The Difference Between Landscape Design and Estimate Software

Professional software for landscapers has come on a long way in the past five years. From programs that allow you to create impressive 3D designs to estimating software that takes the guesswork out of the takeoff process, there have never been more options out there for landscapers looking to take their business to the next level. 


Though it would be easy to lump all landscaping software under one roof, the truth is that the software’s capabilities are as varied as the businesses that use them. Each landscape business has specific needs, so the right option will vary from one company to the next.


Here, we’ll take a look at the two main types of software landscapers use: design software and estimate programs.  Examining the key differences between these two categories will help you to understand exactly what landscape software you need, and which options are worth your investment. 


What is Landscape Design Software?


Landscape design software is a computer, web, or mobile device-based application for visualizing, creating, and presenting landscaping projects. It is commonly used by landscape architects and landscape designers to plan planting designs, hard and soft scapes, groundworks, and irrigation systems. 

Some common features of professional landscape design software include: 

  • The option to capture or upload aerial photos of the site
  • 3D views of your design
  • An online plant species and material database 
  • Customizable symbols for specific plants
  • The ability to print your design
  • Outdoor lighting and irrigation design tools
  • Labels/Annotation
  • Measuring tools
  • CAD designs


What are the Benefits of Landscape Design Software?


Landscape design software has myriad benefits for professional landscapers. In addition to reducing the number of man-hours required to create a design, technology has also made it easier to create detailed, visually stunning images in both two and three dimensions. 

Working with landscape design software allows landscapers to quickly identify potential issues, and to make changes to designs at the click of a button. In terms of trying out different ideas, this is a far more efficient method than the traditional pencil and paper approach. 

A lot of landscape design programs allow you to share previews with clients or collaborate on designs with other employees, with the bonus that your work is protected from loss or damage, thanks to cloud storage. 


What is Landscape Estimate Software?


Also known as Takeoff Software, Landscape estimate software is an online, computer, or mobile application that allows landscape designers to calculate the quantities and costs of project materials. Creating a digital takeoff involves many of the same steps as a manual takeoff, however many of the most difficult steps are automated.

There are many different types of software available, and each has different features and functions. Generally, the process begins by uploading the blueprint or design ready for analysis. Using the tablet or computer, the estimator can then segment and zone different areas and mark them as mulch areas, sod areas, or plant beds. You can then create paths, patios, and decking with a mouse or a fingertip, depending on which device you are using. 

Once the estimate is completed, the estimator can alter it as needed by increasing or decreasing materials to account for waste generated during the construction process. 

Some common features of professional landscape estimate software include: 

  • Measurement and material cost calculation tools
  • Click to count items, including plants, pavers, and irrigation elements
  • Instant segmentation
  • Customize materials to match your company’s guidelines
  • Create and instantly export materials list
  • Automated calculations on quantity and cost estimates


What are the Benefits of Landscape Estimate Software?


The speed and accuracy of digital takeoff software mean this method is becoming increasingly popular among landscapers.  Much of the complicated estimating is automated, speeding the process up, eliminating errors, and allowing for greater flexibility if any adjustments are needed. Additionally, it provides landscapers with the ability to utilize drone and satellite imagery to quickly measure the size and sections of a project.

A major benefit of takeoff software is the ability to collaborate with multiple users on the same project at the same time. With cloud capabilities, team members don’t have to be in the same room – or even the same state – to access and edit a takeoff. This is a particularly useful feature for designers who work from home. 


Which is Right for your Company?


Deciding between a design and estimate software can be difficult and confusing. Landscapers will need both if they want to reap the benefits of a digitized business. The problem is that this type of software does not come cheap, and paying for two separate licenses has the potential to leave a major dent in your budget.


Landscape tech-developers have responded to this dilemma by designing software that can both design and estimate landscape projects. Rather than having to buy two programs and switch between them, landscapers can now use the same software application throughout the entire process.  


LandOne Takeoff software is one of the leading programs for landscapers looking to streamline the design and takeoff process. As well as boasting excellent design features, LandOne Takeoff automatically measures, calculates, and projects the costs of a given project, including all secondary costs. 


We offer our users the ability to upload PDF designs, aerial images, segment mulch areas, sod areas, or plant beds, as well as placing pipes, heads, and valves with accuracy using our Distance Guide Tool. Users can perform takeoffs on a computer or tablet, using a mouse, stylus, or even fingertip. And because everything is accessed and stored on the cloud, you can rest easy knowing that your work is protected. 


Whether you’re designing or estimating, our intuitive technology will help to streamline the process. 

Start your Free Trial today to see firsthand how LandOne Takeoff can help transform your landscaping business. 

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