13 Best Free Landscape Design Software Tools in 2018

Jasmine Lee
Jasmine Lee  |  September 12, 2018

Who hasn’t watched an episode of a house flipping or home renovation TV show and immediately wanted to find a contractor to help reimagine their indoor and outdoor living spaces?

For any landscape project, plans are a must. Pen and pencil can only get you so far — landscape design software is specifically developed to help homeowners take their ideas and turn them into reality.

Landscape design software is helpful for two reasons: It streamlines the process of drafting and collaborating on designs and facilitates the accurate representation of outdoor spaces.

Regardless of whether you are a DIY homeowner who wants to renovate their backyard, or a professional landscape architect, designer or contractor, landscape design solutions help you predict costs, digitize plans and integrate with other free CAD software and BIM software.

The majority of the well-known landscape design systems out there — for example, VizTerra, or Idea Spectrum’s entire spectrum (heh) of solutions — come with hefty price tags. For those who don’t work in a landscape agency or who are casually dabbling in landscape projects, those high prices outweigh any benefits that individual software can provide. Thankfully, some free programs do exist. And best of all, many of those free programs come either in mobile application form or are browser-based, which is convenient when it comes to printing out or electronically sharing landscape design plans.

Additionally, free landscape design tools offer similar — though much more limited — functionality as professional landscape design software. An outstanding feature that crops up in both free and paid versions is access to a library or database of materials, hardscapes and plants. In addition, a few of the free landscape design solutions featured in the list below even provide access to materials producers and/or networks of landscapers and contractors.

Most of the free landscape design tools outlined below are geared toward the homeowner or for those who will use the software in a non-commercial capacity.

These products alone have well over 270 validated user reviews on G2 Crowd as of July 25, 2018, and only represent a small portion of the 40-plus landscape design software offerings listed on our platform. Whenever possible, the products are ranked by user satisfaction score.

For each product we provide:

  • An overview
  • Highlighted features
  • Free and paid options details

For products with G2 Crowd verified user reviews, we have included:

  • G2 Crowd star rating
  • Reviews highlighting what users like and dislike
  • User recommendations for these considering the product

The list we’ve outlined here includes any landscape design solution with an available free offering. It should be noted that this does not include products that are only free on a temporary basis, such as limited trial versions for new users. They may only support one user or one project, but they’re truly free offerings. Scaling, however, will often require full investments.


Best free landscape design software 

Product reviews and G2 Crowd star ratings were updated as of July 25, 2018

1. SketchUp Free

sketchupProduct Name: SketchUp
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 267

 

Overview

SketchUp provides architects, designers, builders and engineers the tools to draft, model and render their ideas into reality. SketchUp Free is the free, web-based version of SketchUp Pro. With SketchUp Free, users can draw in 3D on any web browser. Additionally, the solution enables the sharing and collaboration of SketchUp free files with CAD project management tool Trimble Connect, a project management and collaboration solution tailored for the construction industry. Landscape designers can leverage SketchUp Free to turn their initial models into a dimension- and context-full design files.

Free option

  • SketchUp free is a web-browser based version of the modeling tool.
  • SketchUp for Schools is also free, but can only be downloaded via the G Suite for Education platform and its files can only be stored on Google Drive.

Paid option

  • SketchUp Pro is the desktop version of the tool; it’s more powerful, customizable and shareable. The non-expiring license costs $695, but there is a free version you can trial.

Features

  • 3D modeling
  • Rendering
  • Editing
  • Support for Trimble Connect
  • Support for most web browsers and operating systems

SketchUp screenshotImage courtesy of SketchUp


 2. PRO Landscape Home

pro-landscapeProduct Name: PRO Landscape
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 4

 

Overview

PRO Landscape design software provides architects with the photo imaging, CAD, 3D rendering, and customer proposal drafting tools that fulfill the requirements for landscape design projects. PRO Landscape Home is the “lite,” non-commercial version of PRO Landscape, designed for homeowners. PRO Landscape Home is a mobile application that can be used on all Apple, Android and Amazon devices. While PRO Landscape Companion App is a free app, it’s only free for those who already purchased the professional landscape design software. PRO Landscape Home, on the other hand, offers almost the same features as the professional version, except the ability to edit hardscapes, create customer proposals and create 3D files.

Free option

  • PRO Landscape Home is the free, “lite” version of PRO Landscape.
  • The Companion App is free to download for both iOS and Android. However, it’s only free for those who have already downloaded PRO Landscape.

Paid option

  • PRO Landscape: $1,496
  • Educational pricing is available for PRO Landscape, on a custom-quote basis

Features

  • Creation of photo imaging and CAD designs
  • Object image library
  • Plant database
  • “Find a Professional” lookup feature 

 PRO Landscape screenshotImage courtesy of PRO Landscape


3. Kerkythea

altairProduct Name: Solid Iris Kerkythea
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 3

 

Overview

Kerkythea is a free, open-source rendering software that provides a full staging application for users to render architectural models and illustrations. It was developed as a powerful plug-in for SketchUp. Kerkythea can be used by both architectural professionals and educational institutes, as users do not need to spend any money on software licensing.

Free option

  • Free to download

Paid option

  • N/A

Features

  • Provides a singular interface for rendering
  • Global illumination rendering engine
  • Provides a repository of materials, plants, environment images 

Kerkythea screenshotImage courtesy of Kerkythea


4. Showoff.com the Visualizer

showoff-com-the-visualizerProduct Name: The Visualizer
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 1

 

Overview

Showoff.com is a combination of a real estate MLS marketplace and blog that’s equipped with design tips and layouts. The site offers an online service called the Visualizer that helps you design your dream house and garden, and then offer that design up to the Showoff.com community for tips and consultation. The Visualizer is a free software application that can be installed on Windows operating systems.

Free option

Paid option

  • N/A

Features

  • Database of elements, photos, setups and materials
  • Community forum 

The Visualizer screenshotImage courtesy of Showoff.com


5. Lands Design

asuniProduct Name: Lands Design
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A

 

 

Overview

Lands Design is a free software that releases a new beta version every 90 days, taking in feedback and updating features and fixing errors. Lands Design is a landscaping design plugin for 3D modelling tool Rhino. With Lands Design, landscape designers can create realistic 3D images, virtual tours to better represent the final landscape to their clients, and draw on large libraries of plants, trees, and urban furniture.

Free option

  • Beta mode

Paid option

  • No paid option is available

Features

  • Plant species database
  • Freeform landscape modelling
  • Virtual tour creator
  • Editing tool
  • AutoCAD file support

Lands Design screenshotImage courtesy of Lands End


6. Arborgold

arborgoldProduct Name: Arborgold
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A

 

 

Overview

Arborgold is a comprehensive customer management, job scheduling and business management solution for service-based companies. Arborgold recently rolled out a free online landscape design tool that enables the creation of 2D landscape designs to present to clients. Arborgold’s free tool can be used by both professionals and homeowners to create and save designs. For professionals, those designs can be attached to itemized landscape proposals.

Free option

Paid option

  • Arborgold’s paid options go beyond simple landscape design solutions; they are comprehensive service/business management solutions
  • Sprout: $59/month
  • Entrepreneur: $99/month
  • Premium: $149/month
  • Ultimate: $179/month

Features

  • Job site illustrations
  • Library of plants, lighting, and hardscape
  • Import of photos and geo-satellite images
  • Freehand drawing

7. Plan-a-Garden

plan-a-gardenProduct Name Plan-a-Garden
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A

Overview

Plan-a-Garden is Better Homes & Garden’s online design-planning tool, tailored for homeowners and DIY home designers. Plan-a-Garden helps you visualize your remodeling plans before handing off those designs to a professional contractor.

Free option

  • Free browser-based tool

Paid option

  • N/A

Features

  • Database of plants and hardscapes

8. Garden Planner

garden-plannerProduct Name: Garden Planner
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

 

 

Overview

Garden Planner is an easy-to-use garden and landscape design tool. It provides users with a drag-and-drop interface that helps you arrange the visual elements of your design. Garden Planner’s designing tool is flexible and supports a 3D virtual tour walkaround.

Free option

  • Free license exists for charities, nonprofits and schools.

Paid option

  • One-time fee of $46

Features

  • Library of plants and object symbols
  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Allows for garden notes
  • Free future updates

9. iScape App

iscapeProduct Name iScape
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A

 

 

Overview

iScape is a landscape design application that helps homeowners, professionals and product retailers design and collaborate on outdoor living space design. With iScape, you can accurately visualize the end product before embarking on any landscape design projects. iScape is currently only available via iOS app.

Free option

  • Free iOS app, may require in-app purchases.

Paid option

  • N/A

Features

  • Easy-to-use design tools
  • Sharing capabilities
  • Image, plant and materials database
  • Provides availability of inventory through iScape partners

iScapeit screenshotImage courtesy of iScape App 


10. DreamPlan Home Design

dreamplan-home-design-softwareProduct Name: DreamPlan Home Design
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A

 

Overview

DreamPlan Home Design is a home and landscape design software that helps homeowners and professionals visualize completed designs prior to redesign. DreamPlan supports designs for home and floor plans, landscape and garden plans and interior room design plans. DreamPlan provides users with an easy-to-use interface that makes it simple for anyone at any skill level to draft designs.

Free option

  • Free for non-commercial use

Paid option

  • DreamPlan Home Design Software Plus is available for $40

Features

  • 3D and 2D rendering
  • Blueprint view mode
  • Supports both Windows and Mac operating systems

11. Marshalls Garden Visualizer

marshalls-garden-visualiserProduct NameMarshalls Garden Visualizer
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A

 

Overview

Marshalls supplies landscape products to the U.K., specifically paving products and accessories. The site offers an online landscape design tool: Marshalls Garden Visualizer. Garden Visualizer provides users with a free garden planner. That limits the scope of landscape design you may use it for, but it helps you create a 3D rendering that helps you customize any aspect of your garden.

Free option

  • Free to download at this link, but only on Firefox or Safari browsers.

Free option

  • N/A

Features

  • Simple, 3D visualizations
  • Library of paving products and materials
  • Network of approved installers
  • Access to Marshalls products

Marshalls Garden Visualizer screenshotImage courtesy of Marshalls


12. Terragen

terragenProduct Name Terragen
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A

 Overview

Terragen facilitates the building, rendering and animating of realistic, natural environments. Most applications of Terragen are TV and film production, as well as visual effects purposes. And while Terragen is a bit more comprehensive — as it’s a realistic, natural environment rendering solution — than other landscape design softwares, users are empowered to place photorealistic environments into whatever design you’re creating.

Free option

Paid option

  • Terragen 4 Creative: $349
  • Terragen 4 Professional: $699

Features

  • Realistic atmosphere model
  • Realistic illumination features
  • Terrain editor
  • Object rendering

13. Designor Buddy

apacheProduct Name: Designor Buddy

G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A

 

 

Overview

Designor Buddy is free, open-source landscape designing software. It is built on top of the OpenOffice Draw program and provides the ability to integrate landscape images into 2D drawings. OpenOffice Draw is one of Apache’s OpenOffice modules, which enables the production of simple diagrams and dynamic 3D illustrations.

Free option

  • Free to download

Paid option

  • N/A

Features

  • The ability to scale
  • Layers (similar to PhotoShop)
  • Library of plants, hardscapes and materials

Next steps for selecting a best free landscape design software 

For both professional landscape designers and homeowners who have a landscape design itch, completely free solutions — not just software that offers free trials or demos — are scarce. However, if you’re willing to go barebones, the aforementioned free landscape design tools are helpful for the beginning stages of your landscape design journey.

Be prepared with what exactly your requirements are, whether you want sharing capabilities and which integrations or third-party software those free tools support. Once you identify those “must-have,” “good-to-have,” and “do-not-need” elements, you’ll be in a very good position to narrow down the available offerings and select the best free landscape design software for your needs.

Are you ready to take your landscaping design business to the next level? Learn how a Pinterest for business account can help you generate more business.

* Please note: Reviews may have been edited for spelling and grammar.

Jasmine Lee
Author

Jasmine Lee

Jasmine is a Senior Research Specialist at G2 Crowd. She used to own the e-commerce and team collaboration spaces, but now she avidly researches as much as she can about the rapidly evolving and head-spinningly varied vertical industry spaces. She's passionate and hyperbolic about most things, but especially regarding the things that have anything to do with pop culture, fandom, gifs, and the wining and dining scene of Chicago.