get this stat.

What Could’ve Been Better? 

The only glitch in this grand scheme of things is that the app is not supported on phones or tablets. If you plan on using this, you’ll need a laptop or a PC to create your designs. We would’ve liked it better if it was more accessible, as many designers prefer working on their handheld devices. 

  • Allows users to include garden paths, patios, and driveways
  • Customize the laying style and pattern of the path or patio
  • App incorporates garden wall, pillars, and edging style
  • App provides instant results rendered in 3D
  • Web-based tool not supported on phones or tablets
Compatibility: Web-Based (PC, Laptop) | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Patio, Paths, Wall, etc. | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. Structure Studios

We’re halfway through our list, and now is a good time to introduce Structure Studios, an excellent paid platform for professionals and design enthusiasts. If you’re looking to graduate from free apps and need something with a little more complexity and challenge, this software will definitely impress. 

Why Did We Like It?

Structure Studios offers Vizterra, a unique platform where you can create your landscape designs in 2D and transform them into a 3D format. It provides a streamlined and intuitive interface where you can access all the tools required for refined work. 

And since it’s primarily meant for professional use, you can make a full-fledged presentation and pitch it to your clients. As designers, we understand the need for constant fine-tuning, given that your clients may want to make specific changes in the layout. 

With Vizterra, such alterations are a breeze, as you can instantly reposition different objects, and the app will automatically recalculate the changes. Furthermore, it allows you to design with precise measurements, thanks to GIS terrain data, providing accurate, high-clarity visual feed with 3″ per pixel detail.  

Lastly, you can import images, trace them, and pick the ideal scale, so you can have absolute control over your design, thereby eliminating unnecessary guesswork. 

What Could’ve Been Better? 

After you finish the free trial period, you need to pay monthly subscription charges to continue using the app. Compared to other professional design tools, Vizterra comes with a hefty fee, and that may not work out if you’re on a tight budget. 

  • Design in 2D and transform your plans into 3D
  • Users can make a complete presentation to their clients
  • GIS terrain data enables accurate measurements
  • Import, trace, and scale images for precisely planned layouts
  • Hefty monthly subscription charges
Compatibility: Windows | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Vizterra (2D to 3D tool) | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Subscription
  1. Chief Architect’s Home Designer Software

Your dream home should also include the perfect exterior, as the entrance and the surroundings largely contribute to the overall decor. Regardless of whether you’re a professional or a DIY enthusiast, we’re sure this paid app will tick all your boxes. So, go ahead and create some outlandish layouts with this one.   

Why Did We Like It?

First of all, we’re very impressed with the intuitive interface, allowing users to seamlessly navigate across different features and controls. Straight of the bat, you can create 3D layouts with this design tool and even include cross-sections and accurate dimensions to your project. 

The best part is that you can make artistic renditions of your designs with technical illustration, watercolor, or vector techniques. Long story short, you can experiment and bring alive your imagination with this highly advanced software. 

Apart from that, it lets you customize exterior walls, decks, lighting, among other things, providing a realistic preview of your renovation project. You can also engage in ‘walk-throughs’, thanks to the digitally immersive experience. Besides, you may even record it and stylize the walk-through to make it more visually appealing. 

What Could’ve Been Better? 

There’s no sugarcoating here, but it’s a steep learning curve with the Home Designer Software. Therefore, we recommend using it only if you have mastered a range of designing skills and know your job inside out. Entry-level users and amateurs may feel out of depth with this one.  

  • Allows users to incorporate cross-sections and precise dimensions
  • Experiment with technical illustration, watercolor, or vector techniques
  • Users can customize exterior walls, decks, lighting, etc
  • Take part in digitally immersive walk-throughs and record the event
  • Steep learning curve for entry-level users and amateur designers
Compatibility: Windows, Mac | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Vector, Watercolor tools | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Subscription
  1. HGTV Ultimate Home Design

Sometimes, a free app is not enough to digitally recreate your landscape. More often than not, users tend to feel restricted and fail to reach their full potential in terms of creativity. So, if you’re feeling a little inhibited by such apps and want to use something within an affordable price range, get started with the HGTV Ultimate Home Design. 

Why Did We Like It?

There’s very little to not like about this app, but let’s start with the basics first. Simply put, using this is a cakewalk, even if you have had minimal experience with a design tool. The controls are intuitively laid, and you don’t need much time to figure out what does what. 

It’s easy as all you gotta do is follow 3 simple steps – design, personalize and furnish. And voila, your landscape mock-up is ready. Nevertheless, if you get stuck midway, you can always refer to the video tutorials available on the platform. 

What floored us is the ultra-realistic 3D viewing and the extensive 3D library, which probably includes every element you can imagine in your outdoors. However, if that’s not enough to convince you, the 360° panorama option coupled with a virtual walk-through surely will. 

Lastly, you can also incorporate lighting and irrigation to your project, which is a significant advantage for most users. 

What Could’ve Been Better? 

It suffers from some minor glitches since it’s an old program, and there haven’t been many updates since its launch. We would have liked it more if the developers included some much-needed advancements. Regardless, if you’re a professional with enough technical know-how, you can begin with this app. 

  • Fast and easy app with only 3 steps to follow
  • 360° panorama viewing along with virtual walk-throughs
  • Extensive library of 3D objects plus 3D visualization
  • Includes provision for irrigation and outdoor lighting
  • App has not seen many updates since launch
Compatibility: Windows | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Outdoor Elements | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: Yes | Free/Subscription: Subscription (21-days Free trial)
  1. Arborgold

Arborgold is another fantastic app that will satisfy your zeal for creativity and innovation. While it’s primarily used by real estate agents and other industry professionals, even novices can find great benefits in using this tool. So, whether you’re in the building business or not, don’t forget to check this out. 

Why Did We Like It?

First things first, Arborgold is a renowned one-stop online service that has been around for 25 years, ensuring high customer satisfaction and business growth. Their landscape design tool is available for free, and you can use the platform even if you don’t use their services. 

As for the designer, we’re very impressed with the range of features they have to offer. While the sketching bit is 2D only, that won’t stop you from creating realistic blueprints. On that note, the app allows you to make freehand drawings, which is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after features among artists.     

Furthermore, you can import images as well as geo-satellite photos, and work on them to create bonafide landscapes. Unlike most other free apps, it comes with a vast object library, featuring lighting, plants, and hardscapes.  

What Could’ve Been Better? 

Arborgold is an online business tool, primarily meant for customer services and other requirements. Therefore, this designing app is not their main thing, and as such, you cannot expect it to do anything above and beyond basic functions. So, if you’re still satisfied with that, go ahead and use it. 

  • Free design tool can be used without buying services
  • Allows users to make freehand sketches on a 2D interface
  • Imports images and geo-satellite photos for precise layouts
  • Vast object library featuring lighting, plants, and hardscape
  • Basic app; cannot perform any higher functions
Compatibility: Web-Based | 3D Modeling: No | Template/Library: Plants, Hardscapes | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: Not Practical | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. Terragen

Terragen is a paid app that has recently been making a lot of waves in the design and artist community. At the outset, we had our reservations about the utility of this app, but once we got the hang of it, there was no going back. Honestly, it’s that addictive, and the results are exceedingly good.  

Why Did We Like It?

First and foremost, this app is the most reliable companion for users looking to create natural outdoor environments on their screens. The animation is top-of-the-line, and we have no complaints about image rendering whatsoever. 

It’s comprehensive, easy to use, and the perfect designing tool which understands the type of look you want to achieve. For instance, you can personalize the terrain and incorporate elevation to give your project a life-like look and feel. 

Furthermore, you can add illumination and multiple objects to recreate your landscape in a way that best defines your personal taste. Lastly, it comes with two subscription plans so you can purchase something within your budget.  

What Could’ve Been Better? 

File-related operations can cause some snags in the software as it struggles to load heavier formats. That aside, it’s still a dependable app in the long run and worth the up-front investment. So, if you want to explore some paid options, Terragen might be the perfect fit for you. 

  • Ideal for creating natural outdoor environments on screen
  • Superior animation with excellent image rendering results
  • Users can personalize the terrain and incorporate elevation
  • Add illumination and multiple objects to recreate your landscape
  • File-related operations can cause some snags in the app
Compatibility: Windows, Mac | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Outdoor Elements | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Subscription
  1. Lands Design

If you thought that we’ve run out of free options, then we have the Lands Design app to surprise you. This practical yet highly intuitive design app will fulfill your boldest artistic endeavors and more, that too, without a costly subscription charge. So, if that sounds like a good deal, get cracking with this one.   

Why Did We Like It?

For starters, Land’s Design is an excellent, user-friendly software that releases a beta version of the tool every 90 days. Honestly, it cannot be more up-to-date than this, and we can’t hold back our excitement. 

Therefore, any prior glitches and errors get fixed, and new features are rolled out to further streamline the user experience. Basically, this app is a landscape design plugin for Rhino, which is a 3D modeling platform. 

As far as creative liberty goes, you can design your life-like 3D mock-ups while making use of the massive object library at your disposal. On that note, we’re very impressed with the different outdoor elements available, including trees, plants, garden ornaments, furniture, etc. 

Lastly, if you’re using the app professionally, you’ll find the virtual tours quite handy as your clients can see what their landscape will look like.  

What Could’ve Been Better? 

There’s very little to not like about this software; however, we couldn’t help but notice this one flaw. The app includes irrigation plans, but they lack in practicality. We would rather that the developers research a bit more in this area and include features that can actually be used. 

  • New beta version of the app is released every 90 days
  • Previous glitches and errors are fixed to streamline user experience
  • Includes an array of plants, trees, outdoor ornaments, and furniture
  • Virtual tours help clients understand their landscape better
  • Irrigation system feature lacks in practicality
Compatibility: Windows | 3D Modeling: Yes | Template/Library: Outdoor Elements | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. Designor Buddy

Designer Buddy is a free option that will not disappoint you, regardless of the outdoor environment you’re trying to create. That said, you don’t need a CAD background to design your layout on this platform. It’s simple enough and, as such, is a great assistant for your artistic ventures.

Why Did We Like It?

To begin with, Designor Buddy is an open-source design software widely used in the architecture community. The fact that it’s free, does not diminish its utility, and as such, we recommend it to both professionals and beginners. 

Since it’s an OpenOffice Draw file, you can seamlessly integrate your landscape photos with realistic 2D effects. While the software is primarily meant for designing home interiors, it can also be used for making neat outdoors, thanks to its diverse range of features.    

For instance, it includes layer tools so you can reposition different outdoor elements without interfering with the landscape design. Also, it’s scale-enabled, which is a life-saver as you can input accurate measurements from the get-go. 

As for the object library, we can’t really complain as it more or less includes everything you could want. All in all, it’s a handy app that supports ample customization and caters to refined tastes.  

What Could’ve Been Better?

We do not have any complaints regarding features or app interface, as it’s all great for a free design tool. Nevertheless, one thing that bothered us is that it does not support 3D modeling, especially when you can find no-cost options with such functions. So, if you’re content with 2D content sketches, might as well give this a shot.

  • Open-source design software suitable for all skill levels
  • OpenOffice Draw file integrates landscapes photos with 2D effects
  • Scale-enabled app allows users to get accurate measurements
  • Layer tools enable users to reposition elements on the layout
  • Does not support 3D modeling
Compatibility: Windows | 3D Modeling: No | Template/Library: Outdoor Elements | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free
  1. ConceptDraw

Up next, we’ve got another interesting app – ConceptDraw. Some of us are not familiar with freehand drawing or 3D modeling, but that doesn’t mean you cannot tinker with a design tool. ConceptDraw is a digital solution that can help you sharpen your skills while gaining in-depth knowledge about the job.  

Why Did We Like It?

Much like our previous option, this, too, is an open-source design application with a myriad of outdoor elements. If you’re curious about what the library includes, then let’s just say it features water bodies, patios, gazebos, and furniture, in addition to plants and bushes. 

Plus, you can create a landscape blueprint within minutes since it comes with preloaded templates, which can be customized as per requirements. To start with a project, simply select a suitable template and adjust the necessary parameters such as scale, page size, measurement, etc. 

After that, all you gotta do is ‘drag and drop’ objects to furnish the space. If you stick to the same set of items, you may even group them, so you don’t have to individually pick them out. Lastly, users can print the final project and even export the file in multiple formats, including PDF, PPT, HTML, etc. 

What Could’ve Been Better? 

Our only gripe with ConceptDraw is that it does not allow users to import files or models. While the use of templates is very thoughtful and praiseworthy, we would have liked it more if it was more flexible that way. That aside, this is hands down one of the best-paid options with a bonus of a 21-day free trial.  

  • Includes interesting outdoor elements like water bodies, gazebos, etc
  • Preloaded templates can be set to scale with page adjustments
  • Easy to design by using the drag and drop technique
  • Designs can be printed and exported in PDF, PPT, and HTML formats
  • Does not allow users to import files or models
Compatibility: Windows, Mac | 3D Modeling: No | Template/Library: Water Body, Gazebo, Furniture | Import/Export Files: Yes (PDF, PPT, HTML) | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Subscription (21-days Free trial)
  1. Kerkythea

Now that we’ve reached the end of our list, we’d like to finish off with a fun and free app – Kerkythea. However, we don’t want you to compromise on quality even when you’re not spending a single penny on a product license. That’s why we want to introduce Kerkythea and go out in style.  

Why Did We Like It?

First of all, this freebie works with both MAC and Windows OS, which is great news for most designers out there. However, the good things don’t end here as this app produces high-quality, professional standard image rendering, so you can create the most life-like designs. 

Apart from that, we like that you can customize materials, lighting, and other parameters as per project requirements. The best part is that everything from the render settings, material editor to the real-time viewer is available on the same interface. Therefore, you don’t have to toggle between multiple windows to add more layers. 

Plus, you also have access to panoramas, interactive visuals, and projection tools, which are usually amiss in free designing tools. Also, if you’re facing some obstacles while designing, you can refer to the guides available on the website, which will put you right back on track.   

What Could’ve Been Better? 

There are a few bugs in the program which can alarmingly slow down work. As design professionals, we understand the need for fast and intuitive apps; unfortunately, Kerkythea needs to go miles on that front. Therefore, we recommend using it only if you’re still in the learning stage and exploring different options. 

  • App is compatible with both Windows and MAC OS
  • Professional standard image rendering for the most life-like designs
  • Render settings, material editor, and real-time viewer on the same interface
  • Website includes user guides which can prove handy while working
  • The app has a few bugs which can slow down operations
Compatibility: Windows, Mac | 3D Modeling: No | Template/Library: Outdoor Elements | Import/Export Files: No | Irrigation System: No | Free/Subscription: Free

Best Landscaping Design Software Comparison Table

Software Compatibility 3D Modeling Template/Library Import/Export Files Irrigation System Free/Subscription
Plan-A-Garden Web-Based Yes Wide Plant Selection No No Free
SketchUp Free Web-Based Yes 3D Warehouse Library Yes No Free
PRO Landscape Windows, Mac Yes Object & Plant Library No No Free, Paid Versions
Gardena’s My Garden Web-Based No Outdoor Elements No Yes Free
iScape App Apple Devices No Limited Plant Selection No No Free
Showoff.com The Visualizer Windows No Large Objects Library No No Free
DreamPlan Home Design Windows, Mac Yes Outdoor Elements No No Free, Paid Versions
Marshalls Garden Visualiser Web-Based (PC, Laptop) Yes Patio, Paths, Wall, etc. No No Free
Structure Studios Windows Yes Vizterra (2D to 3D tool) No No Subscription
Chief Architect’s Home Designer Software Windows, Mac Yes Vector, Watercolor tools No No Subscription
HGTV Ultimate Home Design Windows Yes Outdoor Elements No Yes Subscription (21-days Free trial)
Arborgold Web-Based No Plants, Hardscapes No Not Practical Free
Terragen Windows, Mac Yes Outdoor Elements No No Subscription
Lands Design Windows Yes Outdoor Elements No No Free
Designor Buddy Windows No Outdoor Elements No No Free
ConceptDraw Windows, Mac No Water Body, Gazebo, Furniture Yes (PDF, PPT, HTML) No Subscription (21-days Free trial)
Kerkythea Windows, Mac No Outdoor Elements No No Free

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of app is best suited for me (free or paid)?

Now, there’s no straightforward answer to this question as what works best for you ultimately depends on the outcome you’re looking for. 
Nevertheless, we suggest using a free app if you’re just looking to test the waters. This way, you get a free hand to experiment and work with ready-made templates. Once you get the hang of it, you can move on to more professional options, which are usually paid services. 

Is my landscaping design tool compatible with iOS and Android?

Apps like SketchUp, ProLandscape, and Gardena’s My Garden are supported by both iOS and Android devices. However, some designing tools are meant for Apple users only. Therefore, look up the user information for individual apps before deciding on a particular option. 
That said, multi-compatibility is the most sought-after feature among digital creators, so you can log in through multiple devices and work on the same platform. 

Can I share my layout?

This bit is crucial as not all apps allow users to download their layouts. At the same time, some tools are restricted in terms of file formats. So, if file sharing is a key feature that you’re looking for, make sure that your app allows that. In fact, in the case of some apps, only the paid version allows multiple file sharing.

Landscape architect designing on site analysis plan for resort


Now that we’ve reached the end of our guide, we hope you could find the most suitable design tool to create the most breathtakingly beautiful landscape. But before you make up your mind, we suggest that you gain a little more insight into individual tools. 

Also, make sure that the designer simplifies your job rather than complicating things. After all, you’re looking for digital assistance to bring alive your ideal outdoor layout.   

On that note, we recommend using an entry-level app first before moving on to more intricate designing. So, just go ahead and unleash your inner Picasso, and we’re sure you can recreate your digital reality. 

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