There are tools that make life soooo much easier.
In gardening – a hori hori knife… For the kitchen….that one perfect spatula I found for 50 cents at a garage sale… In my office….my favorite Sharpie 0.5 Roller pen…
And in garden design…. apps.
A Landscape Designer’s Favorite Garden Design Apps
I use each of these on a near daily basis. Not just to design gardens – but to design anything – to do life as me*.
*(I can’t help myself…I’m one of those annoying designer-brain people who can’t be in a place or see a thing without thinking how I could make it better with a just few tweaks. Can you relate? 🙋♀️)
These tools are free to cheap and get front row seating on my phone.
(The most expensive is less than $30 per year and worth every penny)**
**(except for Procreate – that is so much better on an iPad and needs an iPencil)
Milanote – Digital Mood Board
Milanote – I love the options of this design app so much that I use it in my online garden design courses. (it is great for collaborating with my students on their garden design projects). Plus I use it for my home projects, my writing projects, my own garden plans, web design, branding, and even my to-do list. If you’re a visual person, this intuitive tool might be your favorite place to keep track of all the things in your brain. (better than other organization and idea capture tools).
Google Maps – Get measurements online
Google maps is so much more than just a way-finding tool. As a garden designer, I can quickly zoom in on a project, and see so much. Some of the things I might not even be able to fully understand even if I was on the property. As the app has more and more data and imagery, the uses grow. Garden planning generally starts with birds-eye-view plans. Before Google Maps, this required hours and hours of trekking around the garden with a tape measure to work out all the distances and the placement of all the elements. With google maps app, things are easier. Property lines, trees, the placement of house and buildings are all easily and accurately pulled off google maps digitally and in a matter of minutes.
Procreate – Draw without paper
In order for procreate to really work, you do need to install this drawing app on an ipad and use it with an iPencil. These things cost a fair amount – but the app itself is inexpensive. And for the cost, it is shockingly powerful. As a garden designer, I love it to import images and draw over the top. ( I used to do with a printed photo and trace paper). It is the best way to quickly illustrate and test out ideas.
Canva – Easily create collages to see ideas
Canva is a great design tool for making all sorts of digital art and infographics. As a business owner, it has become my go-to for creating graphics to share ideas on social media. (all the graphics for this post are made with canva). But as a garden designer, I use it a little differently. My favorite thing to do with canva as a designer is to collage. Particularly plants and products I might use together. Canva has an easy and quick way to remove the background of an image so that I can quickly isolate a shrub or a flower or a piece of furniture and I can use the app to build a collage image of what they might look like together.
Picture This – a Garden design app to learn plants
Picture this is the fastest way to learn more plants. Not matter how many plants you know – there are always more. This app is a great way for anyone – at any level – to learn something new. Where ever you see something that catches your eye or that you don’t know what it is – snap a picture and it will tell you. Is it perfect – no – but it is pretty good and getting better all the time. You can save plants in your ‘garden’ so that you can easily remember the things you have learned. Use it at a nursery to make a list of things you are drawn to so that you can bring it home and research what you saw to figure out if it will work in your landscape.
Do you have a favorite garden design app we should know about? (I‘m currently playing with a couple of sun tracking apps that I am not sure love enough yet to include… l’ll let you know if either of them get promoted to ride or die status).
If you want to work like a designer, think like a designer and be a designer – you should use apps that garden designer uses.
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Learn more about my Garden Design Courses and how to use these and other tools to create your own beautiful garden.