Dipping Your Toe Into 3D Waters

Dipping Your Toe Into 3D Waters

The concept of 3D modelling for landscape design isn’t a new one, but for many it’s a consideration that’s been on the table for many years. What’s the hesitation? Well, there’s many and that’s ok. For others, like any other technology adoption model, the early adopters have embraced 3D landscape design and haven’t looked back. Does that mean they never produce CAD drawings? No, it just means that what is presented to the client is a beautifully imagined and visualized outdoor living space that can speak for itself. The CAD drawings and color renderings go to support the conceptual design process, assist in producing construction documents, and layout/dimension plans for your crews.

Think of it in terms that you’re adding to your skill set rather than replacing one for another. Layering on your skills as they relate to landscape design software solutions can take time and a will to grow and continuously improve. The most common question we get is “how does it all work and how do I get started?”. I’ve broken it down, step-by-step on what the process is to go from CAD plan to 3D model ready to be presented to your client.

There are a few things to consider as you think about dipping your toe into the 3D waters:

  1. Having the right hardware to support 3D modeling (powerful processor, enough RAM, solid state hard drive, and very importantly having a dedicated graphics card).
  2. Choosing the right software solution to support the finished presentation you’re looking for. Here at DynaSCAPE, we chose to integrate with SketchUp because we believe it is the best-in-class 3D software solution regardless of what industry you’re in. It just so happens SketchUp is awesome for landscape design!
  3. Invest the right amount of time and effort into learning how the software works. The right amount of time is going to vary from person to person and that’s ok. Most people have a decent understanding of how they learn best. Are videos helpful or do you need someone beside you to show you how it works? The right amount of time is going to depending on lots but what to take away from this is that you should carve out dedicated learning time to figure out how it works.
  4. Build a portfolio of models that you have created and use those to show your potential clients of what you’re now capable of doing. Use your learning time to build that portfolio which will help you get paid work.
  5. Creating a business model for the 3D services you now offer. Charging a premium design fee for your 3D services is what most landscape designers are doing now. Build a business model for yourself that will help you recoup the investment you made in acquiring your new 3D modeling skills and will be a continual revenue generator for you.

Here’s how it works (if you’re using DynaSCAPE’s Design software)

Step 1:

Export

From DS|Design choose ‘Export to SketchUp format’

Step 2:

SU-Step2

Open your design in SketchUp.

Step 3:

SU-Step3

Run the DynaSCAPE CAD Cleanup tool to prepare it for modeling.

Step 4:

SU-Step4

Begin modeling the house and hardscape elements.

Step 5:

SU-Step5

Add material textures.

Step 6:

SU-Step6

Replace 2D symbols with 3D models.

Step 7:

SU-Step6

Finish model and create scenes from various angles.

Step 8: Prepare a presentation for your client by:

  • Exporting them as images and  printing them out or emailing them to a client or
  • Creating a  walk through video or
  • Rendering the model with one of the many rendering programs to create photorealistic images of your finished design.

From DynaSCAPE to SketchUp

Basic Steps for Modeling

Presentation Options Overview

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The Choice For Landscape Design Professionals

The Choice For Landscape Design Professionals

The market for landscape design solutions has grown immensely over the years, but thousands of professional landscape designers continue to choose DynaSCAPE Design as their solution of choice. The spectrum within the market place is full, from entry level app like solutions to sophisticated CAD-to-3D systems to choose from can often make it a difficult decision on what direction to go with for your landscape company.

The reasons that initially attract landscape design professionals to DynaSCAPE are vast and many, but what’s important are the reasons they continue to use our solutions through years and decades are what we think you should know about!

 

Here are the top 5 reasons landscape design professionals use DynaSCAPE’s landscape design software solutions

  1. Measurement and takeoff tools – Cluster figures, group them into massings and auto-count them for label quantities. Instantly calculate areas that would be time-consuming to calculate by hand. Handles unusual shapes with ease. Includes easy, quick tools for placing linear and radius dimensions on the drawing. 
  2. Creating layout and dimension plans for crews – Quickly create and print a dimension plan for on-site layout without having to redraw. Improve communication of your landscape design ideas with the crews on site. No more time wasted measuring plans by hand. Many landscape designers are also showing key areas in their design in color.
  3. Easily create plant catalogs – Create full color plant picture catalogues in minutes. Plants from your material list are matched up with images and cultural information. Plant picture catalogues are produced as Adobe PDF documents for easy printing. Option to use your own images.
  4. Connection to DynaSCAPE Color for beautiful color rendered plans – This is an advanced tool that lets you add an entire spectrum of subtle colorings, textures, opacities and shadings to any DynaSCAPE design with just a few series of mouse-clicks.  Like DynaSCAPE Design itself, Color again raises the bar on landscape design drawing excellence, injecting a new level of professionalism and a new dimension of detail to your designs that must be seen to be fully appreciated.
  5. Integration with SketchUp for best-in-class 3D modelling –  DynaSCAPE users will benefit from a our export feature that will prepare and then convert your DS|Design drawings directly to SketchUp format (.skp), allowing you to open them directly in SketchUp.

We have also worked hard to develop solid relationships with high schools, colleges, and universities through North America where DynaSCAPE Design is taught in well over 100 of them and included as part of the curriculum. The result is a trained and qualified person ready to hit the ground running.

Implementing Landscape Software

Implementing Landscape Software

What does it take to implement Landscape Design or Landscape Business Systems in the “Off” Season?

by Joe Salemi, Product Marketing Manager, DynaSCAPE Software

Well, let me start off by saying in my 15+ years in this business I have yet to experience an offseason. It’s more transitioning from one season to the next. Debriefing on our performance of the last one and planning for the next. Where does this leave you if you want to implement a software system that will inherently improve the way you do business? Well, let’s just say it’s going to add a layer of complexity to your planning for the upcoming season. It involves a predefined strategy and set of tactics that will ensure success.

Implementing Landscape Design Software

One of the questions I most often get about our landscape design software, DS|Design, is “what’s the learning curve?”. While the answer is hugely subjective, it does really depend on you. If you’re finally making the transition away from hand-drawing then I’d advise you earmark the better part of 4-6 weeks reviewing videos, signing up for online training, and studying the resources we have available. This will get you to the point of understanding the fundamentals, having good proficiency with the tool sets and enough practice under your belt that you’ll have confidence to start cranking out design projects with pride.

Start by reviewing our training videos. These will get you going very quickly. There’s approx. 4hrs worth of videos with each one being 4-5 minutes in length. Very bite size. We also have a quick start guide. Definitely use this, it’ll help orient you to the application. But what it really comes down to is your commitment to learning how the software works. If you commit the time it will absolutely come back to you in spades.

Implementing a landscape business operating system

This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your landscape business. What software solution will you place your trust in to help you manage the day-to-day operations is a complex decision. A decision that you shouldn’t take very lightly. Here’s a few tips for engaging in some due diligence:

  1. Create a list of functions that are absolute deal breakers for you if the software you’re looking at doesn’t have them.
  2. Take stock of what you like and dislike about your current workflows. See how the prospective new software will help improve what you’re doing now.
  3. Make sure everyone who needs to be part of the process is involved. The owner(s), managers, supervisors, office staff buy-in is critical to this process.
  4. Don’t just learn about the functionality of the prospective software, find out about how the software company approaches implementation and training. Understand how you will be supported following the implementation.
  5. Get referrals from the prospective software company. A good referral isn’t just a lot of praise, it’s getting real about the highlights and the lowlights of the software and the software company.

Once you’ve made your decision, act fast. It’s better to just rip the band-aid clean off then letting the decision weigh on you for weeks or months. Here are a few tips to help make sure your implementation is successful:

  1. Have the right people in the room for the appropriate training sessions. Appoint a point person.
  2. Start gathering data (financials, overhead line items, sales projections, workflows, production rates, material lists, plant lists, labor rates, equipment costs…etc).
  3. Think about any customizations that you would like that would be specific to you.
  4. Work with your implementation and training specialist to set out a realistic schedule helping you get your new system setup
  5. Regular communication and feedback between your team and the implementation and training specialist. Involve a product manager or account manager when needed.
  6. Keep an open mind through the process.
  7. Stay connected to the software company, make sure everyone on your team is getting release notes and other important information about the new system you have in place.

We truly live and breathe this stuff everyday. We love it when you are in the process of doing your due diligence. Not every system out there is right for everyone. Do what you can now to do make sure you have checked off every box on your list. You’re investing in operating system for your landscape business. We want to make sure you’re investing with us, check out DynaSCAPE Manage360!

2017 APLD Conference Recap

2017 APLD Conference Recap

“APLD is about people joining people!” Here’s a recap of the 2017 International Landscape Design Conference in Boston, MA!

Association of Professional Landscape DesignersBy Joe Salemi, Product Marketing Manager, DynaSCAPE Software, APLD Member and Sponsor, and APLD Board of Directors

As a landscape designer or a business owner that has landscape designers on staff, if you haven’t been to an APLD conference you’re doing yourself a serious injustice. The 2017 International Landscape Design Conference was in Boston this past July. A few hundred landscape designers arrived in Boston eager to hear from some pretty incredible speakers on VERY relevant and timely topics and tours of private gardens only available through the APLD conference.

In her closing address to conference attendees APLD’s President, Lisa Port (by way of Seattle, WA) said “APLD is about people joining people.” There is no truer statement. APLD as an organization started because people felt like there wasn’t any other group that best represented their interests. It grew with more people. More people joined because they believed in what their peers were doing.

If you haven’t ever been to one of APLD’s landscape design conferences, here’s what you have missed:

  • meeting some of the most influential landscape designers in the profession
  • listening to some of the most engaging and dynamic speakers unpack uber valuable content specifically for landscape design
  • seeing and experiencing some of the most amazing private gardens

This year in Boston, speakers were incredible, the networking opportunities were out of this world, and the private gardens were what landscape designers dreams are made of. It’s always fun going to the New England area, and who doesn’t love going to Boston? The food scene in Boston is off the charts! The local organizing committee did an outstanding job selecting the private gardens we would be seeing.

The format of the conference goes something like this:

  • Pre-conference tour/activities and reception with sponsors and delegates on Thursday
  • Full conference with keynote speaker and educational sessions (lots of CEU’s!) on Friday
  • More keynote speakers and garden visits on Saturday
  • Full day of garden visits on Sunday
  • Post conference tour on Monday

Save the date for next year, the APLD conference is coming to Toronto, Ontario Canada! September 13 – 17, 2018!! 

 

Here is a little photo gallery of some the experiences I had during the conference!

About APLD

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers is dedicated to advancing the profession of landscape design and to promoting the recognition of landscape designers as qualified and dedicated professionals. Members receive a myriad of benefits and opportunities that support that core mission. Through volunteer efforts by those who are committed to its growth, APLD includes members throughout the United States who support multiple state chapters as well as individual international members. The association’s day-to-day management is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA.

 

DynaSCAPE is proud to be APLD’s Gold Sponsor!

Frustrated With Your Systems

Frustrated With Your Systems

Frustrated Landscape Contractor

May 2017 — The landscape season is in full boom mode all over North America. You’ve planned for this. You spent the latter part of last year and the early part of this year getting ready for it. What you have planned for is here upon you and your team, working the plan and striving to achieve the goals you put in place.

We’ve been fielding lots of phone calls and emails from landscape professionals like you that are in full operation of their season but have found quickly that there are some significant pain points with the design and business systems that they have in place. Some of the common pains we have heard about are:

  • Leads are falling through the cracks
  • It takes too long to do take offs from the design so the estimator can do their work
  • Working from a generic estimating system that their shoe-horning for landscape construction jobs and maintenance services
  • Estimating based on a gut feeling or experience
  • Not any real systems in place
  • Many software applications in place that don’t speak to each other contributing to disjointed operations
  • No mechanism in place to track actual costs of doing the job

This is really where DynaSCAPE comes in. We have been helping these landscape professionals by expediting the setup of their systems, getting them enrolled in our training sessions, and outfitting them the software solutions that are right for them. Alleviating frustrations in the way you manage your back office everyday is a core strength of our implementation and training specialists. It’s at the foundational level that our software solutions are based on.

Our team here at DynaSCAPE is ready to assist you in working through some of the most difficult time of the year to help you run a efficient, effective, and profitable operation.

If any of this sounds remotely familiar, let us know. The DynaSCAPE team is ready to help!

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The APLD Conference Experience

The APLD Conference Experience

2016APLDConf

I thought I would share my experience of travelling to Santa Fe, NM for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers’ annual conference. I’ve been going to the APLD conference for four years now with each experience being better than the last, making great connections with landscape designers from all over the United States.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend, boy you’re missing out. Landscape designers from everywhere come to get inspired and network with their peers. The personal fulfillment you receive from attending this conference will refuel your batteries and will have you anticipating the next one.

The basic framework of the annual APLD conference is an optional pre-conference tour, a full day of educational sessions with world class speakers, an awards of excellence gala, two full days of garden tours (handpicked by a local site committee), and a post-conference tour of more gardens.

This year, we were in for a treat, getting to tour through public and private gardens in the Santa Fe, NM area. Some of the gardens were in quiet residential areas, some were in the mountains with elevations of near 10,000 ft! I took quite a few photos of the different gardens we toured and the conference festivities. One thing I did expect more of, and I don’t really know why perhaps it was because I was heading to the desert, but I was expecting to see more cactus in natural areas. There were lots of planted cactus but not very many in natural areas.

A good many of the gardens we saw had quite a bit of very expensive art pieces integrated into the landscape. It was beautiful to see how some of the landscape designers integrated some of the homeowners’ art pieces into their projects.

Check out the photo gallery!

About APLD

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers is still dedicated to advancing the profession of landscape design and to promoting the recognition of landscape designers as qualified and dedicated professionals.

www.apld.org