When you work in the landscape industry, you’re making your clients’ green dreams come true. The problem is, not everyone can look at a 2D drawing and visualize what it’ll look like after it’s been installed. Including a 3D-rendering of your landscape design in your proposal/presentation can be the difference between closing that deal or not. This doesn’t mean you won’t still need traditional 2D drawings; your crews/contractors will still need a detailed plan with dimensions they can reference while installing. Rather, anything you can include in your presentation to the client to enhance their visualization of the finished product will not only add an extra layer of professionalism but will also get them excited to see the space after it’s been transformed. While the concept of presenting your designs in 3D may not be new, it has transitioned from being a competitive advantage to an essential element in getting more clients. That being said, moving into the 3D-modelling side of the industry does pose its own unique set of challenges.
The Learning Curve of 3D Landscape Design Software
Learning any new skill set can be challenging without the right support. This statement holds true for learning a 3D landscape design software. When adding 3D landscape design software to your toolkit, you need to keep an objective in mind- upscaling your presentation and being the first to win the project, but if learning the software takes ages, your purpose is defeated.
The solution: view demos before you purchase. Do the transition steps seem easy to apply? Do the terms of the software tools seem relatable and apply to your industry? You can even request/schedule a 1:1 walkthrough of the software, if available. Discuss your concerns and objectives with the software provider and analyze how willing they are to resolve any issues you may have. Also, keep in mind that everyone’s learning curve is different and cannot be generalized; at this stage, you can gauge the level of support offered by the software provider, and evaluate your understanding after viewing the demo.
Most 3D Software is Not Exclusive to the Landscape Industry
The current market is saturated with 3D software options, but you’ll want to choose one that fulfills your landscape design needs. For a long time, the green industry struggled with a lack of 3D design software that also had access to landscape-specific components. For example: if your client wanted to see a different style of paver on a pathway or patio, you would have to create the new paver using the tools available in your generalized 3D design software; doing this could take hours! The more time it takes for you to get those revisions back to the client is the more time they have to consider choosing another landscaping company for the job.
Luckily there are landscape-specific applications and comprehensive component libraries available to add on to your existing 3D software, making it significantly easier to render or make changes to your design. With these libraries you can choose from over 1,000 components including real plants, ponds, pools, rose arbors, cabanas, pergolas, and more. Having access to landscape-specific 3D components significantly reduces your time spent on creating your design and provides your client with a stunning visual representation of the finished space.
Consider the Cleanup Time
When you convert your drawing from a 2D software that is not well-built for 3D landscape designs, it can blur out or misrepresent the details. Cleaning up such a drawing can be a very daunting task. Anyone who has spent time converting a 2D drawing to a 3D rendering has, at one time or another, found that the 3D representation of his/her 2D drawing did not turn out the way they had envisioned. The plant details are lost, 3D textures look blurred, and structures like patios appear as poorly drawn wireframes.
Using the right 3D landscape design software with appropriate plugins can save you time on the cleanup process. A custom plugin can automatically fix CAD drawings in a single step. Once you’ve imported your 2D file, you can scan it through the plugin to fix common 2D drawing/CAD geometry issues. The shorter the cleanup time, the quicker your turnaround time for proposals.
With the right software to support your 3D proposals, you can start winning more clients, building a portfolio of models to showcase your work, and charging a premium design fee for your 3D services.