Back in the day, landscaping software was used exclusively by decorators and architects. That’s because fully understanding the tools and functions of such software is a process that takes time. And a lot of patience. Today, a lot of homeowners are tackling the idea of learning to use this kind of software by themselves, with the help of the integrated wizards and tutorials.
While using such software won’t really turn you into a landscape expert, you could discover some awesome new ideas and visualize how you want your landscaping project to look before hiring a contractor.
We have a guide to landscape software for all operating systems, but if you’re looking to find the best landscape design software for Mac-based computers, here are some ideas to get you going.
Best Landscape Design Software for Mac Users Comparison
|Chief Architect Home Designer Suite 2021||
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|Punch Landscape Design||
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|TurboFloorPlan Home and Landscape Deluxe 2019||
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|Garden Planner Ver. 3.7||
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Tips for Choosing Software for You
Not all software is the same, even though they all provide the same end goal; design your own landscaping. Some are basic and best for users who just want to play around with their garden landscaping ideas. While others are extremely detailed and have a learning curve, but result in beautiful, realistic renderings of the property. With most higher-end software, the renderings and blueprints are so well done that you can hand them off to a professional landscaper. So how do you choose which one is best for you? We’ve got four easy points to consider.
Determine Your Budget
Again, while all landscape design programs offer the same thing; designing your exterior property, they range in features as well as price. Just like any product. Some have free trials, some landscaping programs offer free versions, while others have monthly or annual fees or a one-time purchase price. Lots of options, you just have to figure out which is best for your wallet. So, to determine your budget ask yourself:
- Am I going to use this software more than once?
- Can I use this software for other projects?
- Is there a possibility that I can turn this into a hobby or a part-time income? Better yet, am I going to use this for business purposes?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then you may want to consider a higher-end program that you pay for. Especially so if it will be sued to start a landscaping business. If you answered no to most of those questions, then it’s likely that you’re doing a one-time project at home and just want a better visual to follow. I’d opt for the free trials or cheaper programs in that case.
Determine Your Needs
Sit down and figure out what your needs are. Like I just mentioned, if you plan to start a landscaping business and need the best software to attract those clients, then get the best. If you need to do a number of landscaping projects and really want some detailed visuals as well as plans to follow, then for sure get a middle of the range to a higher-end option.
Determine Your Wants
This is slightly different than determining your needs. Wants are more along the lines of features and options you’d like to have but don’t necessarily need them to do the job. Let’s say you own a few rental properties and you have to update the landscaping. You could hire a professional to do it, or you could cut the costs and get a mid-range software program to play around and figure out the best, most cost-efficient way to do the projects. Or, if you’re an avid DIYer, and just prefer to have a plan in place before you start a big landscaping project at home, then you’d probably just want a basic program that provides a guide to follow.
Determine Your Capabilities With New Tech
Like any software, landscape design programs can range from uber basic and simple to use, all the way up to you-need-a-degree-in-engineering-to-use-it. I”m not kidding. There are some programs that are so hard to use and figure out that they have major learning curves. So, assess whether you’re super tech-savvy, or prefer something you can just fiddle with and learn in a pinch.
Why Use Software?
The main benefit of using landscaping software is that you get a very clear image of how you want your garden or yard to look like, without turning to a specialist. If you were ever a fan of the game The Sims, then you surely loved to fiddle with different interior design ideas, as this was one of the most fun parts of the game. With landscaping software, you can visualize the different elements, with their exact position and compatibility.
Creates a Visual
Depending on how complex your landscaping software is, it can render virtual 3D tours of your yard, to give you a clear overview of what the end result would look like. The more expensive options have libraries with thousands of items to choose from: plants, fences, shrubs, trees, outdoor furniture, gazebos, and more. You can create intricate deck ideas, add a swimming pool or even see what your garden would look like plants, trees, and flowers grow.
Play Around Until You’re Ready
Since landscaping software mostly implies a one-time payment, you can play around with different ideas for as much as you like. For example, this gives you a chance to figure out how to use landscaping fabric before you you dive in to the project,. Some programs will even allow you to upload photos of your current yard setting and add or edit different elements, to see what the surrounding would look like with the changes you have in mind.
Gives You a Full Plan
Landscaping software can eliminate the back and forth process of talking to a designer/contractor and constantly rejecting their ideas or having to give them feedback every step of the way. Once your plan has been established and you have a pretty good idea on what you want, you can then turn to a professional and give clear and detailed instructions.
So Many Options
The best part of purchasing landscaping software is the variety of options available on the market. You go for something very simple, very basic, that allows you to add a few elements and sketch your dream garden outline. Alternatively, you can purchase more complex pieces of software, that determine your property outline and topography based on your map coordinates. Yeah, there’s even software that will allow you to visualize your plan with VR goggles.
Top 5 Landscape Design Software Reviews for Mac Users
We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up some of the popular design software available for Mac users and breaking down the details to help you choose the one that will work for your home and landscape ideas.
Best for Advanced Users
Why We Like It: The reason why this is considered to be one of the best pieces of landscaping software is that the available tools are so varied, you can completely create a digital home design from scratch, while also having the possibility to focus on exterior landscapes.
A lot of users have claimed that the CAD tools are too “professional” and “sophisticated”, indicating that this software might be more suited in the hands of an expert. Assuming you manage to overcome the complex learning phase, the software will prove itself versatile enough for every imaginable home project you’d like to work on.
But let’s talk about the feature you’re really interested in for landscaping. There are several terrain tools that help the user customize the surroundings of his home: from gardens to water, and even hills. You can create a home deck as intricate as you want it to be, planning the setting up to the smallest details. You can also choose your outdoor furniture from the available collection items, but you can also take advantage of the plant library, which includes thousands of different choices.
Who Should Buy It? The Chief Architect Home Designer Suite 2019 is best suited for people with expertise in the landscaping/interior design field or home users that have the time and patience to understand all the included tools and functions.
Most Intuitive User Interface
Why We Like It: If you’re looking for software with a more intuitive user interface, the Punch Landscape Design for Mac is right down that alley. The moment you launch the program, you can get started working on your landscape, with the easy-to-navigate interface. With the search function, you can find the items you’re looking for in a matter of seconds. The keyboard shortcuts are really useful once you get used to the gist of things. The interface is customizable, making it easier for the user to get around. There are several templates available to choose from, but there’s also the option to start a project from scratches.
There’s also an ongoing shopping list that can help you keep track of the items you need for your landscaping project. QuickStart is a very handy tool. By entering the coordinates of your lot, the program can render your topography, allowing you to start planning your design based on your property line. The PhotoView tool allows the user to upload pictures of his property, which can then be edited accordingly.
You can always choose to preview your design in both 2D and 3D modes. However, the drag and drop features are only available when you’re working in 3D mode. The cost estimator is yet another useful tool, one that can help you plan according to your budget and always lets you know if you’re on track with your spending. There are about 8,000 different objects and plants to choose from, so you’ll definitely have plenty of options to shape your design just the way you want it.
Who Should Buy It? Punch Landscape Design for Mac 19 is great for homeowners and professionals alike, as it brings a great balance between price and product versatility.
Best for Visualizing an Existing Concept
Why We Like It: If you’ve ever wanted to visualize how your dream garden looks without turning to a contractor first, the TurboFloorPlan Home & Landscape Deluxe is the right tool for you. With about 4,700 objects to choose from and another library with almost 4,000 plants, there are definitely a ton of options that can help you plan whatever you had in mind.
There’s a convenient tool to help you import photos of your surroundings. This can help you get a better idea of how you’d like to remodel your yard. After uploading a photo, you can use the drag and drop tool to add elements that you feel might be suitable for your decor.
The downside to this software is that there aren’t many templates for landscapes to choose from since most of the plans that are available are home interior idea-related. This indicates that the TurboFloorPlan Home & Landscape Deluxe is best suited for people who already have an idea of what they want their landscaping project to look like.
But hey, there’s still a ton of inspiration to be found on Pinterest! And there are some patio and deck samples that make it a bit easier to start your project from scratch. You create your plans and designs in both 2D and 3D modes. While there is an option for 3D viewing of your project, but plants are rendered in 2D even in the 3D setting.
Who Should Buy It? This software is best suited for people who already have an idea of what they want their project to look like, as the available templates are few.
Most Affordable Option With Intuitive Design
Why We Like It: Those of you looking for a basic and inexpensive tool to create potential landscape plans will find the Garden Planner 3.4 quite useful. It’s a simple software, way more intuitive compared to the other ones we spoke of before. You can only work in 2D mode and the graphics may seem very unrealistic to people who are more pretentious and would like a more feature-packed landscaping software.
The plant digital library is not as vast as with other programs, but this can be both a pro and a con. It really depends on how complex you want your project to be and how much of it you want to visualize before actually making landscape changes.
If you’re looking for a way to map out a sketch of your future garden, this tool is great. The tools and items are pretty generic, so you won’t have to option to pick our very specific trees, plants, and flowers. There is no 3D planning capability, so you won’t be able to get that virtual rendering that suggests you’re actually walking through the yard.
Even so, there are people who choose the Garden Planner 3.4 because of its simplicity of use. The drag and drop feature allows you to place elements where needed, as the software offers an above viewing of the plan. Because it’s so intuitive, the user interface is simple enough to navigate even if you’ve never fiddled with landscaping software before.
Who Should Buy It? The Garden Planner is a very simple, very intuitive landscaping software, perfect for people who want to create their own plans, but don’t need all the fancy features available in the more high-end software examples shown above.
Best for Impatient Users
Why We Like It: Garden Puzzle is yet another example of a straightforward and intuitive piece of software that can help you visualize what your dream yard could look like. Because it’s extremely inexpensive, it’s also pretty limited in terms of functionality. So, just like a Garden Planner, you can create a basic garden plan.
The first thing to note is that, unlike most of the software reviewed today, Garden Puzzle is strictly about gardens and landscaping. Unless you want a tool for both interior and exterior decorations, this one basically helps you save money and focuses on what you really need: landscaping options.
What makes Garden Puzzle really special is the fact that it stays true to its slogan “Visualize your garden concept in less than five minutes.” How is that even possible? Well, the software, which is designed for computer, but also tablet and smartphone use, lets you upload photos of your current yard and fiddle around with the already-existing elements while adding new ones as well.
Even more, there is also an online version of this software, in case you’re not willing to download anything on your device. If you’re proud of your creation, you can upload it and share it with the Garden Puzzle community, which is a pretty neat feature. It can help you ask for more advice or share ideas with other landscape enthusiasts.
Who Should Buy It? Garden Puzzle is a fast and easy landscaping solution, best suited for people who don’t want to waste any time learning how to use software but would still like a glimpse of their dream yard.
After All Is Said And Done
The Chief Architect Home Designer Suite is the clear winner here. The huge amounts of tools and design options allow you to create a home and the surrounding landscape from scratch. Please note, however, that this is an advanced program so the learning curve may be quite steep for some users.
Thankfully, there are loads of options to choose from in terms of a good landscape design software for Mac. The beauty with most of these options is that they also include home interior design, which means that you have a complete set of functions if you ever decide to spruce up the place at some point in the future.
One of the most important things when looking to buy such software is to have access to a wide collection of landscaping items, as they expand your possibilities in terms of planning your exterior design. If you’re not tech or software savvy, try to look for software with an interactive and intuitive user interface. Alternatively, look for software that has a bunch of explanatory video tutorials, so you can understand how to get the premium design software and use its features to the max.