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You Don’t Need to Sharpen Pencils to Start a Landscape Design

Every landscape design for a backyard, garden, pool, outdoor living space or kitchen, starts with a blank page. There is only the possibility of what the design could be, with ideas being tossed around by the customer and designer.

There is also a looming deadline to meet to get the design back to the customer, and as soon as the first pencil hits the paper, the timer has started.

Landscape designers do have a choice in how they complete their designs. They can sharpen their pencils, grab their rulers and protractors, and have an eraser handy for mistakes. Or they can use a landscape design software that will have them working on the finer details quickly.

What are designers getting with landscape design software?

  • Pre-built templates
  • Pre-defined layers, line weights and text labels
  • Ability to start from another available project
  • Ability to upload a photo to design from

You don’t need pencil and paper for this class on landscape design.

Let’s get right into how it works.

Working to scale

Scale is everything in a landscape design. No matter how big the paper is you are designing on, it will never be as large as the real thing. So scale is always something important to keep in mind when working on a landscape design. But that means every detail has to be measured exactly to keep the scale consistent. It’s time-consuming and difficult to replicate over and over again.

If only a template was available to start every design off on the right scale. With landscape design software, select the template and prototype you want to start working with, the size of paper to print on and the scale to work with. Right away, your CAD software has you ready to work to scale.

Working with layers and lines

A landscape design has many different layers and lines woven through it. A line to represent the house here, the driveway there, the new deck, the garden, the landscape around the pool. It all needs to be represented in a way that is easy to tell apart from each other, and easy enough to adjust later. Landscape designers can shade in the bricks of a wall or the color of a driveway, but it’s another time-consuming task to get the outline of a property completed quickly.

Having pre-defined line weights in landscape design software makes this process very easy to get started. With different layers built into the landscape software for things such as buildings, decks, driveways and fences, getting a different line weight and color is a click away. To insert the house the deck is going to be built off, select a building layer and insert your proper measurements to instantly create the line. No measuring with a ruler, no switching pencils, and no hoping it’s still to scale. As landscape design software will take care of the scale aspect you selected before, giving you an accurate starting point for your design.

Add your labels

Another time-consuming part can be labelling a design to point out specific details about each layer and line. What does everything represent? What does it all mean? And if you’re labelling by hand, can your customer read what is says? With a CAD landscape design software, text and labels are pre-defined and easily editable, so your labels are clear, to scale and uniform. A professional-looking landscape design should be labelled properly and with a software solution, much of the labelling can be completed automatically. And you can easily turn the labels on and off to get an unobstructed view of the design, just as it is.

Working from another file

There generally aren’t extra pages of a landscape design laying around for a designer to get their hands on to start designing. They have to do the work themselves, collect the measurements and geometry and produce the first sketch. So, every single design has to begin with a blank piece of paper. And again, more time is being spent than if they were able to just grab a pre-made layout or template of the property. Which generally doesn’t exist.

For users of CAD software, however, an AutoCAD file could be available, and if it is, you have just saved yourself plenty of time getting the project started. Landscape design software allows you to import AutoCAD files and use them as your base plan. It will include all property lines, buildings, sidewalks and driveways. Everything you need to get your project started with accurate information. And best of all, you don’t have to freehand draw everything from scratch and it remains all in scale.

Scan to start

Much like working with AutoCAD files, landscape design software allows you to scan in images to begin tracing. Has your customer come up with their own idea for a design on a piece of scrap paper? Well, you can scan it in and start from there. Or from a site plan, a lot plan or a sketch you have done from in the field. With pencil and paper, you generally can’t turn your sketches done on-site into job-winning designs. You need to start from the beginning and work with a blank page.

Whereas, by scanning in a lot plan, you have the property lines, dimensions, buildings and other obstructions all available to trace. It’s an easy way to start your design right and get the lines you need. Then you can start quickly working on the finer details of your landscape design.

Drop the pencil, pick up a mouse

Some landscape designers don’t want to drop the pencils and pick up a computer mouse and use landscape design software. They prefer a hands-on approach to landscape design. The industry, however, is moving towards the more automated, computer-assisted designs. That’s because customers want them faster and designers are under more pressure to complete designs faster.

Just in starting time alone, landscape design software will have you working on the major details in minutes, with accurate and to scale outlines. Get working on your customer’s vision for their backyard space quickly, with a full CAD landscape design software.