Best Landscape Design Apps and Websites for Homeowners

Designing your own outdoor space no longer has to involve a contractor, designer, or hired labor. You can do your own landscape design from home with the help of digital resources. Using an app or website, taking a trip to the plant nursery, and with a bit of elbow grease, you can reap the reward of being your own landscaping boss.

Why Use A Design Program To Do Your Own Landscaping?

The available digital landscape design tools make it easy to visualize different plants, textures, and structures in your space. You can select which design aspects you want and move them around over and over until you are satisfied with the final result. These easy-to-access tools mean everyone, from homeowners to professional designers, can use design apps or software to create their ideal outdoor space. And the cost savings versus hiring a professional landscape designer will be huge (though some online landscape design services are very affordable)!

Top 3 Landscape Design Apps

You’ll find a wide range of design software and apps available for DIY landscaping in terms of cost and ability. While the programs used by professional designers come at a steep cost, there are more affordable quality apps and websites that can help anyone design the perfect landscape, regardless of their skill level. Therefore, determining your budget before you select your program will help when selecting what program works best for you.

1. Home Outside

Home Outside is a simple tap-and-drag app that lets you create a simple plan for your landscape design. As you use the app, you’ll get pop-ups with walkthroughs and tutorials on how to use the app in the form of pop-ups. While it is not the most user-friendly option, It fits the bill if you’re looking for something basic. 

When creating your landscape plan, you can place generic shrubs and trees into your design, but no specific plants are available. The good news is that you can import Google maps into your project. This unique feature allows you to see your own yard from an overhead view to help you make a plan for your yard.

2. PRO Landscape Home

PRO Landscape Home is an easy-to-use landscape design app. Simply upload a picture of your yard and add in plants, shrubs, and other landscape materials using the photos on the app. These photos are transposed directly on your photo to create your new yard. Note that the free version has a limited number of photos, and the whole library requires a one-time fee of $14.99.

Once you have created your landscape design, take it to your local garden center to get materials or use the ‘Find a Professional’ to hire help. Keep in mind that this app is not top-of-the-line software. However, it does a decent job of getting your ideas sorted out, so you know where to start.

3. iScape

Of the apps mentioned so far, iScape has the most variety of plants, bushes, and trees for your design. Instead of having a general selection, there are specific options. The format is in 3D, allowing you to see your design easily. You can also upload your own photo and design on top of it.

As with any app, the free version has limited features. The full version of the app costs $29.99 per month. However, the free version provides plenty of features for hobbyists, homeowners, and professional landscapers. With how easy it is to use iScape, it is the perfect way to update a design and show it directly to a client at a moment’s notice.

Top 2 Landscape Design Websites

Now that we’ve discussed apps let’s look at the top websites you can use for landscape design. While many options are available, two stand out for their ease of use and cost efficiency.

Most design programs on the internet require either a one-time fee or purchasing a subscription. These programs are ideal if you are designing multiple landscapes. A free program is likely the best way to go if you are planning only to elevate your own space.

1. Better Homes & Gardens Plan-a-Garden

Better Homes & Gardens has a fun way to plan a garden from the comfort of your couch or office space. Plan-a-Garden lets you drag and drop various plants, structures, and textures onto one of their photos or your uploaded photo.

While the free version has some unavailable features, you can easily access them with a small purchase. Better Homes & Gardens has created a program that is a step above the basic 2D design programs that is both simple and easy to use. It is definitely a program to check out if you prefer a website over an app.

2. Gardena myGarden Planner

There is no registration or subscription necessary to use the Gardena myGarden Planner. The menu options are simple and an excellent option for beginning designers because you can easily drag and drop items into your plan. However, the selection of plants, textures, and structures is not very diverse, making envisioning your new space a bit more difficult.

However, creating and filling your own shapes with design elements is enjoyable. Once you finish your design, you can print it or share it directly.

Professional Landscaping Design Options

Some more in-depth programs include the Adobe suite, AutoCad, and Vectorworks. All of these programs require subscriptions to use. The features are far superior to the free apps and websites but come with a price ranging from $20 a month to over $1000 a subscription, depending on how in-depth you want the design to be.

Learning to use these programs and design a landscape would not be accomplished in one afternoon since they will have a steeper learning curve than free apps or websites. If you want to start planning today and produce a gorgeous landscape by this weekend, these professional programs may not be a good fit for your project.

Choosing The Right Options for Your Landscape

Landscaping is all about using your space in a creative and visually appealing way. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming with so many plants, colors, and texture options. The easiest way to begin is to determine how much of a lawn you want to mow. Of course you’ll also need to determine a landscaping budget for all of the work you want done.

If you don’t have much time to spend outdoors, then designing a space with less grass and more flower beds, trees, and pavers might be more conducive to your lifestyle. Trees are the easiest way to enhance an area quickly. As an added bonus, choosing evergreen trees means that there are no leaves to rake in the fall, and you will have shade year-round.

You can also choose plants that only reach certain heights to prevent your fence or windows from being obstructed. It’s important to remember that flowers bloom seasonally, so make sure that you choose flowers and plants that fit the season. To quickly increase the visual appeal of your landscape, use complimentary colors and plant in various lines.

Next Steps

Now that you have a plan for your newly designed space, it is time to do some shopping! With your plan in hand, make a trip to your local nursery by garden center. Keep in mind that you can always adjust your plan if you can’t find the exact plants or items you need. Because the design apps are available at your fingertips, you can easily edit your plan if something is out of stock, even while you shop. 

Once you have everything you need, it is time to get to work (or hire a pro landscaper). Remember to avoid working in the heat of the day and drink plenty of water as you go. Hopefully, when you finish, your space will be even more luscious and vibrant than you imagined.

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