Landscape Software

We bought our house here in the Northwest two years ago. I'd like to totally re-do the front yard. The landscape software I have is several years old and isn't much help. Does anyone have any recommendations?
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Why isn't the software still useful?

totally
and
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totally
and
This question comes up from time to time. I'm hoping someone eventually will see the need and develop a reasonably priced, good program for the non-professional landscaper. Still waiting....
Karen
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old
will
Does such software actually provide planning advice, or does it just give graphical assistance in placing symbols on the screen?
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What I have seen in the past does both: it should give advice on plants based on your location (zones) as well as design assistance in your specified area. Ideally, it would allow you to place 3D pictures of the plants either on a plan or even into a photo of your yard/home. They've got them for home design...how about gardens?
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Planting advice? perhaps, and some better than others. Designing advice, most likely none worth mentioning. From the viewpoint of a professional landscape designer, the variables involved in real life design situations are so extensive as to be virtually impossible to reproduce in any detail or thoroughness through a software program. Design software is only a tool, just like pencil and paper - unless you have the design skills and basic elements already in place, the software is not going to solve the problem nor offer the solution.
The general consensus is that other than professional CAD programs, design software is uniformly user unfriendly and limited in scope.
pam - gardengal
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give
or
This is sort of what my intuition tells me, too.
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Just happen to browse the website of the BBC. Their Garden Section offers a 3D Virtual Garden that may be downloaded for off -line use for Windows and Mac. (Windows 6.52 Mb) Go to www.bbc.co.uk/gardening I have not tried it myself, but just wanted to pass it along !

totally
and
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Thanks! I'm checking it out! That might actually be a good site for me anyway. Our Northwest climate is very similar to the UK!
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The first in this thread didn't propagate to me, but let me add a plug for a wonderful piece of software that is not specfically a garden program, but a general 3D modeling program that can easily be used for landscaping. The software is called Blender, and it is a www.blender.org.
Blender is generalized 3D modeling and animation software. As such, it has a significant learning curve. However, it allows you to do a lot more than most more limited software -- you can model your entire house, the terrain, water, etc. and get a truly realistic result. The other disadvantage is that there are a limited number of pre-built models available free; if you want to have realistic-looking rosebushes, for instance, you will either have to create them yourself or find a mesh that you can download from the net.
This software is absolutely free and is about as good as any of the midlevel commercial 3D modeling and rendering packages like Lightwave ro 3D Studio Max. It has *some* of the features of the higher end packages like Maya or SoftImage. I am very impressed with it and use it for forensic scene reconstruction in the investigation of homicides. Because it is a full realistic rendering package, you can model how it would look under different lighting conditions, weather, etc.
Since I have paid the price for the learning curve, I also used it to model my house and lot, have used it to plan both the painting of the interior of my house, and also the landscaping of my yard.
billo
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