This is the first part of a two-part series. The following article will be posted on TLC tomorrow.
Numerous landscaping companies today, it’s about using technology to make their jobs easier, and one technology that’s sure to lend a helping hand is landscaping software.
While there are many options available for green industry professionals, we spoke with three software brands to find out exactly what makes their product work, as well as what sets it apart from its competition.
David Sloan with Landscape PRO says this year marks their 24the in business and although software has changed tremendously over the years, he believes their software has changed and adapted to meet the needs of today’s green industry professionals, whether they are designers. trained or not.
âOur (software) is really entrepreneur-oriented, and a lot of that is because we’ve gone out of our way to create software that gives the user a lot of power but at the same time it’s relatively simple and straightforward, âsays Sloan.
The way PRO Landscape makes its software so easy to use, Sloan says, is by removing a lot of the terminology from engineering and mechanics.
In terms of usability, according to Sloan, three main features of PRO Landscape set it apart from other design software: traditional landscape-specific CAD, photo imaging with an extensive design library, and estimating room.
Whether the user is familiar with landscaping software or has never used a program before, Sloan says the goal of PRO Landscape is to offer a product that almost anyone can use. Many customers, he says, are able to teach themselves how to use the software by simply watching the tutorials provided.
âIf they’re willing to sit down and go through some tutorials, maybe refer to the PDF manual we have, most people figure that out pretty quickly on their own,â he says. âEspecially with everything going on in the job market, being able to easily switch to using the product is going to be key. “
Nathan Qualls, Head of Product Support with Keysoft Solutions, claims that their KeySCAPE software enables landscape architects have more time for design by automating menial tasks, facilitating revisions when working with architects and civil engineers, and improving accuracy.
There are two types of KeySCAPE software, according to Qualls: KeySCAPE and KeySCAPE LT. With traditional KeySCAPE, Qualls indicates that users must have a pre-existing license of AutoCAD; with KeySCAPE LT, Qualls says AutoCAD is integrated.
âIt really allows a designer to work on, basically, any scale of a project, whether it’s a residential, large-scale commercial, or even a huge master plan for a project at home. ‘community-wide,’ Qualls said. âIt’s because you have this AutoCAD engine and you can provide your drawings in DWG format, which can be useful if you are working with other consultants, engineers, architects and that sort of thing. “
Qualls says that KeySCAPE gives users the ability to plot detailed paving areas, curbs, and trails with a precise area and unit takeoff. He adds that users can also annotate and enter property lines from legal descriptions, draw footprints of buildings, parking lots, golf courses, sports fields and other site features through the selection of. software site tools.
Sharing these designs with project collaborators, Qualls says, can be done easily using the free Revit plugin KeySCAPE, which allows users to exchange surface models with multiple design platforms.
Since KeySCAPE runs on an AutoCAD format, Qualls says there may be a slight learning curve involved with the software.
âHaving a basic understanding of AutoCAD is really all that is needed to access our modules,â explains Qualls. “I would say that the advantage of the AutoCAD platform, however, is that it is a universally accepted file format and (facilitates) the exchange of data with other designers and architects of sites (easier). “
Eric Gilbey, Product Marketing Manager at Vectorworks, says the Landmark version, a green industry-specific version of their software exists since 2001.
Because Vectorworks comes with industry-specific programs for a plethora of industries, Gilbey says Landmark users can also benefit from cross-tools used in other industries, such as construction, entertainment, and construction. ‘lighting. Gilbey adds that Landmark users can also design in 2D and 3D.
âAt the end of the day, we see more of our users doing 3D models, and the big advantage for us is that this happens dynamically because they are one in the same object,â says Gilbey. âSo what we see from some of the other solutions is you produce a plan and you’re limited to 2D line work, and then some of these solutions let you render or color your plans. . And symbols can be smart, the objects themselves can be smart, but you’re really only working in a 2D representation.
Gilbey says this 3D aspect has proven to be extremely beneficial for customers because when changes are made to a 2D plan, the 3D model of it is instantly updated, and when a change is made to a 3D model. , the changes occur instantly on the 2D plane.
Gilbey says that while users are generally quick learners, there won’t be much of a learning curve when diving into Vectorworks Landmark, but if they are mostly coming from hand-drawing for designs, he says it can. sometimes take a little longer to adjust to the technology.
He notes, however, that there are many online tutorials, in-person courses, and user guides available to watch and interact with to help learn the software.
âWhat we always recommend to people is that based on what you’re already doing in your workload for each day, you really need to set aside a certain period of time to systematically go into the software and know what you are doing. the processes are, âhe suggests.
Check back tomorrow for part two of this article, where we’ll take a look at these software design libraries, the costs, and how the software is used.