Virtual Garden Design – How To Use Garden Planning Software

Person Using A Laptop Infront Of A Garden
virtual gardening
(Image credit: m-gucci)

Imagine having the ability to design a garden virtually using a few simple keystrokes. No more backbreaking work or plant-shaped holes in your wallet only to discover the garden didn't turn out quite like you hoped. Garden planning software can make the job of garden design easier and help you avoid costly mistakes! 

Garden Planning Software Features

Whether you're planning a total garden makeover, or you want a quick method for laying out your veggie patch, you can find garden design software to meet your needs. Some garden planning software can be used for free, while others charge a nominal fee. In addition to cost, these programs vary in the virtual garden design tools they offer. 

Here are the more common features available and how to use them to design a garden virtually:

  • User-Friendly: To start designing quickly, look for an intuitive virtual garden design app or program which is easy to understand and use. A drag-and-drop interface allows gardeners to quickly add plants and landscape elements to their layout.
  • Photo Importing: Use this feature to upload a photo of your home and take all the guesswork out of computer garden planning. The view on the screen will be a realistic rendition of how plants will look next to your house.
  • Landscape Elements: Want to see how a fence, deck, or water feature will look in your garden? Select a program with a database of images for these and other garden elements, then incorporate them into your virtual garden design. 
  • Multiple view: Seeing the virtual garden from different angles gives gardeners greater latitude in the planning process. Or try a program with 3D capability to give more depth and realism to your layout.
  • 24-hour view: Are you interested in knowing where afternoon shadows appear or how your moon garden flowers look at night? Choose a program with 24-hour view and you can see the garden at different times during the day, at night, or throughout the year. 
  • Future view: Get a glimpse into the future to see how quickly your selected plants will grow. Use this app to avoid overcrowding and understand changes in lighting as trees reach mature heights. 
  • Plant database: The larger the app's plant library, the more plant species and varieties gardeners can insert into their garden design. Select a program which includes a plant identification app and plant care information to get the most help.
  • Storage options: Before investing time in a program, check to see if the computer garden planning software allows you to download, save, print, or email your design. If not, you may have to complete the design in one session or risk losing your progress.
  • Printout details: Use the available print features on the design app to create a detailed image of the virtual garden complete with a shopping list and cost estimate for the project. Some garden design software includes planting directions and spacing guidelines.
  • Reminders: When available, use this feature to receive text or email reminders for planting, pruning, and watering your new garden. These reminders can come weekly, monthly, or seasonally depending upon the program.
Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.