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  #61 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-2006, 01:29 PM
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Has anyone ever seen any quality landscape design software for a mac?
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:04 PM
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I haven't. One of the designers in our company has a Mac and we try Virtual PC on it and see if we can run our PC design software. I've done this with other software and had some success. But it can be very slow.
Paul
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  #63 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-2006, 06:41 PM
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I belive that Vectorworks is still available for Mac. It is a professional cad software that is gaining in use among landscape architects and architects. It probably would not be very attractive to many landscape contractors.
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  #64 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-2006, 07:06 PM
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I have tried the following:
  • Visual Impact Imaging Earth scapes
  • LSI
  • Punch
  • Eaglepoint
  • Design Imaging Group
  • Sierra
  • Growit Gold

I currently use the Earthscape software, but at the time I ordered it, Prolandscape was in my opinion, inferior as far as the photo imaging goes...but its drawing was way better. Now though, Prolandscape is great! I also like LSI.

Next would be Design Imaging Group..

I thought Eaglepoint was too hard to master.
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Sierra inferior
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  #65 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-2006, 07:24 PM
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Thanks; Vector Works does work with Mac and so far its the best ive seen for the platform. Kind of a bad situation though, I would think Mac computers should be used more often in this field.
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  #66 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-2006, 11:56 PM
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In my experience at several landscaping companies, the owners buy PC's because it is what they already have and they want all the machines to handle the same business estimating/proposal software. Remember, many owners know more about equipment than computers. Using a computer for drawing landscape designs is an 'add-on' use rather than a prime factor in the purchase decision.
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  #67 (permalink)  
Old 02-12-2006, 09:06 AM
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It is a compatability thing. Graphic designers and artists use Mac based software in a big way. The reason that professional quality landscape design programs are geared to PCs has more to do with Autocad than anything else. In order for a cad type landscape software to gain any foothold in the market, it has to be used by people working on big enough and complex enough projects to warrant the expense of the program. Projects of that nature are already started before the landscape designer is even going to hear about it. There has been survey work done and cad drawings done by the surveyor. That cad file goes to an engineer for site planning. Almost without exception, they are both using either Autocad or some clone of it with the dwg file format. The landscape architect calls the engineer or surveyor and requests the cad file to work from. It is given to the LA as a professional courtesy without charge. That saves a ton of work and insures accuracy and continuity through the project. Eventually the surveyor is going to layout one of these bigger jobs and will need to open the LAs file, add his points to it, and send out his crew to lay it out. Through the project the architect of the buildings is going to make revisions and everyone involved is going to have to update their site plans, so the architect is using Autocad dwg as well. Autocad is a pc program.

If you want to sell landscape design cad type software, you have got to have dwg compatibility or you severely reduce the amount of eople you are going to sell to. Whenever conversions from one cad program to another take place, you often lose certain entities because they are unique to that program. It just is not worh the hassle to try to save a few bucks by not using what everyone else is using, if you work in that situation. Since they really need a pc, not many of these folks are also going to buy a mac on top of that.

Not everyone exchanges files with others, but that explains why the availability of professional landscape software is very limited in Mac.
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  #68 (permalink)  
Old 02-17-2006, 09:29 PM
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I have Pro Landscape and use it quite a bit on a daily basis Iím a landscape designer for a local landscape construction company. For the price that you pay for the software I think that there are better programs out there, I have not and will not use the image editor program. We get some customers who have had other companyís do these only to prove that the plant material and size and scale of walls would never work. The image editor program shows plants in a perfect form and blooming and there is no since of scale, If I was to do something as this it would be better suited to use a true 3D modeling program, Pro Landscape is not truly a 3D program you can not move the image around as you can in a 3D modeling program, and see the objects in a 3D form. That being said I feel that the 2D cad program has a lot left to be desired, I do not use any of the symbols that came with the program I have created my own same with the drawing template that I use. If I was to purchase a landscape design program for the money it would more than likely have to be Dynascape it seems to have a good selection of symbols and has more of the hand drawn look to it. If you are after the digital imaging something that you can buy at Best Buy would produce the same results. In my opinion a plan is something a foreman can take off from in the field, not just some picture. Just remember that a design only looks as good as the person drawing it, all drawings have to be modified to a certain extent to get the look that you are after.
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Old 02-17-2006, 10:45 PM
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We have just recently switched from Pro Landscape to Dynascape. Still learning the ropes, but so far we're very happy with the Dynascape 2D. Occasionally we have a need for brief 3D overview to put on the customer sales presentation. I don't like the cartoonish look and am thinking about using Photoshop (where I could erase or modify existing plants/structure before dropping images in) but I need to find a Photoshop compatible library of plant and hardscape material. Any ideas?

A cheap 3D imaging application would be okay if it didn't look too cartoonish, I could import photos, and it had an adequate libray.

Got anything like that in mind?

I'm a retired engineer, pretty good on the computer, and trained in horticulture. But I'm pretty new to landscape design software, so any help is tremendously appreciated!
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Old 02-18-2006, 12:35 AM
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One point that I think Precision eluded too is this. Photoimaging is not 3d. It is a flat photo. It has a height and width, but not depth, just perceived depth created by the person manipulating the picture. What you create in that 2d picture is a subjective representation of what you believe works. It can not show you that it works in terms of what fits the space. If you know what will fit by other means, such as by a plan, you can make a reasonable representation. If you use the photoimaging software to try to determine what will fit, your screwed.

The best use of this type of software is to make a visual mock up of something you have designed in plan view in order to show a client what it may look like. It is not "design software", it is illustrating software. It is the wrong crutch to lean on if you are trying to use it as an alternative to plan drawing software in my opinion.
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Old 02-18-2006, 09:42 AM
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Thanks Agla - I agree. We often want to provide a "sense" of what the client's patio area, for instance, would look like under different options (i.e. walled bed vs. shrubbery). Following the client's selection, the actual design process begins.

This preliminary work used to be done with hand rendered drawings, and still can be. But it's just faster to modify and tweek with software using a photo of the existing landscape/house. The downside (which has been discussed in this forum) is the sometimes cartoonish look, raising client expectations about plant size, showing all the plants blooming at the same time etc.

A simple image editor (with import capability) and GOOD plant/hardscape image library would do the trick. I have an image editor (Photoshop) but need a plant image library that will work with Photoshop. Either that or an inexpensive editor/library combination. (I could buy more elegant software packages that would work, but would rather not so soon after getting the Dynascape package).

I certainly agree that the "3D" representation is really a 2D representation - like a photo.

Also completely agree that a detailed 2D (plan view) with accurate dimensions is required for design and build. It just doesn't enable many clients, particularly residential, to envision the intended result.
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  #72 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2006, 01:26 PM
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I use photo imaging strictly as a sales tool.... I make sure the client knows the picture is to give them an IDEA of what the landscaping can look like. I tell them it is NOT to scale.

Photo-imaging often sells the job for me.

But a scale plan drawing always accompanies it.
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Old 02-18-2006, 03:48 PM
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I have considered the photo image as a presentation and selling the scaled drawing. Kind of like a architect does with floor plans. But mainly design is not a income generating tool. If fact we hope to never collect on design fees because the only reason we plan and draw is to sell installations. In fact this week we designed a simple front only design for a new home we graded and seeded. The builder wanted to put his own plants in that we would specify. Well I sumbitted a design ($100.00 fee) and a itemized material list with his retail costs. Then attached a quote for a turn-key job. After explaining if we do the install the ($100) is waived. He called back to schedule. That is the way we like for it to work. Sometimes a homeowner just wants some advise and direction on their own install, but mostly I use a selling tool. I consider my time spent on this as though it were advertsing expense.
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Old 02-19-2006, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by start2finish
I consider my time spent on this as though it were advertsing expense.
That is a problematic situation. I believe that there is still too much time involved in drawing plans to consider this advertising. I use Dynascape and love it and ours is just the "Start Up version" that was $500. I'm not sure how long the plan you refer to took to draw and output (blueprint house?) but the design fee has to be there to cover the time. I realise that you don't want to charge clients like an architect would charge but the compensation has to be there whether or not they award the project to you for install. I'm sure I state the obvious. Again, I do realise this can be a problematic part of the install business. Just doing a bid with no drawing is bad enough if the project is very involved.

Mark
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Old 02-19-2006, 03:15 PM
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it takes over an hour to drive to a customer's house and talk with them. Usually they call about a drainage issue or turf renovaton. After returning home 45-60 min of computer time to design and send off. I'm not doing 10-15k install designs for free. We usually do a 1,500-2,500 worth of work and use the design and presentation to reinforce our company. 90% close
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