Free Landscape Design Software – Top 8 Choices

For all projects it is smart to have a plan ready to go and follow, but it can be tough to plan out a garden or yard with just some paper and pencils. With technology on the rise, free landscape design software systems have been designed to help you create a digital blueprint for you to follow when you start breaking ground. The problem is that some developers attach a large price tag. No one wants to pay for a blueprint since they are already paying for a big project. Fear not, there are free programs out there and here is a list of our favorite free landscape design software and a break down of each one. 


Best Free Landscape Design Software 

Product

Description

Download

Realtime Landscaping

3D - Many Options

On-Screen Live Editing​

Plan-A-Garden

Drag and Drop

Ability to Save Work​

Showoff Home Design

Upload Photos

Very Detailed​

My Gardena

Professional Program

Can Add Shopping List

SmartDraw

Landscaping Templates

Drag and Drop​

VizTerra

2D and 3D Options

Interactive Presentation​

Garden Planner

Ability to Draw

Library of Objects/Symbols

Dirr's Landscape App

Phone App

Companion Identification App

App Store

iScape App

Use Photos From Your Phone

Insert Plants and Objects​

App Store

The free landscape design software options we chose for you today do many different things. Some are better for real-time editing of your yards while others make you construct your whole yard from scratch. There is professional landscape design software, landscaping apps, and everything in between. No matter your skill level, there is an option for you. Here is a more specific break down of each one. 

Landscape software has become more and more popular as the access to technology has grown. You can now download apps and simple software to help with you gardening and landscaping. Whether you choose one of the option below or not, we really recommend trying out landscape software. The 8 that we have reviewed here are all free (at least to start) but there are more comprehensive programs you can also download.

Sometime it is difficult to visualized our garden or landscape before we start working. Unless you have been blessed with that gift of course. Landscape design software (or garden design software) is the perfect solution to that. You can build your own yard and create your dream landscape. Not sure where to put that bush? Try it out on your phone first. ​


1. RealTime Landscaping

This tool is a professional landscaping program that allows the user to develop their plans on screen. Realtime Landscaping allows you to plan to the finest detail. It includes different trees and plants to add to a design.  You can also add swimming pools, decks, and gardens of any shape and size. It has an option to work with a 3D photo, has over 11,000 items within the software and has 5,500 varieties of plants and shrubs available. There are tutorials available to help guide the user through the program and all of its different functions. Reviews of users are very high and filled with happy responses.

This is a very comprehensive program that can help you accomplish a beautiful design. The real time editing is very helpful. Give it a try!

Pros

Long list of options

Real time editing

Company provides tutorials 

Great looking interface

Cons

May need to us tutorials to learn everything

No ability to upload your own photo

2. Plan-a-Garden

This free tool is really easy to use. There are a lot of different varieties of trees, plants, and shrubs to drag and drop into a picture. This gives you a whole world of different options for your garden. Make your plans, save them, and walk away for some more thinking. Come back later and add or subtract from your garden plan. There are also different building options that you can add to your digital blueprints. If you want to plan a gazebo, swimming poolside deck, or if you want to design your new garden shed you can do that all with this tool.

This free landscape design software option is one of our favorites. It is easy to use, has many options, and allows you to add buildings. Great choice!

Pros

Easy to Use

Allows buildings and decks

Save projects to finish later

Drag and Drop

Cons

Not as detailed as professional software

No photo upload option

3. Showoff Home Design

Showoff Home Design is a great tool and has a lot of detail. You can add trees, perennials, annuals, and even lawn furniture. You can pick which plant you want and add them where you want to the photo. If you do not want to start on a blank page and intend on using a space you are already familiar with, just upload a photo of the space and work off of that. You do not have to pay for the program but you will need to register some information. The interface is designed with a large editing screen with buttons that are easy to read and follow. Although the program is designed for easy use, it is simpler if you know a little bit about your plants.

This program lets you get more detailed with specific plants. It is easy to use and allows you to upload photos. The biggest downfall is the registration.

Pros

Photo Upload Capability

Easy to Use Buttons

More specific plant information

Large editing screen

Cons

Registration Required

Not as many options

May require more detailed garden plans or knowledge of plants

4. My Gardena

This program is a professional landscaping program that allows the user to add decks, patios, fences, and water lines to your garden. There are plenty of plants and trees to pick from to add to your new plan. There are options to add sprinkler systems and even plan a shopping list that you will need to get your garden under way. If you need some inspiration or do not know what you want to design out yet, take a look at the example photos on the program. Along with the program you will have an entire website full of different lawn, tree, shrub, and garden care tips and tools.

My Gardena includes sprinkler systems, shopping lists, and landscaping examples. This is what you get with a professional free landscape design software. One of our favorites!

Pros

Professional Quality

Shopping List Feature

More specific detail (water lines, sprinklers)

Many examples to work off of

Cons

Not as realistic preview

That's it!

5. SmartDraw

This software is called a quick-start landscape design template which includes a lot of templates that are already laid out and ready to use for you or you can make your own from scratch. There are a lot of different trees and flowers that you can use to add to your garden. There are ready to use icons that represent different plants that you can drag and drop into your plan. Add sprinkler systems, brick patterns, and textures to your design. This program is also really easy to use. If you do have questions or something goes wrong, there is a support team at your ready. Call or email the support team and they will be ready to help, all for free. This program is able to be used on Windows, Mac, Androids, iOS, or any other platform out there.

Free support and ready-to-use templates make this one of our favorites. It has plenty of options. Biggest downfall is the lack of detail in the preview. Some people have also found it hard to use. 

Pros

Free Support

Plenty of options

Ready-to-use Templates

Cons

Image lacks detail

Can be harder to use

6. VizTerra

This professional 3D hardscape and landscape was created by Structure Studios. There are 2D and 3D options for design. This software allows you to convert all your flat lines and shapes into fully interactive presentation. Many use this software for their businesses, gathering their project ideas into a clean presentation for clients, but there is nothing saying that you cannot use it for your dream garden. The download is free, but it has limited functionality. If you want access to the entire ability of the software you will need to purchase the entire program.

Plenty of options and an interactive presentation headline this software. It allows you to turn 2D design into a 3D experience. This software only lost points because to use the full capabilities, you have to pay. 

Pros

2D and 3D

Interactive Presentation Mode

Looks Great

A lot of Options

Cons

Must pay for all capabilities

Slightly difficult to learn

7. Garden Planner

This free program allows its user to plan their garden with a library of over 1200 plant and object symbols. These symbols are able to be customized so that everything fits with the vision you have. If there are symbols that are not matching your needs, you are able to draw your symbol into the design. With the drawing tool you can add paving, paths, walls, pools, fences, ponds, and more. The trial is free, but to have full access to the program you will need to purchase the program. There are no other charges. When you purchase the whole program there are not following monthly fees. The updates are all free as well. There are online videos that help you see how the program is used and screenshots that will also explain the process.

Again, the only issue with this landscape design software is the cost. After the free trial you have to purchase it. It may work for you to complete a single project. The ability to draw objects into the design is very unique as well.

Pros

Ability to Draw

Great video and photo turorials

1200 plant and object options

Cons

Only a Free Trial

Simple design

Not as simple to learn as some of the others

8. iScape App

If you are liking the idea of keeping the work on your phone, try this application. This application allows you to take a photo, use a photo from your phone, or use a background that is provided to start your planning. Insert your favorite garden plants and start seeing what your garden can look like. This allows you to see what your yard or garden will look like in real time. You get to edit your yard as you look at it. The application is free, but there are in-app purchases that will expand on the functions of the application. You can get this application in the Apple App Store.

This is a great option for brainstorming on the go. Take a photo, go to the store, and see what available plants look the best in your yard. It's simple, but it is just an app for your phone.

Pros

Real Photo

Easy real time yard editing

Mobile App (available on the go)

Cons

Simple editor, not as complex as the desktop options

In-App Purchases


Summary - Things to Look For

Planning a garden or a backyard project can be a very big expense and a lot of work. Since these projects are so intensive it is no wonder that we would want to plan out every aspect we can. There are many types of free landscape design software that allow the user to plan their gardens and projects out to the finest detail. Try them out and let your garden come to life.

Make sure to give landscape software or apps a shot this year so you can make the most of your garden or yard space. If you don't want to try any of the suggested option above, take a look at some of the software option below. Make sure to let us know if you have any other suggestions for this list and we will review them!

Craig Scott

I love to spend all the time I can outdoors and find every excuse to leave my house. I write about everything from backyard DIY projects to gardening. If you can't get a hold of me I am probably on a trail or a boat.

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