London (change)
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29/07/2014 at 22:41

Hi Folks,  Im a bit of a geek when it comes to keeping track of my plants (I grow a lot of perennials so need to know where they are so that I dont overplant or dig them up in the dormant season) and changing things round in my garden.  I wondered if anyone had come across any sort of computer programme that would allow me to play around with plant styles, colours, height etc.  Basically replan my garden whenever I wanted. I dont want anything too complicated (Im not a wiz on the technical front) and I cant afford to pay for an expensive programme. I anyone knows of any such programme please let me know.  Thanks

29/07/2014 at 22:56

Hi Yviestevie, I just looked on eBay for you and searched "garden design" then clicked on The category "Computers/networking and tablets" and there are lots to choose from, I don't know what type of computer you use but saw a Geoff Hamilton one that showed your ideas in 3d and was only 2.99 this was a disc to use on a pc but guess that would work on lap top too? 

30/07/2014 at 10:37

H Beaus Mum, checked the Geoff Hamilton one and the reviews said they couldnt get it to work on modern machines.  Ill take a look at some of the others.  Im suprised someone on here hasnt got a recommendation.  I dont mind paying providing its not extortionate and does what I want, I just dont want to buy something and find out that its rubbish.  There is something in excel in the templates that allows you to record quite a bit of info about your plants etc but the planning bit is rubbish.  Anyway perhaps someone will read this and get back to me otherwise Ill stick to my trusty sketch book, rubber, and pencil sharpener.

30/07/2014 at 11:21

Oh that's a shame I'll have a browse later too. I'll bet your trusty sketch book will ultimately do you proud  

30/07/2014 at 13:55

Do you also have Outlook, Yvie?  If so, maybe you could use the calendar feature together with bookmarks and hyperlinks?  I had a quick play and you can hyperlink to bookmarks or headings in both word and excel documents.

I believe this site may be planning to add some features which may help, too.

I remember the BBC used to have a garden planner on their website before the  cutbacks forced them to close many of their helpful-to-the-public web stuff.

30/07/2014 at 14:26

Yviestevie, I can understand completely what you mean, in all respects.  I hold everything in detail on an excel spreadsheet, together with plans for (at the moment), Autumn and Spring next year.  So many different plots and so many perennials, it's the only way to keep track for me. 

It would be brilliant to have a computer package where you could enter the name of the plant and colour and it would pop up on your screen in 3D.  The option to key in soil types and conditions would be important so that the computer can advise you if it won't work.  To be able to see colours and types of flowers together before planting would be fantastic.  I remember seeing on such programme, but it was very limited.  I'm sure it would be very useful if someone was prepared and had the know how to produce the package. 

30/07/2014 at 14:29

Charley, that sounds just the job, lets hope it exists somewhere.

30/07/2014 at 18:03

Buddyboy mentioned this on another post today - Marshalls Garden Design Visualiser.  I've loaded it up but haven't had a chance to try it.  See what you think and maybe we can swap findings here?

30/07/2014 at 18:15

I'm like you Yvie - I like a pencil and paper! I think a computer programme would be very useful for anyone who has difficulty visualising the height and spread of one plant in relation to another though. That's probably one of the trickiest things to plan along with different flowering times or seasons of interest. 

Gardens are a lot harder to plan than interiors - at least everything indoors stays the same colour and size all year round! 

30/07/2014 at 18:34

I agree, a garden design program would really be based on visualisation technology (2D or 3D) while a planner would be more like a database/calendar.  Two very different skillsets required and unlikely to be created by single programmer so would need to be written by a team.  Market research has probably made it untenable which is why so few are around.  I've often looked for something like this over the past ten years and have been disappointed.  I think you would be better finding two separate applications or doing the planning yourself in a similar way to the method I suggested, but you then need quite well developed Microsoft Office skills.  You can still download google sketchup which could be used for design.

30/07/2014 at 18:57

I've looked at a few over the years and none of them have been any good.  I'm sure the pro stuff would be, but anything I've seen for the amateur has either been almost impossible to use for curved borders etc or the shapes available don't overlay properly so you can't show tall shrubs over ground cover for example.

I think your best bet to avoid digging up herbaceous that has died back is canes with labels on them!

30/07/2014 at 23:31

Personally, I'm happy with Excel for keeping my records BobTheGardener, so it's just something to plan stuff on.  I don't think either it's that we can't visualise what we're planning, it would just be massive fun to have a computer programme to play around with and experiment.  Something we can't do in practice.

31/07/2014 at 14:53

Exactly Charley,  It would be fun, you could try quite radical changes and see if they looked like they would work.  The Excel template is great for record keeping its design bit thats missing.  I have drawn up a plan by hand that will stop me digging things up. I have good Microsoft office skills although Im not a computer wizz kid.  Ill take a look at sketchup but a 3d graphic package would just be fab.

31/07/2014 at 15:46

If you type 'Garden Design Software' it comes up with loads some aimed at the professionals and others at amateurs.  There is a free download list from Gardeners World shown.  Anyway it might be worth you looking.

17/08/2014 at 23:19


18/08/2014 at 00:28

OH writes software for a living - will get him on it!  

18/08/2014 at 11:09

Ooh good idea DD really just want to be able to build up a picture of my garden that isnt all in squares and move plants around easily (mine should all have wheels the number of times I move them).  It would just be nice to be able to play around with it and see what it might look like.

I bumped this for someone else (cant remember their name) as they were going to start a new thread asking the same question)

18/08/2014 at 11:52

Well he is away at mo (and bit cross with me cos I can't work tv (don't ask)  but soon as back in good books will chat him up a bit, want something similar myself!

18/08/2014 at 14:21

Sorry Yviestevie - I didn't get back to you on this.  I tried a couple of packages that I could down load for free but I wasn't impressed.  Wow, if someone could write the sort of package we're looking for, that would be fantastic.  We could give it plenty of advertising on this forum   I wouldn't mind helping to test the package either. 

18/08/2014 at 15:42

Making him his favourite quiche and a lovely plum sponge for when he gets back- that will win him over I hope! 

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