4 alternatives to AutoCAD for designing landscapes in 3D

11 October 2017

If AutoCAD (by Autodesk) has been the benchmark CAD software for many years, design tools for architects and landscape designers have evolved. Many firms now propose professional alternatives you are sure to find interesting. Are you looking for a landscape design software which can help to create a new landscaping and to convince a client more easily? Here are 4 to review !

How to choose the right landscape design software for you

JardiCad, a simple and intuitive solution

With JardiCad landscape design software you can start from a floor plan or a ground survey: the tool scales the layout and transforms it into a vector version. This powerful CAD tool is for landscape designers, nursery gardeners and public authorities and gives top priority to simplicity of use. It has a rich library of 10,000 plant species, plus furniture for patios, turfed spaces, rockeries, street furniture, sports equipment, games… Everything you need to design parks and private gardens. Very user-friendly and intuitive.

Media Softs objective with this software is to save you time with no loss of quality. In fact, this is not one software package but an intercompatible, interconnectible suite. Jardi Up 3D enables you to shift from 2 to 3D easily and its quantitative functionalities (surface and linear area calculations, plant quantities) enables you to create a quote based on your plan via JardiContacts.

All in one with the Nova d’Alseve suite

The Nova d'Alseve suite features a host of good surprises. This software for entrepreneur landscape designers shifts from 2 to 3D in a single click, via a single interface. The suite is pleasant to use and intuitive to learn despite the diversity of plants, objects and textures proposed (over 10,000 items). As soon as a data item is modified, the change applies automatically to both dimensions (plan and 3D). The interactive navigation suggested by the software is particularly well done: you can visit your customer’s future landscape as if you were there, with shades and reflections which add even more realism to the virtual walk-through compatible with 3D Oculus Rift glasses. Designed for professionals the Nova suite is for landscape designers, public authorities and horticultural high schools. It automatically compiles the list of materials needed for the project and proposes an evolution of plants by age and seasonal variation.

SketchUp Pro version paysage par ATI 3D

Now developed by Trimble, SketchUp software is THE reference in 3D modeling since it was launched in 2000. SketchUp Pro is a sales organizer software, rapid in use and very intuitive enabling designers to work in different ways, starting from, for example, a plan exported from Autocad, a photo taken in the field or a scanned plan.
In addition to the SketchUp Pro world library, users can add personal libraries of tools, objects and textures to the package.

To save SketchUp Pro owners time, ATI 3D has developed and integrated a host of tools and libraries for the landscaping and building trades into this software including:

  • Ground modeling tools like, for example, the importation of groups of dots from theodolites;
  • a tool enabling rapid listing of all the lengths, weights and quantities of materials needed for the project;
  • a library of over 2,500 plants and 3,000 textures.

Lumion Pro, virtual adventure in real time

Lumion Pro is an urban architecture and project development software package. From a project designed with a modeling software, this tool creates an environment as an image, a video, a 360° panorama and even Virtual Reality. It takes you to a 3D world in real time.

Lumion is famous for the quality and the diversity of the plants in its library. The details, the shades, the movements of wind in the plants, the texture of grass and watering and lighting controls make the scenes ultra-realistic. Lumion Pro also simulates the various phases in a construction: for landscape designers this software can bring a new dimension to presentations - customizable ad infinitum.
Whereas one could fear a very technical interface, using the tool is intuitive and loading times are short despite optimized image quality. Expected in November, Version 8 of the software will be presented at Paysalia.

Discover 4 applications of virtual reality to landscape design

3D gives originators new opportunities. Software for landscape designers gets more and more professional. Among these four landscape design packages you are sure to find the right one for you! You can find out more about these new packages that push back the frontiers of realism at Paysalia. And you may get discount prices from these exhibitors!

© Photo credit: Fotolia / Kostiantyn

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