12 Top Garden & Landscaping Design Software Options in 2017 (Free & Paid)

Need to design a garden, deck or some other outdoor feature? Check out these 5 free and 7 paid landscape design software options.
- Advertisement -

I’ve had the good fortune of having nice landscaping and gardens much of my life.  As most kids do, I took it for granted. My parents were avid gardeners and so our yards always looked great.

After years living in apartments, we moved into a larger home with a good-sized yard. The real bonus is it was spectacularly landscaped by previous owners to our benefit.  All we need to do is maintain it.

However, if faced with landscaping a yard, I’d seriously consider premium software to help organize my thoughts and put together a blueprint.  I think software is only really necessary for a larger landscaping project with multiple gardens.

The problem with software is it takes a while to learn it and make it work for you.

But, once you get going with it, relax and have some fun, it can be a very powerful design tool, whether for interior design or outside your home for landscape and/or garden design.

I’m a software nut.  I love it.  I enjoy learning it and using it.  Hence we’ve published and updated this terrific design software lists and articles.

While I’m all about free, I think if you’re going to invest time into creating landscape designs with software, you’re better off buying the premium software.  While there are some awesome free interior design software options, not so much with garden and landscape design unfortunately.

Benefits of using software to design gardens and landscaping

Using software, even rudimentary software, helps you establish a concrete plan for your gardens and landscaping.  It can also help you to think through what you want.  It’s not easy visualizing landscaping all at once, but when sketched out, not only will you have a better chance of remembering every detail (because it’s right there for you), but you’ll also have a detailed plan from which to create your outdoor masterpiece.

=> FYI: if you’re looking for deck design specific software, click here (although many of the options below include deck design modules as well).

A. Free Options

Unfortunately the following free options are awesome, but if you’re on a budget and just want to get a taste of using landscaping software, give some of the following a try.  If you like software for designing your yard, then you’ll definitely want to check out the premium versions below.  They aren’t terrible expensive and may just help you put together the perfect yard.

Also, I don’t recommend any one particular option below.  Our aim is to provide a comprehensive list of your options.  It’s pretty easy and fast to kick the tires so you can figure out which one to use.

1. Home Outside (Freemium app)

The Home Outside software is available as an app on iOS and Google Play.  It’s free to download and to use, but you must pay to download your plans.  Some people criticize it because you need to pay at some point, but I think it wouldn’t be as good as it is if you didn’t have to pay.  The plus side is you can see if you can use it to get the right plan for you.  If you don’t, at least you’re not out of pocket unlike other design software that forces you to buy up front.

Screenshots:

Interface 1Interface 2Interface 3Interface 4Interface 5Interface 6Interface 7Interface 8Interface 9

Home Outside interface 1



Home Outside interface 2

Home Outside interface 3

Home Outside interface 4

Home Outside interface 5

Home Outside interface 6

Home Outside interface 7

Home Outside interface 8

Home Outside interface 9


2. Gardena (Free)

Gardena is a website that sells all types of landscaping products for water management (hoses, sprinklers, etc.), lawn care (lawnmowers), tree and shrub cae (hedge trimmers, shears, etc.) and other garden care tools.

Their free online software (available at their website; it’s not an app) is a way to get you interested in their products.  I like this arrangement because they can afford to invest in decent free landscaping software.  In other words, they aren’t looking to profit from the software itself; instead the software is a way to attract people to their site and promote various products.  It’s a win/win between Gardena and us consumers looking for free design tools.

Below is a series of screenshots we took using the software.  You’ll see it’s fairly intuitive and offers some good options.

Screenshots:

ToolsShapeSizeDrawingSprinkler System PlannerAdd SprinklersWater ConnectionsConnect SprinklersSprinkler Plan

Gardena work area

Gardena shape

Gardena size

Gardena drawing

Garden sprinkler system planner

Gardena add sprinkler

Gardena water connections

Gardena connect sprinklers

Gardena sprinkler plan

3. Marshalls Garden Visualiser (Free)

While free, you must download this software to your computer. Click here to try it.

Screenshots:

ProjectsWork AreaPlantsPavingFeaturePathWallFencesAggregatesAccessoryBuildingHouse3D

Marshalls Garden Visualiser project feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser work area

Marshalls Garden Visualiser plants feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser paving feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser path feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser wall feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser fences feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser aggregates feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser accessory feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser building feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser house feature

Marshalls Garden Visualiser 3D feature


4. Shoot Garden Planner (Free)

Click here to try this software.

Screenshots/Video:

InterfaceAbout YouPlantsAbout Your GardenGarden NotebookWork AreaVideo

Shoot Garden Planner interface

Shoot Garden Planner about you feature

Shoot Garden Planner plants feature

Shoot Garden Planner about your garden feature

Shoot Garden Planner garden notebook feature

Shoot Garden Planner work area

Watch the Shoot Garden Planner Tutorial Video


5. Better Homes & Gardens Garden Design Tool

Click here to try this free online garden design tool.

Screenshots:

InterfaceLog-inSign-upBackgroundsPlantsStructuresTextures

Better Homes & Gardens Garden Design Tool interface

Better Homes & Gardens Garden Design Tool log-in interface

Better Homes & Gardens Garden Design Tool sign-up interface

Better Homes & Gardens Garden Design Tool backgrounds feature

Better Homes & Gardens Garden Design Tool plants feature

Better Homes & Gardens Garden Design Tool structures feature

Better Homes & Gardens Garden Design Tool textures feature



B. Paid Options

If you’re looking for higher quality software, I hate to break it to you, but you need to buy it.  The cost range is pretty high.  Punch and HGTV software is on the lower end of the cost-range.  Home Designer is mid-range and then Sketchup Pro is expensive.

That said, in relation to how much landscaping costs, the software is pretty insignificant.  I think it’s worth investing in quality software so you get a quality design and plan before investing thousands in the actual work.

Below are 7 popular landscape and garden design software options.

1. Smart Draw (Freemium)

Smart Draw is pretty cool design software for garden and landscape planning.

Screenshots/Video:

FlowchartsFloor PlansCAD & DraftingEngineering DiagramsLandscape DesignVideo

SmartDraw Interior Design Software flowcharts feature

SmartDraw Interior Design Software floor plans

SmartDraw Interior Design Software CAD & drafting

SmartDraw Interior Design Software engineering diagrams

SmartDraw Interior Design Software landscape design feature

Watch the SmartDraw Interior Design Software Video


2. Idea Spectrum (Paid)

Screenshots/Video:

House3D PerspectiveDoorsWindowsPathShapesPlantsFurnitureVideo

Idea Spectrum house

Idea Spectrum 3D perspective

Idea Spectrum doors

Idea Spectrum windows

Idea Spectrum pathway

Idea Spectrum shapes

Idea Spectrum plants

Idea Spectrum furniture

Watch the Idea Spectrum Realtime Landscaping Demo Video


3. Structure Studios (Paid)

Structure Studios has 3 lines of outdoor software.  They are VIP 3D, VizTerra and Pool Studio.

Screenshots/Video:

PhotosScalingHardscapePlantsShapesMeasurements3D MaterialsVideo

Structure Studios own photos

Structure Studios scaling

Structure Studios hardscape

Structure Studios plants

Structure Studios shapes

Structure Studios measurements

Structure Studios 3D materials

Watch the Structure Studios Demo Video


4. Home Designer Software (Paid)

Home Designer Software includes landscape design modules, but be sure you buy the right package.  Compare their options here.

Screenshots/Video:

Draw3D Full Overview3D Dollhouse OverviewVideo

Chief Architect Home Designer software draw feature

Chief Architect Home Designer software 3D full overview feature

Chief Architect Home Designer software 3D dollhouse overview feature

Watch the Chief Architect Software Video


5. Landscape Deck & Patio by Punch! (Paid)

Punch! software is a very popular design software company.

Screenshots/Video:

RoomsFloor Plan3DVideo

Punch Software rooms feature

Punch Software floor plan feature

Punch Software 3D feature

Punch Design Software Video Demo

 

 

=> Save 25% OFF Punch! design products.  Click here then use coupon code HSPNCH25.


6. HGTV Ultimate Home Design (Paid)

Here are some screenshots illustrating what you can design landscape-wise with HGTV’s landscape design software:

Screenshots/Video:

House BuilderPaint3D OverviewVideo

HGTV Design Software house builder feature

HGTV Design Software paint feature

HGTV Design Software 3D overview feature

HGTV Home Design Software Video Demo

 

 


7. SketchUp (Free and Paid)

Sketchup is the ultimate design program, whether for the outside or the inside.  It’s what many of the pros use.  However, if you’re looking the animated video finished result, Sketchup on its own won’t do that.  You need to upload your Sketchup designs to an animation software such as Lumion.

However, Sketchup Pro isn’t cheap.  It’s $695.  For personal use, a bit steep.  For professionals, a basic cost of doing business.  Check out the video… this is amazing software.

I doubt for DIY work, $695 is necessary. You may want to see if a lower cost option such as Punch or Home Designer will do the job for you since they cost far less than Sketchup Pro.

Screenshots/Video:

ShapesLines3DMovePush/PullVideo

Sketchup Pro software shapes feature

Sketchup Pro software lines feature

Sketchup Pro software move feature

Sketchup Pro software move feature

Sketchup Pro software push/pull feature

Sketchup Pro Software Video Demo