David1949 Ottawa, ON (Zone 4a) (2 reviews) December 7, 2020
I've used the most expensive version (the Architect version, $399 US from Idea Spectrum because it is the only one that prints out a plan view, which is essential for design work or municipal planning permission). I've used it in my landscape design business for the past several years, so I feel pretty experienced.
PRO: It is a versatile 3D program which has most of the elements you need for landscape design (trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, water gardens etc). It has a good selection of surfaces: grass, hard surfaces for patios and walkways, asphalt for roads, housing roofs and wall finishes etc. You can add a good range of other elements: garden furniture and other outdoor household items, even people in motion. You can print on any size paper your printer handles; for landscape design, you often use 11 x 17" (or you can go metric). The 3D designs look quite lifelike, and some of the trees and shrubs can be shown waving in the breeze, and the ponds and fountains can ripple and sparkle. So it's good for client presentations.
CON: depending on whether you have previous drafting experience or not, the learning curve can be pretty steep. I initially found the Youtube videos more helpful than the in-program help. It depends on how you learn new material best - by seeing or by reading.
Note that you cannot print an elevation (side) view, at least with the version I have (2019). You can come close to it, fine for clients, but it is not accurate enough for those views in planning or design work.
It is not really a CAD program as such, but it does have limited CAD capabilities.
VERDICT: very good value for money, but be aware of a few limitations. Use the 30 day free trial to see if it is really what you want.
Posted on September 2, 2015, updated September 2, 2015
I just bought Realtime Lanscaping Plus a week ago. I was able to pull in my 10 acre property from Google Maps and already have my house, Barn, Shed and Greenhouse in.
The terrain was very easy to manipulate with the ditches and berms. The Trees are high resolution and during the walk-through they even sway in the breeze. You can change the seasons, time of day and environment that you see beyond your property.
The only downside is the water features come in the PRO version which is $20 more but would be worth it. It's $30 to upgrade to it. I was able to create a realistic look for the pond in Sketch-up and then import in.
They could use a lot more trees. In particular, I need fruit trees and they are very limited. I like some of the ones from the 'Sketch-up' library but I have started making my own to look more like the ones I have. This goes for the fencing as well. Plus has lots of fences but all city type fencing, no farm fencing.
Still for $79 it is well worth it. I did about 80% of the work before having to look up how to do anything.On September 2nd, 2015, RobertCrandall added the following:
Update: Idea Spectrum has offered to update my program without my asking for that. Customer service has value which backs up my 'Positive' rating.
fortberryy elliot lake, Canada (1 review) May 28, 2010
I have a hobby, where I help small towns and cities across North America come up with new ideas for tourist attractions. I do this on a volunteer basis. Some of my ideas can be explained more fully by using 3d landscaping software. In order to choose the most appropriate software package, I tried out different ones. In the end I went with Realtime Landscaping Architect. The reasons were, very realistic, extremely easy to learn, can be used to show more than landscaping to a certain degree and the developer of this software may develop it to do much more than landscaping.
I use Idea Spectrum's Realtime Landscaping Pro software for professional landscape design work. It takes time to learn to use all of the features but it is very versatile and user-friendly. You can design in top-down or perspective view and create very realistic 3D scenes, as well as 2D plans with a professional look. It is also excellent for image design (designing over a photo background).
I recently upgraded to version 3 which has a huge library of high-resolution plant images, many new 3D models, and numerous new design tools and features.
It's a tremendous value for the price ($100) and will do things that much more expensive landscape design software won't do.
flowerjean Central, IL (Zone 5a) (5 reviews) April 2, 2006
Ordered their "realtime landscaping plus" software for $50. I did receive the software very quickly, however was not impressed with the software at all. Very hard to use and pictures were not realistic of plants as far as size or color.