Best Apps for Backyard Design

Looking for ideas to spruce up your yard? Below is a list of 10 of the best apps for backyard design that simplify the process.

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Looking for ideas to spruce up your yard? Below is a list of 10 of the best apps for backyard design that simplify the process.

The greatest apps allow you to visualize the way your garden will look while allowing you to tailor the structure of the yard to your needs. There are many free apps out there for desktops, Android and iOS. But the superb ones offer paid upgrades that come with really cool features in 2D and 3D.

Today’s article offers you a list of 10 desktop and mobile apps that help you plan your landscape digitally. I’ll discuss their basic features, and in some cases, what users like and dislike about them. In the end, I’ll share with you the landscape planning app that I use every day to help with companion planting and how to choose the best one for your needs.

I’ve never used most of these apps. But I do know what gardeners and homeowners need when doing a DIY landscape design. During my research to find the most useful ones, I narrowed them down to what the free versions offer. Read on to find out the name of my favorite backyard design mobile app and why I love it so much.

Table of Contents

10 Best Apps for Backyard Design

As we get closer to summer, homeowners are thinking of ways to enjoy their backyards during the hot months. Maybe you have ideas in your head, but you’re having a hard time visualizing them. The best backyard design apps provide you with awesome ideas for your landscape.

Once your digital design is complete, you can use it to inspire your DIY landscaping project. Or you can show the design to your professional landscaper who will take on the task of breathing life into your ideas.

1. DreamPlan Home Design Software

This desktop app features 3D mode. It helps you plan your landscape by allowing you to input details like where you want to add trees and plants. You can change the terrain all around your home within the software. The app also lets you add a swimming pool and various other hardscape elements, something many other apps don’t do.

With DreamPlan Home Design, you can work with 3D models after importing them. This helps you create a design that’s all your own. The interface is crisp and clean. So, it’s simple to use, even if you’re not a ‘techie’ person.

The free version works just fine for homeowners, although some say the interface is a bit slow. There is an upgrade called DreamPlan Home Design Software Plus. This upgrade is great for professional landscapers.

2. Eden Garden Designer

This iOS app gives you the ability to use your iPad or iPhone to design backyard spaces using images in your device or stock garden photos. Add plants to the digital landscape design by using the Plant Library and searching by:

  • Name
  • Type
  • Blooming Season
  • Grow Zone
  • Sun Exposure
  • Color
  • Height

According to the iTunes reviews, users love its animations and how easy Eden Garden Designer is to use. They also like how it shows the way plants will look in your backyard from season to season.

Although the basic app is free for users, the upgraded version comes with add-ons, such as adding greenery that’s specific to your growing zone, as well as personalizing where shade and sun are in your yard.

3. Gardena Garden Planner

This desktop software renders 2D models of your landscape design plans. Users say it’s a cute, little online software that’s very easy to operate. It allows you to draw sketches using the tools within the app. Some users complain that the number of items in the library is slightly limited.

With Gardena Garden Planner, you can add your garden plants, backyard furniture, house and more to the digital design. There’s even an add-on that lets you plan out your automatic sprinkler system while designing your landscape. That way, you know ahead of time exactly how you’ll be watering your lawn and plants.

It comes with a nice amount of templates to help you get started. Choose various pre-drawn elements, which can all be moved, shrunk, enhanced and rotated to suit your needs. Add hardscape elements to the digital landscape, such as barbecue grills, swimming pools, ponds, outdoor lighting, even your vehicles.

4. iScape App

This iOS mobile app helps you plan a new garden or redevelop one you already have going. Using an Apple iPad or iPhone, you enter data related to your backyard space. Then, use the app to replace your current hardscapes and softscapes with new ones.

Open the iScape app and use it to make changes to your landscape and see how they look from different viewing points. Add fences, plants, trees and other features using the drag and drop application. You can also clone, copy and mirror various garden elements, all while walking around your yard with your iPhone.

This is a free iOS tool for planning out your landscape. But the company does offer an upgraded version that’s very popular with landscaping professionals.

5. Houzz

The popularity of this mobile and desktop landscape design app is unmatched right now. It not only allows you to plan the perfect design for your backyard, but it helps find a local contractor to complete your landscape design for you.

Within the Houzz app, you’ll find well over 16 million photos in high-resolution to help you design the backyard landscape of your dreams. And to top it off, the app keeps you informed on the hottest landscaping trends and news with newsletters and articles. Users gave this app a thumbs up.

6. My Lawn: A Guide to Lawn Care

This app was created by Scotts, an industry leader when it comes to lawn care products. Unlike the others on this list, it doesn’t allow you to create a digital design of your landscape. What it does is help you create a simple-to-follow plan to care for and maintain your lawn.

My Lawn: A Guide to Lawn Care is a simple app that offers you personalized recommendations based on the following:

  • Type of grass
  • Lawn size
  • Location
  • Weeds
  • Fertilizer
  • Lawn seed type
  • Weather Conditions

Once you receive the recommendations, simply use the app to instantly purchase the Scott’s products you need. Shipping is free when ordered through the software.

It allows you to create as many lawn plans as you need. You can also create different conditions on the various sides of your house. Use it to contact a Scott’s representative if you have any questions or concerns about lawn care or any of the recommended products.

7. PRO Landscape Home

This is a highly rated tool for homeowners looking for cool landscape redesign ideas. Start by adding a photo of your house and/or garden. Then, add both softscapes and hardscapes to personalize the digital landscape design.

Search for the best plants for your garden based on your climate zone. Use it to add patio furniture, water features and various other focal points. When you’re done planning your landscape layout, the app allows you to share it with others on social networks or with your local landscape contractor.

This is a free application that works with both Android and iOS devices. But it does offer an upgraded version that provides well over 2,000 more items to add to your landscape plans. It also provides apps designed specifically for professional landscapers.

8. SketchUp

This 2-D and 3D-rendering app is compatible with all common web browsers. So, it works on both desktops and mobile devices. It can be a bit complicated to learn to use, but it does render very professional-looking landscape designs, which is why it’s so popular with architects, builders, designers and engineers.

According to the makers of SketchUp, it acts as an “extension of your hand.” The app allows you to draw whatever you want, however you want it to look. It creates both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional models while helping you create complicated sketches easily and quickly.

The app allows you to save your drawings directly onto your device or in the cloud. It’s a free app. But an upgraded version does exist that offers many more features.

9. VR Gardens – 3D Design Planner

Get your dream garden out of your head and bring it to life with this 3D garden design planner. It includes hundreds of plant and flower types as well as hardscape structures. You’ll get a kick out of using this app to design your backyard landscape from scratch.

One of the things users find so fascinating about VR Gardens is that it allows you to take a dazzling virtual reality tour of your digital landscape design when you’re done creating it on your phone.

The tour gives you the feeling that you are standing right in the middle of your gorgeously landscaped yard. This gives you the chance to see just what the yard will look like in real life once the landscaping project is complete.

10. Planter – Garden Planner

This is by far my all-time favorite garden planning app and one of the best apps for backyard design on the planet. I haven’t skipped one day opening this awesome mobile application since I downloaded it over a year ago. It’s perfect for beginner gardeners as well as the seasoned ones.

The Planter Garden Planner app helps you plan out multiple garden spaces. You start by adding the dimensions of the space you are working on at the time. Then, it uses those dimensions to render a square foot gardening grid to help you organize and place your plants where you want them to go.

There used to be more than 50 types of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to choose from altogether. But recently, I realized after an automatic update that even more have been added. You can also add plants that don’t exist in the app yet, although this requires adding all the pertinent information about the plant yourself.

Here are just some of the features I love so much about this free mobile app at-a-glance:

  • Copy Gardens – Allows you to copy a garden you’ve already designed within the app
  • Growing Calendar – See at-a-glance when to start seeds indoors, sow outside and transplant seedlings outside for each type of plant
  • Reminders – Lets you set reminders for within the Growing Calendar
  • Companion Plants – Tells you which plants grow well with each plant type
  • Combative Plants – Gives you a big visual ‘no-no’ in the app when you place a plant next to one that it’s combative against
  • Location Personalization – Log in and add your zip code for personalized information related to frost dates as well as planting recommendations based on your zone

Detailed Plant Information

This application goes into great detail about each plant. It provides the following information:

  • Description
  • Different varieties of each plant
  • Spacing recommendations
  • Seed sowing depth requirements
  • When to sow seeds indoors or outdoors or transplant outside
  • Best season to grow
  • Sun requirements
  • Maturity days
  • Frost information
  • How to grow from seeds
  • Plant considerations, like soil needs
  • When and how to harvest
  • How to store the harvested crops

How to Choose the Best Apps for Backyard Design

Not sure which app you should download or use online? The most effective way to choose the one that’s best for you is to determine why you need an app in the first place. So, ask yourself these questions before choosing a landscape design program for the web or your mobile device:

  • Do you only plan to use the app one time?
  • Are you just interested in creating a simple digital design or do you need a more detailed one for your upcoming project?
  • Are you tech-savvy enough to learn a complicated program or do you need something very simple to learn?

Once you establish your needs, it should be easy to decide which of the apps above will work best for your situation. If you download an app and decide you don’t like it or it doesn’t meet your needs, be sure to delete it from your device before downloading another one. You don’t want to use up all your memory for apps you won’t ever use again.

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