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Top 7 Complaints of 3D Landscape Design Software Users

Noah Nehlich on Sep 3, 2015, 5:00:00 AM

We all get on a soapbox about work sometimes, whether it’s talking about a certain project or client issue. We all complain about things that aren’t working or are slowing us down.

While landscape design software can help you close more deals and grow your business, there are aspects of certain software that will leave you feeling less than impressed.

Here are the top 7 complaints we’ve heard from 3D landscape design software users, plus solutions for each.

1. Too hard to learn

If you’ve ever thought it would be impossible to learn how to use design software, you’re not alone. It’s actually the No. 1 complaint we hear.

And here’s how I respond every time: Learning software can be intimidating, but what’s your computer experience level? Can you use a mouse?

That might sound like a silly question, but learning how to master the design software really starts with the mouse.

We’ve taught designers who are 70 and older how to use the software, and we kept new users in mind when we designed it.

2. Takes too much time

3D_landscape_design_software_interfaceCreating realistic 3D designs takes time, especially when you want to push the envelope like Don Gwiz, head of sales, and the team at Lewis Aquatech. They use different types of software — including Pool Studio — depending on what type of project they are working on.

The more detail you want the design to have, the more time it will take to create, Gwiz says. So, you need to be willing to put in the time to learn and build the designs.

But once you get comfortable using the pool and landscape design software, it can actually start to save you time, compared to drawing it out. (Not sure which is right for you? See how easy VizTerra makes it to add exactly what you need.) 

You can also save time with change requests. Most of the requests can be easily adjusted in three or four clicks, with instant material calculations. And we all know what it would take to move a spa or deck on a hand drawing — a complete redraw.

3. Customers want more

By using 3D landscape design software, you’re going to wow customers with the details, views and possibilities. While that’s a good thing, it can turn into more work for you if you’re not careful.

Gwiz says prospects can easily become addicted to changing the 3D design since it shows them more options than a 2D drawing.

That could create a lot of back and forth for you that you might not be getting paid for.

To avoid that, Gwiz suggests getting the prospect under contract before you start tweaking and changing things with the design.

If you can manage their expectations with a realistic approach, you’ll really benefit from the software, Gwiz adds.

4. Not enough 3D objects

VizTerra Landscape Design Software 3D Terrain

No matter how many objects and templates are included in the 3D landscape design software’s library, there’s bound to be something missing that you want to use in your design — whether it’s plant material or a hardscape feature.

Most of the top 3D landscape design software allows you to search and browse through a range of images like plants, trees, shrubs, walls, fences, railings, outdoor kitchens, pavers and water features. But you might discover a specific material you need that’s missing from the library — and that can be frustrating.

To solve this issue, make sure you use landscape design software that allows you to import images. That way, your library options will be limitless. You can draw 3D images or materials in programs like SketchUp and then import them into the pool and landscape design software

5. Can’t export designs

Just like you need the capability to import images, objects, and templates, you also want to be able to export. Your designs aren’t going to close any deals if they are stuck in the software.

For example, the software should allow you to save the 2D view of your designs into the .dxf format that can be opened by AutoCAD.

Without an export feature, you won’t be able to create designs in your landscape design software and then share them with other designers who might use another kind of design software.

You also want the option to export the 2D view of the design as a graphic file in .jpg format, which can be viewed, printed and sent to customers. The software should also give you the option to export the design as a PDF.

You’ll want to share your 3D designs with your clients (“If they can see it, you can sell it”). Not only should you pool or landscape design software allow you to share and print 3D images, you will also want to share 3D videos of your design

6. Graphics are “cartoony”


If the images in the software look more like cartoons than actual landscape materials, having a 3D design isn’t going to do you much good.

Some 3D landscape design elements don’t look as realistic in some software, Gwiz says.

Those elements can really take away from the overall layout and presentation. If you’re importing design elements, make sure you find good quality objects.

7. Costs extra

No one likes to spend more money than they have to, so it’s no surprise software users complain about having to pay extra for support or training.

Some 3D landscape design software companies charge for training, and that can range from less than $100 to more than $1,000 for each class. Many also charge extra for software updates.

To get the most from the software, you’re going to need at least the fundamental training courses, so check to see if that’s included in the annual cost or if it’s an additional fee. You need to know exactly what you’re paying for with the software.

Choose carefully

3D_landscape_design_software_instant_dimensionsTo avoid having all of these complaints become your own, you need to find 3D landscape design software that addresses all of them.

Check out what’s included in the costs, library and features before making your decision.

VizTerra and Pool Studio 3D design software both come with free training and support, and they have export and import features. They also allow users to transform 2D drawings into 3D designs.

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