If you are planning on designing your own deck and garden, then you need the right tools. These tools help you lay out where items like shrubs and plants should go, and they also help you pick out deck colours. You can also design the overall look of your deck, including the rails and panels. All of these tools are free. You may, however, have to sign up for an account on the site.
The ShowOff Visualizer tool is a free tool, but you do have to sign up for a free account on the website. This program allows you to design your entire outdoor landscape, including your garden, patio and shrubs. You can upload a photo of your house, or you can use the model house provided by the site. You then drag and drop landscaping elements into the photo. Drag and drop means that you select an item from the library of items on the site and then drag it, using your mouse or keyboard, to the proper location within your design. You can save your garden designs within your account, and you can view videos of landscape designs by professionals. This is a hosted feature, which means you do not need to download anything to use this tool.
This tool allows you to create a 3-D design of your deck using TimberTech decking, rails and lighting. This is a free tool, but you must sign up for an account with the company. This tool is compatible with all versions of the Windows Operating System, but you must have Java 1.5 or later versions to run it. To use Deck Designer, you need to know the approximate dimensions and shape of your current or planned deck. Other features of this program include that it will provide you with installation guidelines, a materials list and construction tips. You can view your deck either in grid or 3-D form.
Virtual Garden Tool
The Virtual Garden Tool is offered by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), and it allows you to create your own virtual garden, including adding garden features like ponds, fountains and benches. You must have Macromedia Shockwave Player to use this program. Other features of this program include the ability to view planting plans created by professional landscapers, and you can download and view these plans in the Portable Document Format (PDF). You can also get planting ideas based on your garden preferences, including plants to attract insects and shade plants. There are also interviews with designers on the site as well. This is a hosted program.