By: Laura Miller
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!
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:
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When you’re about to plan a garden, anything is possible. With so many types of gardens, plants, and layout options to choose from, a garden planner will help you stay on track. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gardener, we’ll show you how a free online journal will make this year your best garden yet.
The winter months offer perfect prep time, and the right garden planner for you will come with many added benefits beyond simply staying organized. Before you venture outside with your gloves and shovel in tow, try planning with a virtual garden for fast and reliable results.
Until we review some garden design software we really like, unless you are a professional landscaper or architect, stick with the free Google Software. For professionals try the free download of LANDWorksCAD or SmartDraw.
Or just keep a record of different plants on a word processing program or database such as Excell, you can download lots of free drawing programs in fact most word processing packages come with one.
You will not be able to ‘drop and drag’ plants from a library of images, but at least you will have a record of what is where, when you planted it and when to prune, fertilize etc.
Next I colour in any details I want in the plan. For example for the patio pattern, I made a series of rectangles, sized them, filled them in with texture then placed them to look like patio stones. You only have to do the first few, cut and paste after that.
Basic Types of Plants:
Evergreen: Plants that do not go dormant and keep their leaves through winter
Deciduous: Plants that go dormant and drop their leaves in winter
Zone: There are 11 different growing zones in the U.S. and Canada based on the lowest average temperature each area receives during winter. Knowing what zone you are gardening in allows you to pick plants that will withstand the coldest expected temperature for your area. Read more: Zoning in on Hardiness.
Exposure: The amount of sun or shade a plant needs
Habit: Refers to the general structure or shape of the mature plant
Height & spread: The estimated size of a mature plant
First or last frost date: The average date for your area for the first frost in fall or the last frost in spring
Native: A plant that has grown naturally over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular area. These plants are well adapted to their native growing conditions (soil, climate, water, etc.) and are beneficial to their local pollinators and wildlife.
Invasive: A non-native plant that becomes established in an area outside it's native region and spreads rapidly, to the point of disrupting the native environment and ecosystem.
For more common gardening terms, see this Dictionary of Gardening Terms from Proven Winners.