My Landscape Design Tools
I've used many different tools and programs over the past 30 years in garden design, and have settled on the following as my tools of choice:
GCadplus : GCadplus is a low cost 2D landscape design CAD program built upon an Autocad LT clone base. The layout and functionality are command-alike to older versions of AutoCad LT, with a complete suite of landscape functions and tools added. I actually helped with suggestions for the development of these functions, and with the Imperial version for use in the USA. The developer is extremely helpful and supports users by creating tutorial videos for every possible command.
Realtime Landscaping Architect : This is a low cost, 3D landscape design program that offers a wide array of functionality, from photoscape design to 3d walkthroughs. While not up to par with high end professional landscape architecture software, it fills a need for small design-build landscape companies where other software programs are far too costly and have ongoing subscription fees. These designs are raster, not vector based, and aren't true CAD designs, but they're surprisingly good for such a low-cost program.
Sketchup Make 2017 : This version is the last of the free downloadable offerings from Trimble. It's great for rapid prototyping and creating .skp models to use in Realtime Landscaping Architect. Current offerings are online web based and are slow and more difficult to use.
Spp.Db : Spp.Db is a plant database that can be tied into GCadplus, or used independently. It can contain and index photos and descriptive text and specifications for all the plants in your various palettes, gardens, or collections .