11 Best Free Landscape Design Software for Architects in 2023

11 Best Free Landscape Design Software for Architects in 2023

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. Your clients need to see how their garden will look after implementing your design.

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

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 April 13, 2023.  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 your 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 own 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. The integration between Land F/X and CAD is seamless, and significant improvements have been made in this regard 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 seem to 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. Sometimes, labeling plants as a group 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 features such as budgeting, customer relationship management, estimating, and time tracking.

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. 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, I can design my home and garden located in the village by using this software. ”

RealTime Landscaping Review, Georgios K.

What users dislike:

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

RealTime Landscaping Review, Celeste M.

5. 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 there is a need to reinstall the software, it would take a lot of time to install.”

Aurora 2.1 review, Callum O. 

6. 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 is available for this landscape design software 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 every day, 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 available that can help the user evaluate if they want the software or not.”

gCADPlus Review, Oberon S.

What users dislike: 

“It feels a little outdated with the graphic styles for some blocks that the program uses.”

gCADPlus Review, Ali S.

7. 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 both. 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.

8. 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 sign up 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.

9. 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

10. 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 running 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 in real-time to the office. Love the scheduling of jobs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.”

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.

11. 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 that also has 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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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.