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Garden design software

Hi, I'm struggling to find some clear advice on good (and reasonably priced or free) garden design software and hope someone can help.

I am moving to a new house with decent sized garden which had been left to go wild by the previous owners and so presents us with a blank canvas which we're very excited about. We've got an idea about the structure of the garden we want to create but need help planning it properly.

I'd really like to find a software package that will help me identify plants that suit soil type and different aspects within the garden, will show me how they will change during the seasons and gives me an idea about the layering of the different plants and how they fit within the overall garden design. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Many thanks
Will
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Posts

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,764
    Hi Will, I can’t help you, I just use a paper and pencil and google individual plants, or ask on the forum, someone else may use something so this will bump it up for you.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,173
    Hi Will - the same question is often asked on this forum over the years and the answer is basically - no.
    A professional package would cost thousands and the others aren't worth bothering with seems to be the usual response.
    As Lyn says - a paper, pencil and eraser is the easy and cheap solution.
    When it comes to the plants themselves, there is a wealth of knowledge here and many will be happy to make suggestions for you.

    To get an idea of your soil type - tap your postcode into this DEFRA sponsored site and it'll give you a good idea-
    http://www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes/

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • tessagardenbarmytessagardenbarmy York,North YorkshirePosts: 346
    I found a good course run by local education provider near me last year. 6 weeks covered the basics so I could then get out large drawing book, ruler pencil, compass etc and crack on. Might be worth seeing if there is anything in your area? 
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 1,687
    And I'll say my usual...if you have a copy of PowerPoint installed on any computer or tablet, I found it really useful with creating to scale maps of the garden and easy to create mood boards of favourite plants on a slide with live links.

    The RHS website has nice plant selector according to conditions and location that can be a good springboard.
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/search-form

    And of course the main thing about gardening is that no piece of software can be a substitute for the experience we all build up by actively mucking about in our patch of land. And of course website info and books and this very forum add to it.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 2,776
    I join what other members have already responded. What you want either does not exist as such or is only used by professional landscape designers, and would be quite expensive.
    You want some tool to "... help me identify plants that suit soil type and different aspects within the garden, will show me how they will change during the seasons and gives me an idea about the layering of the different plants and how they fit within the overall garden design."
    You will find many answers to these questions in books, magazines and forums. The RHS link given above by @amancalledgeorge is an excellent starting point. Drawing a plan of your plot (to scale) and jotting down likely plants is an obvious thing to do. If you are at ease with computers etc. I can recommend the garden planner piece of software I am using. You will find all the relevant details on my garden site, as well as a garden map and full list of current plants in it. You might find some useful inspiration there, although this is by no means meant as a "model garden". ;)
    I wish you all the best in this new, exciting venture of creating a garden from scratch.
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,173
    If you're comfortable using something like Excel you can use that for a rough design.
    I had the end of my garden landscaped a few years ago and done a sketch using Excel.
    It worked for my project, but is not in any way a gardening tool.



    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 26,167
    IMHO, if the software is any good , it's unlikely to be given away free of charge.
    Devon.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,794
    I tend to find that what the neighbours grow are things that work well.😉
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 4,595
    I tried Garden Planner as recommended by Papi Jo and it was certainly the best I've come across so far.  It used to be free for a trial period, but I have a long, narrow garden and couldn't find a way to get it to work well with my garden shape.  Definitely worth trying though.
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 2,776
    pansyface said:
    I tend to find that what the neighbours grow are things that work well.😉

    Well, my nearest neighbours grow lots of weeds in their garden. They do work very well (the weeds, not the neighbours). o:)
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
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