You may be an actual or aspiring landscape designer or architect, or you're just interested in knowing ways that you could spruce up your front yard. Whatever the case may be, you might be thrilled to know that there are many online tools available that could greatly help you in your job. And the best news is, many of these tools can be used for free! If you're looking to know how to find free landscape design software, here are some of the places you could start your search:
Showoff Virtual Designer. This is the free version of the Imagine Pro Suite developed by Visual Applications, and though it may not offer the same range of functions as the paid version, Showoff is enough to cover basic landscape design needs. It is a photo-based application, where you can upload a picture of a garden, and you could use the drag-and-drop feature to add plants (available from the program's image library), pools, sunrooms, etc to the photo.
This program runs on Windows Vista, XP, 2000 and NT.
Blender. Strictly speaking, this is not exclusively a landscape design software; this is in fact a 3D design software that is used in a wide variety of applications such as animation and gaming production; of course it can also be used for landscape design.
Some of this program's offered features include the following: modeling, shading, compositing, and rendering. It's best that you have some experience in dealing with 3D so you can comfortably maximize this program's functions.
This program runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, among others.
Google SketchUp. As with Blender, Google SketchUp is not exclusive for landscape designs. This is a freeware three-dimensional modeling program, where you can create two-dimensional images (similar to how you use a pencil and paper) and then have these images pushed, pulled, widened, and otherwise manipulated, in order to form a three-dimensional figure. This program is popular because it is relatively easy to use, and has many possible applications.
This program runs on Windows 2000, XP, Vista 7 and Mac OS X. It also has a pro-version, which is available for $495. You may also download a free trial version of this pro-version here.
Smartdraw.com. This is another software perfect for landscape designs; it has a library of graphics for landscapes, such as flowers, grasses, groundcover and brick patterns. You'd need to work with pre-made templates, however; just choose the template that most resembles the project that you are working on.
Ideaspectrum.com. Idea Spectrum actually sells several landscape design software packages, but it has some trial versions that you could try out. One of these is the Realtime Landscaping Architect program. This software tool boasts of an extensive collection of images related to gardens, that you could use to create your designs. You could also upload a photo of your house, and then design a garden around this photo.
There you have it! These are just some of the great websites that you could try out to find free landscape design software. Here's another tip: if there is a particular software tool that you are eyeing, you could try going to its official website, and see if they have any free trial version for this product. There's no harm in checking! Good luck, and hope this helped you out!