How to choose the right landscape design software for you
Landscape design software is an invaluable aid in creating landscape designs – and a great help in selling them to prospects. But once you have taken the decision to buy a package, the big question is which one! Although the price is important, how can you make sure the software is adapted to your needs? Below we list some of the fundamental questions you have to answer to ensure you get what you want!
How powerful is your computer?
Will the software run on your computer? Although many packages are compatible with Windows 7 or 8, others only work with Windows 10. Your central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU) and random-access memory (at least 8GB RAM) must be powerful enough to run the software. Some packages get around this operating system (OS) problem by proposing a Web version. Last but not least, if you plan to use virtual reality to design your green spaces, the software you get must be compatible with a 3D headset!
How much time do you usually have to design a landscape?
Ours is a hectic business and time is of the essence. For designers in a hurry, the best buy is intuitive photomontage (image stitching) software including a big database of plants, textures and furniture. In just a few clicks, you can design a new green space! On the other hand, if you want to devote more time to a beautiful project, with plans in ultra-realistic 3D for example, you can choose more complex landscape design software with more functionalities and a more detailed graphics.
Who are your prospects?
Public authorities looking to create new green spaces really appreciate 3D graphics and even specify them sometimes in open-to-tender documents for projects. If you work rather for home owners, always remember that to close a sale you have to help them imagine their future garden. To do this choose software that allows you to make a photomontage based on photographs of their homes. This enables you to propose a host of alternatives thanks to the ready-to-use elements you have prepared in advance.
For ambitious projects, 3D landscape design software able to position your project in its real environment can be a winning choice!
What end result are you looking for?
Some landscape designers really enjoy the creativity involved in drawing plans and want software that makes them more fully finished. Others prefer the simplicity of hand-drawn sketches. Your choice will be dictated by how you like to work and the functionalities you need, which brings us to the following point!
What technical functions do you need?
You need to determine the objectives your software must be able to do. You may just want to facilitate plan layouts, or on the other hand decide it has to be a general-purpose tool. For example, a package that can draw the plans you sell to your prospects and also prepare the detailed plans your workers will use to execute your design. This latter kind of software combines the functions of “seen from above” plans and the technical plans printed on paper.
Software packages that show how the design changes season by season are very popular. They greatly facilitate the way your prospect understands your garden design. The guide for your choice is that it must be able to help you close the sale to your prospect!
How much technical support will you need?
The cost between two landscape design software packages can vary by 100% depending on the level of technical support provided by the editor. Most 3D design softwares are difficult to run, the apprenticeship can be complex and often needs the editor’s technical support. If the package you buy does not include any customer backup other than FAQs and basic documentation, you are likely to waste a lot of time in getting to grips with how to manage ground contours, for example! So when you compare software packages always include the technical support cost aspect in your budget!
Do you want your package to prepare job quotes?
Some landscape design software exports all the data in a plan (plants, quantities, surface areas…) to an estimate with just one click – an interesting solution for major projects as you don’t have to retype your quotes, always an off-putting chore. On the other hand, for smaller green space design projects this functionality is not essential, although it does ensure that nothing is forgotten.
Including landscape design software in your tool kit will help you create your landscape projects better and also sell your services more effectively. It is a great sales tool and adds credibility – a selection criterion for your customers. Discover the other essential selection criteria prospects use to pick their landscape designer!
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