Top 3 Things to Look for in a Landscape Design Software 

There’s no denying the efficiencies offered by design software. As opposed to hand drawing, design software can help automate many processes that could be considered tedious. 

There’s a market full of choices when it comes to design software, so let’s look at the top 3 things to look for when making the choice. 

1. Ability to work in 3D

Working in 3Dallows the designer to see the effects of design decisions in a realistic virtual representation, which offers a more wholistic view of the project as opposed to solely using 2D methods. 

Image provided by Vectorworks

Especially for something like grading a site, a 3D terrain surface helps to see what slopes will actually look like once the project is implemented. 

Of course, 2D is still necessary to produce documentation and plans. Those drawings are miles more powerful when accompanied by 3D visualizations. 

Vectorworks Landmark’s Heliodon tool is a perfect example of the advantage 3D offers. The tool can create live, geospatially informed sun simulations so the designer can plan for sunny and shaded areas in a more informed way. Visualizing the path of the sun also allows you to account for solar heat gain for energy efficiency purposes. 

2. BIM and collaboration capabilities

Building information modeling, or BIM, is permeating into the landscape disciplines, some perhaps quicker than others. 

Essentially a process framework for collaboration and coordination, BIM support is a must in design software going forward. Without it, firms are limiting themselves in the kinds of projects they can take on, whether BIM be required by the client, a jurisdiction, or a collaborator. 

BIM mandates require project deliverables be in data-rich BIM file formats. Without this capability, participants’ submitted work would be disregarded and not usable in collaboration exchanges. 

Image provided by Vectorworks

When evaluating design software, it’s best to seek out a program capable of producing information-rich, replicable objects that can be used throughout the BIM process. Some programs require incorporating additional software to do BIM, but Vectorworks Landmark embraces information modeling at every stage of a workflow. 

Image provided by Vectorworks

3. Robust graphics and rich presentations

Winning over clients is the name of the game, and one of the best ways to do that is to show them what the project will look like before it’s built. If the designer can provide a realistic-looking model of the site design, it’s much more likely a client will want to build it, and that its jurisdictional review will result in approval. There’s a certain comfort in knowledge, especially if it helps justify a purchase. 

Image provided by Vectorworks

That’s why built-in graphics options are key to choosing software. Rather than spend time switching to applications like Photoshop or InDesign to create presentations, a program like Vectorworks Landmark supports the entirety of a project, from concepts all the way to presentations. 

If you’re evaluating ways to make your work life easier, consider what Vectorworks Landmark can do for you. The guide below lays out the steps for getting up and running for designers who traditionally use AutoCAD.  

See what switching would look like for you

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