Custom LandDesigner is a collection of five products to help you visualize and create your ideal landscape and garden: LandDesigner 3D, Photo Garden Designer, Garden Encyclopedia, Landscape Design Guide, and Designer Garden Library.
LandDesigner 3D offers a library of 4,600 plants and more than 2,200 objects and materials to use in your designs. Design wizards help you create virtual garden beds, sprinkler systems, and more. You can walk or fly through your designs, viewing them from every angle, and see how your landscape will grow and change in appearance through the seasons. Photo Garden Designer allows you to import a photo of your own home and design around it, experimenting with over 1,000 plants, trees, and shrubs. Garden Encyclopedia is a reference guide with full-color photos and entries on over 3,000 plants, and features a multimedia guide on selecting and caring for your plants. Landscape Design Guide gives you expert advice and tips on all the details of keeping a great garden, from choosing appropriate plants to what containers are best for what plants. Designer Garden Library lets you use predesigned gardens for inspiration, including feng shui, rose, herb, Japanese, and other gardens.Sierra's Custom LandDesigner 3D Design 7.0 may offer only five landscaping and gardening applications as opposed to the eight titles bundled with Complete LandDesigner 3D Design Collection 7.0, but the suite still packs an enormous amount of functionality for its relatively low price. The program let us design complete landscapes and gardens by dragging plants, walls, trellises, and other elements from an extensive database into either a 2-D or 3-D representation of our yard. It was easy to position and reposition these elements, and the truly uninspired can turn to the included predesigned gardens and design guide for inspiration. These two aspects of the program can incorporate everything from your climate to feng shui in order to provide suggestions that are relevant to your landscaping needs.
The software comes with so many features it's tough to decide where to begin. We really liked the aging feature that let us see how the plants we had selected would look any number of years after we planted them, letting us plan for the future. There's also a handy slider bar that let us easily see how the plants would look during various seasons, adding accurate blooms in the spring and leaf color changes in the fall. It was simple to import digital pictures of houses and add virtual landscaping elements, and once a design was finalized everything we wanted to include was added automatically to a shopping list.
The one drawback to this software is that the graphics aren't too great, especially in the 3-D modes. They are adequate for giving an impression of what a garden will look like from a distance, but up close everything disintegrates into a mess. Still, the top-down 2-D views are crisp, and the photographs in the plant encyclopedia are good, and as long as you have the patience to deal with the frequent CD access this software demands you'll be planning the landscape of your dreams in no time. --T. Byrl Baker
Publisher: Vivendi Universal