What is the best software package for designing your deck or patio?
In my opinion, for builders or DIYers, you will get the best bang for your buck - by far - with the Punch Deck, Home and Landscape offerings.
But first let me do a review of what is available on the market and also point you to some great FREE tools that may work just fine for your needs.
There are a number of software tools that are free to use. Here are a few:
So, if you are a DIYer and just want to get some ideas percolating and are not at the stage of getting down to actual construction details, your best bet is to play around with some of the free tools. They will help you crystalize your concepts.
And FREE is certainly affordable...
So, my advice is to go play around with some of the free applications. Maybe you will find they are too limited. Maybe you will never need more. In that case you are taken care of.
|PROGRAMS||Azek Deck Designer||Lowes Deck Designer||Home Depot Deck Designer||TREX Deck Designer|
|Available||Ipad||Desktop Version||Download and Install application||Desktop Version|
|Description||Help to create a 3D layout outdoor deck with 140+ products that can be chosen from using AZEK and TimberTech’s lighting, railings, decking, accessories.||Start from scratch or with default decks. Continue designing the dream deck with deck dimensions, railings, stairs, accessories etc.||Designing the dream deck with deck dimensions, railings, stairs, accessories etc.||Easy to access. Start from scratch or with default decks. Continue designing the dream deck with deck dimensions, railings, stairs, TREX materials and finishes.|
Azek Deck Designer
Lowes Deck Designer
Home Depot Do-It-Yourself Deck Designer
Source: The Home Depot
TREX Deck Designer
Well, maybe you are a DIYer with bigger ambitions or a Builder with a larger budget, if so, you will appreciate a tool that can do more. Like detailed drawings, amazing 3d renderings and the list goes on.
There are some powerful tools available, and they can do very impressive things.
That said, unless you are
a professional who is building decks frequently, I do not think you will be using this system enough to learn or even remember how to leverage all it has to offer.
|PROGRAMS||Punch! Landscaping Design||Idea Spectrum||Home Designer Landscaping Software by Chief Architect||SketchUp and Sketchup Pro|
|Plan||From $49.99||From $99.95||From $129 - $595||From $299|
|Tech Spec||This software requires 1GB of RAM and 3GB of hard disk space. Internet service is required to use the program.||System Requirements: Microsoft Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 with the latest Microsoft service packs; 1 GHz CPU (2 GHz or more recommended); 1 GB System Memory (2 GB or more recommended); 30 GB available hard disk space; DirectX 11-compatible Video Card with 512 MB Video Memory (1 GB or more recommended)||Require a PC or Mac with at least 4GB of memory and 5 GB of available hard disk space as well as internet access.||Sketchup Pro has even more features and even a free trial version of that. Pro can be used on Windows or MAC operating systems. Pro requires 3D class video graphics by NVDIA or AMD, they do not recommend Intel based graphics just yet but are working to include that.|
|Description||Design beautiful outdoor living spaces with the best landscape design software. Punch. Home & Landscape Design Essentials Version 21 provides a complete set of tools to plan, design, and visualize your outdoor spaces. Design your landscaping with drop-in landscaping, or create your own with the extensive plant library.||Realtime Landscaping Plus provides a comprehensive set of tools for designing and visualizing your landscape. Easily add houses, deck, fences, paths, walkways, grass, cement, edging, beauty bark, patios, retaining walls, and more. Utilizing the latest advances in 3D graphics technology, you can now experience your landscaping ideas with realistic lighting, shadows, wind, and other effects, all in real-time."||Chief Architect is one of the leading developers and publishers of 3D Architectural home design, and have also developed a software for landscape design that is just as up to par. This is often used by architects, interior designers, landscape designer and home designers, even DIYers.||Sketchup is commonly used in educational and professional settings. Sketchup is available in a free version and a pro (paid) version. The free version is available in a web browser. This will allow the user to draw, push and pull extrusions, orbit the screen and add colors and objects. The free version is available at app.sketchup.com where you can immediately start sketching.|