Help! I’m bored with my Landscape Design Software.

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I remember the very first day I saw PRO Landscape, a design imaging software for landscaper professionals.  Reaction was something like, “OMG – this is so cool!”  I couldn’t wait to play with it.

The part of the program I fell in love with immediately is where you can overlay plant images on actual downloaded photos of various landscape areas or garden beds.  It was so visual.

From that point on, I dove into the program and started to learn and use it.  Clients like it too.  They like seeing the images of what their home could look like with the plants recommended.  It works in many cases.

However, after five or so years of using this program, and evolving my style of design presentations – I felt a little bored with the software program.  Things like not having specific cultivars to choose from or seeing the same images of the plants with the same bloom color, felt repetitive and limiting.  Let’s face it, after a while, dropping and dragging the same dwarf Alberta spruce onto a photo is – well, uninspiring.

I’m not suggesting that the program does not provide “tremendous value” as way to show images to homeowners on what their landscape could look like with the plants recommended, because this program certainly does.  And coupled with my additional presentation documents, such as details about the plants and other photos I’ve built up with color swatches of my own, it can do wonders to help any homeowner with their design needs.

Maybe it is not the program itself I’m bored with, but that I’m yearning for something more inspiring – I’m searching for a different way to present my design ideas, choices, features, and the rewards one can achieve with a well thought-out garden or landscape design concept.

I know I really enjoy when I ‘walk and talk’ plants with a client onsite at a nursery versus pointing to a presentation with created images.  Being with the live plants is like being at a live rock concert versus watching it on the television.

In my searches for other potential software programs out there, I have had no luck until recently when I spotted an article in the January 2014 issue of greenProfit by Jennifer Polanz on Landscape Software, titled, “An Irresistible Image”.  I thought, oh cool, I’m going to check these out, and I did – today.

First on the list was PRO Landscape by Drafix Software – already know all about it, been using it.  But like I said, I’m bored with this type of software, and you are probably bored right now hearing me say that!!

Next on the article’s list was DynaScape.  It has stuff to manage the landscape business (office paperwork) but it also has several types of options or programs to select from in their product list (this is good – choices, at least).

The DynaScape ‘Color’ program seems pretty cool – probably attracts me because it is the closest thing to “artist-like” where it looks like you hand drew the design.  The design is finished off with really nice color tones, shades, etc.  BUT, it is pricey and must be worth the investment. So before jumping into something like this, I still want to look around some more.

By the way, did you know these types of design software packages can cost $1,200-$1,500 to purchase?  Granted, you make your money back if you use it regularly, and are able to achieve your goals of presenting designs to your clients – no doubt, but they aren’t cheap.

Ok, back to Dynascape’s Color program.  It’s listed at $650 (not too bad) but there is a plus, as in a + sign, of a $4.25 per month charge – for what?  I didn’t look that over, moved onto the next one in the greenPROFIT article.

Idea Spectrum was next.  You can import photos into this program as well, similar to PRO Landscape.  But, I didn’t seem to like it from the first look.  You know how you can make an immediate impression when you view something on the web?  My immediate impression was Idea Spectrum appeared too amateurish for me.  It has 3D features, which is cool – but still, it looked a little – I don’t know – rough, not polished enough for my needs and ideas.

So, I quickly clicked my web browser to view next one by Vectorworks Landmark.  Oh, too high tech for me, fancy, commercial work – too big time for Cathy T.  Move on.

Ok, onto Visual Impact Imaging by Earthscapes.  Well, I’ve seen this one before in person, when I attended a trade show about three years ago.  I distinctly remember watching the demo and thinking – this is so like PRO Landscape.  Why would I change?  Plus I know how to use PRO Landscape, and the thought of a learning curve can be wide if you don’t know have training with these types of programs.  They can be a little tricky to learn and master.  Earthscapes also is about the same price range as PRO Landscape, about $1,195.

After doing a very fast view of the Landscape design software from the highlights in the greenProfit article, I went into my completed design presentation files of last year’s design clients.  I had almost forgotten about some that I did, and the work I added to each image, such as my plant descriptions and my own plant photos with color charts.  Looking back made me recall how impressed the client was when I showed them general ideas to change a bed in their yards with the images I created using PRO Landscape.

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PRO Landscape a good product – not saying it isn’t – but I guess the other side of me is searching for something a bit more, or different – Something maybe crafty, artsy, focused on the plants or… maybe it is just me?  Maybe it is winter!

Well, I guess for now, until I find something else that more suits me, it is back to using PRO Landscape, which I have to reload onto my new laptop, and this will be a little bit of a chore, considering the program is on CD’S– and there is no CD drive on my new laptop.  Time for a visit to the computer store!

However, in the meantime, if you should happen to be reading this – and know of any really cool new design programs which are different from the typical landscape design software, and its easy to use, while being inspiring too – could you let me know, please?  Thank you.

Happy Friday Everyone,

Cathy Testa

Design Imaging_0001 Design Imaging_0002

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