April 21, 2024

Architectural Concepts Guide

Elevating Home Design Standards

12 Best Free Landscape Design Software for Architects in 2024

12 min read

Humans visualize things based on their imagination.

When explaining a landscape design to your client, you must go beyond words to describe the ideas in your head. After implementing your design, your clients need to see how their garden will look.

Many landscape architects and designers use landscape design software to transform drawings into 3D views, helping their clients get a real-world picture of design suggestions. This kind of software also promotes customer engagement. Start with free plans or free trials to test your specific needs and discover how they can support your business’ growth.

Whether you are a do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowner who wants to renovate your backyard or a professional landscape architect, landscape design solutions predict costs, digitize plans and integrate with other computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Additionally, free landscape design tools offer similar though much more limited functionality as professional landscape design software. An outstanding feature in both free and paid versions is access to a library or database of materials, hardscapes, and plants. 

A few free landscape design solutions featured in the list below even provide access to materials, producers, and a network of landscapers and contractors.

Best free landscape design software

Landscape design software streamlines workflows for landscape architects and designers. It reduces time surveying sites, drafting architectural design, and collaborating with relevant parties. This software offers a range of techniques that cater to lawn care, gardening, or tree management for residential, public, and commercial spaces.

Advanced landscape design software integrates with tools that facilitate CAD, simulations, and drone mapping. They also support integrations with third-party accounting software or customer relationship management (CRM) software.

The free 3D landscape design software list below contains genuine user reviews. It’s important to note that vendors offering a free trial are also considered free in this list. 

To qualify for inclusion in the landscape design software list, a product must:

  • Allow users to edit and share visualization and design templates
  • Generate quotes and estimates for designs and services
  • Offer a database of pre-existing or uploaded images with drag-and-drop functionality
  • Keep track of time, material, and expense for each job or work order
  • Provide mobile applications or mobile-friendly versions of the software for field employees
  • Integrate with software for CRM, accounting, building design, and building information modeling (BIM)

* This data was pulled from G2 on January 29 2024.  Some reviews may be edited for clarity.

Interested in a personalized software recommendation? Chat with G2’s AI-powered mascot, Monty!

1. Plan-a-Garden

Plan-a-Garden creates design plans to visualize and structure your garden. Its drag-and-drop functionality allows you to pick plants and add them to your design so you see how their shapes and colors work together.

The free application supports experimentation with multiple trees, shrubs, and perennials for landscape. You can filter according to plant type, size, and sunlight needs.

What users like best:

“I like that I can upload a picture of my own garden space about all, but I also like that everything I use in this tool is available to buy or plant, which makes this different than imagining my garden or using a garden simulator in architecture programming.” 

– Plan-a-Garden Review, Autumn E.

What users dislike:

“Sometimes the graphics can be too much. Otherwise, nothing to complain about.”

– Plan-a-Garden Review, Emma T.

2. Land F/X

Land F/X is an addition to AutoCAD that helps landscape architects and designers draft irrigation plans with a rich plant library while supporting document management and customization options.

Its detail management system maintains consistent and organized data within CAD, making it easier to customize, save, call out, and edit designs. There is a 30-day free trial available for new users.

What users like best:

“Land F/X is a valuable addition to AutoCAD for landscape designers and architects. I use irrigation tools to create irrigation designs and verify that the water coverage is sufficient on a particular plan. Land F/X and CAD integration is seamless, and significant improvements have been made over the past few years.

In addition, the plant library is extensive, and the program makes it easy to track quantities of plant types, even on very large-scale projects. Most of my peers use the program primarily for this purpose – and it does this job exceedingly well. I also enjoy the quick tutorials publicly available on the Land F/X website. Their support and education are excellent and much appreciated.”

– Land F/X Review, Jana R.

What users dislike:

“When labeling plants, Land F/X shuts off Ortho mode. Labeling plants as a group sometimes does not pick up all the plants.”

– Land F/X Review, Tim W.

3. LMN

LMN increases efficiency and profits with effective job planning, time management, and job costing functionalities. Designers can automate the entire landscape business with complete processes and procedures covered in their training material. 

LMN’s free plan offers budgeting, customer relationship management, estimating, and time-tracking features.

What users like best:

“LMN can be very detailed in estimating, progress,  and time tracking or scheduling needs. The more data you feed, the more detail you can achieve.”

– LMN Review, Brittany H.

What users dislike:

“Not being able to show the material list on service estimates as you do on standard ones. Some service quotes don’t require us to show the price breakdown, but it would be nice to have the option.”

– LMN Review, Tanis T.

4. Vectorworks Landmark 

Vectorworks Landmark is a user-friendly and efficient software that simplifies landscape design and BIM workflows by providing intelligent tools for plants, hardscapes, terrain models, and irrigation. It facilitates the easy creation, analysis, presentation, and collaboration of 2D drawings and 3D models. Additionally, designers can integrate GIS file management to streamline geo-design processes, and high-quality renderings can be generated directly within Vectorworks design files.

What users like best:

“Vectorworks Landmark offers unique and customizable features for precise landscape design. It’s seamless 3D modeling, high-quality 2D drawings, and efficient collaboration tools enhance productivity. The estimation capabilities contribute to accurate quotes, making it a comprehensive solution for streamlined design production.”

– Vectorworks Landmark Review, Miranda B.

What users dislike:

“I find it challenging to edit prefab components in Vectorworks; customization options are limited and complicated. Maintaining consistency between 2D and 3D edits is cumbersome, especially for non-traditional designs. I’m still working on finding a more efficient workflow.”

– Vectorworks Landmark Review, Laurence C.

5. RealTime Landscaping

RealTime Landscaping by Idea Spectrum offers 2D and 3D designing features that help landscape designers visualize their ideas. Users create compelling presentations and videos with powerful yet easy-to-use design tools. Idea Spectrum offers this free 3d landscape design software on a trial basis.

What users like best:

“The software makes designing my home possible according to my taste at home. There is no need to pay the designers for a model that is possibly not similar to the one in my mind. The most important part is the ease of use because my profession is not a designer. However, using this software, I can design my home and garden in the village. ”

– RealTime Landscaping Review, Georgios K.

What users dislike:

“Some tools are unavailable depending on which software you have, the regular or the pro.”

– RealTime Landscaping Review, Celeste M.

6. Aurora 2.1

Aurora 2.1 is a one-of-a-kind Photoshop plug-in that brings true digital nature effects for water, sky, and lighting for outdoor scenes. It belongs to the family of Digital Elements, a company committed to creating the highest quality artwork software and tools for artists and developers. 

Existing users can upgrade to Aurora 2.1 for free by entering their user id and password on the registration page.

What users like best:

“It has a very attractive interface, with integrated creative features that you can use to do all kinds of work to give your images a personal touch. It is excellent for adding filters to an image, adjusting brightness, contrast, etc. In addition, it has a very good palette for quick color selection.”

– Aurora 2.1 Review, Emely F. 

What users dislike:

“The lack of Video tutorials about the features of this software makes it hard to use. There are no video tutorials for this Photoshop plug-in on the internet. You have to learn all the aspects by yourself or from a mentor. You need a high internet connection to run this plug-in correctly. There is so much downloadable content within the software that anytime it is needed to reinstall it, it would take a lot of time to install.”

– Aurora 2.1 Review, Callum O. 

7. gCADPlus

gCADPlus is a CAD tool for professional landscape designers and architects. The software increases productivity with features like custom landscape templates, site-specific plant databases, and one-on-one online training. A trial version of this landscape design software is available for free.

What users like best:

“gCADPlus can design all kinds of images, graphics, and figures. It’s user-friendly, and even an amateur can use it to design. The company is trying to improve the system daily, so they update it without asking for payment. 

Images can be transported directly to make a 3D landscape. There’s also an online user guide available for free. They have a free trial that can help the user evaluate whether they want the software.”

– gCADPlus Review, Oberon S.

What users dislike: 

“It feels a little outdated with the graphic styles for some blocks the program uses.”

– gCADPlus Review, Ali S.

8. PRO Landscape

PRO Landscape design software provides architects with photo imaging, CAD, 3D rendering, and customer proposal drafting tools that fulfill the requirements for landscape design projects. 

Its free version, PRO Landscape Home, offers similar features to the paid version, except the ability to edit hardscapes or create 3D models and customer proposals.

What users like best:

“Easy to use program that works on PC and mobile applications. It’s easy for quick design changes with the client on the spot.”

– PRO Landscape Review, User in Architecture and  Planning

What users dislike:

“Still working through the program, but I find a few tutorials unclear.”

– PRO Landscape Review, Julie S.

9. VizTerra

VizTerra by Structure Studios offers a streamlined interface and intuitive tools to design landscapes in 2D and transform ideas into 3D. The software simplifies workflows and makes it easy to design anything with just a few clicks. Use its smart library to add plants, trees, materials, and furniture with a simple drag-and-drop feature.

New users can sign up for a free trial at the official website or for free live training sessions to learn how to get started.  

What users like best:

“It’s hard to put one special feature forward. I used its 3D rendering functionality and managed to finish the process. The prices are pretty reasonable, and startups can afford it.”

– VizTerra Review, Emin H.

What users dislike:

“Nothing. The software is fantastic, and we have had zero issues. Everyone at Structure Studios is extremely helpful, whether in their training classes or support staff.”

– VizTerra Review, Megan O.

10. Attentive

Attentive offers several automation features to support landscaping businesses. This free 3d landscape design software eliminates the need to measure properties manually. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze and generate measurement reports.

New users can start their free trial at the official website by registering with their email addresses.

What users like best:

“Attentive allows us to easily collect customer data and disseminate information, promotions, and campaigns to new and existing customers. It is a huge driver of our success.”

– Attentive Review, Christian A.

What users dislike:

“The helpdesk integration could use work. If photos could be sent through to email and customer information was attached to tickets that come through the integration, this would be extremely helpful.”

– Attentive Review, Verified User in Consumer Goods

11. Yardbook

Yardbook supports a landscaping business’ growth. It offers a range of features such as customer data management, billing, estimating, and scheduling. The software is easy to use, yet it’s strong enough to handle diverse details in a landscaping business.

Yardbook provides free and tailored solutions to support landscape businesses. There are also optional premium features available for large-scale companies. 

What users like best:

“This is the best landscaping company app I have seen. It has simple ways to track every aspect of the small business landscaping company from start to finish, from the office to the field. Employees can download the app to phones and keep them connected to the office in real time. Love the scheduling of jobs daily, weekly, and monthly.”

– Yardbook Review, Stacey G.

What users dislike:

“I wish there were much more essential features. I would like to import a list of properties belonging to one property management company versus manually putting them in. I would also like to input the local garden center price list we get each year into the catalog and then add a markup to the goods. 

I have suggested many things to them over the years. They tell me it is a good idea and will pass it on to the development team. I don’t see many new updates, and none of these features have been added.”

– Yardbook Review, Julie L.

12. TurfHop

TurfHop is an all-in-one landscape design and management software. It’s the perfect solution for big and small companies. Manage your operations from a single platform with mobile support for generating invoices, building quotes, scheduling jobs, and managing customers.

The free version of TurfHop offers all these features at no extra cost. It also offers a free trial for its paid versions. 

What users like best:

“One of the top-notch software unique features, Amazing customer service, promptly replied. I recommended it to all small and massive organizations.”

– TurfHop Review, Verified User in Accounting

What users dislike:

“I would like to see a way to sync mileage and expenses with Quickbooks and custom reports.”

– TurfHop Review, Verified User in Information Technology and Services

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Frequently asked questions on free landscape design software 

1. How can landscape design software help you?

Landscape design software helps users visualize, plan, and estimate costs for outdoor spaces. It facilitates experimentation with layouts and plant arrangements while enhancing communication among professionals, clients, and collaborators.

2. What are the key benefits of landscape design software?

Key benefits of landscape design software:

  • Time-saving: Speeds up the design process for quick adjustments and experimentation.
  • Cost efficiency: Aids in informed decision-making, minimizing the risk of costly mistakes.
  • Visualization: Offers realistic previews for better decision-making and client communication.
  • Flexibility: Allows easy design modifications, element experimentation, and exploration of different possibilities.

3. How do I choose the right landscape design software?

Consider factors like ease of use, features (such as 3D modeling, plant libraries, and cost estimation), compatibility with your computer system, and user reviews to determine which software best fits your requirements.

4. Do I need special skills to use landscape design software?

While some programs may have a steep learning curve, many are designed to be user-friendly, with intuitive interfaces and tutorials. Basic computer skills are usually sufficient for getting started. But, training will be required to work at an advanced level. 

5. Can artificial intelligence (AI) help with automated design suggestions in landscape design software?

Yes, AI algorithms can analyze user preferences, design trends, and environmental considerations to provide automated design suggestions, helping users generate creative and personalized landscape designs.

Fruit for thought.

Landscape designing software is the ultimate tool for visualizing your designs, whether you’re a professional designer or homeowner with a flair for landscape design.

Know exactly what your requirements are. Once you identify those “must-have,” “good-to-have,” and “do-not-need” elements, you’ll be in a perfect position to narrow down the available offerings and select the best free landscape design software for your needs.

Learn more about building design and building information modeling software and discover how you can transform constructing drawings into a digital representation.


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