The attached photo is from Tips for Designing Perennial Beds and Borders by Steven A. Frowine and The National Gardening Association (http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/tips-for-designing-perennial-beds-and-borders.html). I am designing a new very large bed, and I have pre-purchased hundreds of plants for it already. I tried using a landscape program (Realtime Landscaping Plus 2012 Trial), but I found it hard to use (admittedly, I wasn't willing to give much time to learning it, but I plan to use it only once), and all I really need is to be able to place and move around plants on a grid, taking into account their mature width and height. (I'm not doing any hardscaping.) Ideally I'd like each disk to represent the plant's mature width, and for each plant to be labeled with its name and mature height, since I'd like tall plants in the back and short plants in the front.
Writing it on pencil on graph paper will be a nightmare, once I start rearranging. I'd prefer to do it on the computer, but I don't know what program to use.
LOL -- that's not my design! But I need to map out something. At this point, I think I'll just use pen and paper... I haven't found software that is easy enough to do what I need -- I don't want to learn to use something that is more sophisticated than I need...
Believe it or not I have used this program to do complicated electronics schematics. Once you have a "library" of drawn shapes in one file you can copy and paste them to your working drawing. The older versions of windows does seem to be more user friendly (though I have copies of newer I am still using XP).
Dyson: That's what I can't figure out -- how to develop a library of drawn shapes. I also can't figure out how to make things a particular size -- for example, what if I want all lines to be 1" long, and all circles 1" in diameter (in relationship to markings on a graph). I don't know how to control for that. I can do it approximately, but can I force a particular size?
Take a look at Open office, which is now Libre Office. It has a suite of basic drawing tools and you have rulers along the edge to help size and position things. This is a drawing I made quickly. The blue shape is stock at two different sizes and copied so that they are all the same size. The aqua one is one I drew freehand and then copied.
I exported it as a PDF and then imported it into GIMP so that I could save it as a jpeg to attach here. None of that is necessary to use it for what you want. I assume Open Office has the same functions in windows as it does in Linux. It is a free download.
It may be part of the Office suite of products, but I think you have to have one of the high end expensive versions of Office to get it included. I've never had it in any version of Office that I've had either at home or at work so I don't think it's part of the standard package.
Thanks -- that makes sense. I probably could use a version of Visio on my computer at work (I'm guessing we have it there), but I don't need (or want) a program with a lot of options to learn, so I'll be fine with paint or the like (once I figure out how to use it).
LOL! Well, I need to make sure the tall ones go in the back, and the short ones in the front, and that I leave enough space around the ones that will grow really large, etc. And I need to space them well enough that I don't run out of plants. It would have been easier to work the other direction, but I was grabbing at plant sales all summer because I knew this would be my big autumn project...