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How software helps landscape designers on the job

July 14, 2021 -  By
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Joe Hanauer, owner of Landscape Architecture, says the ability to see designs in Vectorworks in both 2D and 3D is extremely helpful. (Photo: Joe Hanauer)

Joe Hanauer, owner of Landscape Architecture, says the ability to see designs in Vectorworks in both 2D and 3D is extremely helpful. (Photo: Joe Hanauer)

Company: Landscape Architecture

Software: Vectorworks

Joe Hanauer, owner of Landscape Architecture, says he’s been using Vectorworks Landmark software since 2014 for his design/build company in Madison, Wis., which caters to a 95 percent residential, 5 percent commercial clientele.

One project Hanauer says comes to mind is what he calls the “Modern Marvel,” which featured several retaining walls. To help plan and create the design, Hanauer used Vectorworks’ digital terrain model. He says his ability to visualize as he’s designing has significantly improved the overall accuracy of his estimates.

Hanauer says the software’s building information modeling capabilities also help with estimating and data. For example, he can draw a line that represents a design element, such as a wall, and with that line, he can accurately calculate the amount of wall material needed.

“When I’m bidding a project, the cost of a retaining wall is basically materials and labor,” he says. “But, that length of the wall affects my labor. So with this, I can tell how long my walls are. I can tell how tall my walls are. For me, as a salesperson and an estimator, I have such confidence in what I’m doing based on this.”

For the “Modern Marvel” project, Hanauer used Unilock’s U-Cara Modular System to hang different colors of brick for a wall design, and with the data captured from the software, Hanauer says he could accurately capture how much of each color of U-Cara bricks he needed for the project.

“We were able to take a 3D image of it and label it, so when my installers started working, they knew that they had three rows of this color. They had a row of this color. They had a row of a different color,” he says.

Hanauer says this feature came in handy because the worksite did not have room to stage unused material, so he used the information from the Vectorworks design to inform his ordering.

 

Richard Fisher, owner of Fisher’s Landscape, says Pro Landscape renders hyper-realistic designs. (Photo: Richard Fisher)

Richard Fisher, owner of Fisher’s Landscape, says Pro Landscape renders hyper-realistic designs. (Photo: Richard Fisher)

Company: Fisher’s Landscape

Software: PRO Landscape by Drafix Software

For Richard Fisher, owner of Fisher’s Landscape in Clermont, Fla., the best part of using Pro Landscape design software is how realistic the renderings have become in his 15 years using the software. Fisher’s Landscape offers landscape design, irrigation, landscaping and hardscaping services for a primarily residential clientele.

He says he almost broke up a marriage because of a Pro Landscape design. The wife emailed Fisher’s rendering to her husband, who was out of town during the design process.

“The husband called her back and was just saying, ‘What the heck did you do? We didn’t talk about this,’” Fisher says. The wife replied, ‘“We owe him nothing because that’s only a drawing.’ He goes, ‘Do it. Because if it looks that good, just do it.’”

Fisher says this design looked so realistic thanks to the extra step he takes of creating a reflection of the landscaping in the home’s pool.

“I try to get the customer to see exactly what I see,” he says. “With Pro Landscape, I can show my customers the real plants, trees, shrubs and/or personal items they want in the landscape. They get to see their new landscape as it will look before they buy the first thing for their landscape project.”

Jon Pride, owner of Jon Pride Designs says the ability to create and save plants and details such as fireplaces and outdoor grills is a great feature of the Land F/X software. (Photo: Jon Pride)

Jon Pride, owner of Jon Pride Designs says the ability to create and save plants and details such as fireplaces and outdoor grills is a great feature of the Land F/X software. (Photo: Jon Pride)

Company: Jon Pride Designs

Software: Land F/X

Jon Pride, owner and landscape architect for Jon Pride Designs in La Canada, Calif., has been using Land F/X design software for about 14 years with his landscape design company, which serves around 75 percent high-end residential and 25 percent commercial clientele.

One project in which Land F/X came in handy, Pride says, is a landscape design on Toluca Lake in Los Angeles. The property sits below the street, and Pride says it likely has a great view of the lake. The focus of the outdoor space was the entertainment area and the dock. Pride says he designed a separate walkway so people didn’t need to walk down the driveway to get to the front door.

“Where Land F/X kind of falls in is it’s a combination of the CAD and the design software,” he says. “It just makes the job easier. It makes it so much faster, and there’s a great transition from conceptual to an actual planting plan. It’s pretty quick, but everything is much easier with this program.”

Pride designed the fireplace and barbecue features of this project from the ground up in Land F/X, he says, noting that the software also has a helpful detail manager feature that allows you to save elements and use them in future projects. The same is true of Land F/X’s plant manager. Pride says he can easily find a detail or plant and drop it into the project.

“I turn around, and I got another project that’s very similar, but I’m going to change the fireplace from stone to brick, or I’m going to do a wood mantle, but I can alter it quickly and save it for that project,” he says.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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