Enhancing Curb Appeal with Landscape Design Software

landscape design software


Virtual apartment tours enable marketing teams to lure prospects into units with accurate renderings of what life can be like in a community, just one example of how technology has shaped multifamily housing. That same technology is helping create a similar look and feel of the property’s landscape, long before the first shovel of dirt is turned, and how it will flourish from inception in a few years.

And renderings produced by landscape design software are more and more in demand as multifamily decision makers want to see exactly what they are getting with proposed plantings along walkways, in flower beds and out in common areas.

Photo imaging, 3D renderings accurately show a landscape plan

Landscape design software has been around for a couple of decades but is coming into its own as property managers, developers and owners increasingly want to leverage technology to see the lifecycle of a new design or rehab. The 3D technology provides a simple, cost-effective solution that shows an accurate representation of a landscape down to exact plant types and colors.


For property managers, the software offers far greater insight into the property’s potential for curb appeal, now and then, through photo imaging, 3D renderings and even lighting design. Unlike 2D imaging (basically blueprint drawings) and narratives that landscapers have relied on in the past to present plans, landscape design software offers not only more choices but shows in detail how a landscape will frame actual structures and property.

Presentations, depending on the scope of work and size of property, can be created in just a couple of hours and formatted so that the property’s stakeholders can easily see them and make a decision.

You know what you’re going to get, whether it’s a bed dotted with native plants, a stone walkway or trees at peak maturity. The guesswork is eliminated.

Landscape design software provides options, options, options

CAD-based landscape design software is available for professional applications or even backyard gardeners. A simple solution can run less than $100. However, larger systems that landscape professionals typically use have a wider range of options, including thousands of high-quality plant and landscape design images. Some small solutions don’t offer 3D imagery or tools, and only give a rough idea of what the landscape will look like.

Properties are better off to work with a landscape professional who has invested in the best technology rather than go it alone with a scaled down version of the software.

In professional programs, renderings are accurate, scaled drawings of a landscape plan in any size or scale. They start with importing a picture of an apartment building, minus existing plants and trees (these can be erased through photo editing). From there, the landscape designer can pull from an extensive library of images of plants, grass, mulch, hardscapes, pavers, walls, irrigation and other materials.

Renderings can be created for simple or sophisticated presentations, and property managers can see various options extended over seasons, several months or years. For example, a rendering can show all the fall blue and purple fall color available and scenarios can be mixed or matched, providing more choices.

Ultimately, the property takes control of how the landscape will look and feel and what it will cost, rather than relying solely on just a recommendation or spending countless hours researching plant and tree types.

landscape design software

Image via Pro Landscapes

Property managers can make better decisions with landscape software

Property managers can make better decisions and get their owners to respond quicker, because the imagery is quite convincing.

Often, we hear property managers say that a remodel or even a small enhancement isn’t in the budget. But presenting a before and after rendering helps get their message across to the owners. It gives property managers a convincing way to relay to owners in a very effective manner the impact of what they’re spending.

It’s also good insurance. Once the rendering is approved, the property can hold the landscaper accountable much easier than working from a 2D drawing and a plant list. Such was the case for a Florida property that contracted with a landscape company to do a $150,000 rehab project. The finished landscape looked nothing like the renderings provided, and the contractor had to correct the problem and replant according to the images.

Working with a landscape professional who uses landscape design software is peace of mind. You’re able to see exactly what’s being proposed, how it will enhance the curb appeal of the property at installation and even what it will look like as it matures under normal growing conditions.

The technology enables properties a true vision of how their landscapes will blossom and attract new residents.


President, Earthworks

author photo two

Chris Lee is President of Dallas, Texas-based Earthworks, which specializes in multifamily housing landscaping. He is a contributing author to Landscape Management magazine, licensed irrigation specialist and a Toro Intellisense certified technician. Chris studied business at the University of Arkansas from 1990-94 and horticulture and landscape design at Tarrant County College from 1999-01. He has been employed at Earthworks since 1998.

One response to “Enhancing Curb Appeal with Landscape Design Software”

  1. We have also used Chief Architect for this. I don’t have a good comp for reference, but it does come with a range of versions, including landscape features. Works nicely for a total project plan.

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