How Landscaping Software Works

Designing Irrigation with Landscaping Software

Adding water features to a landscape can help you to create a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere. When someone mentions a water feature in the backyard, many people will immediately think of a swimming pool or hot tub. But there's so much more you can add to increase your property value and your self-esteem.

Integrating water flow into landscaping plans requires sophisticated tools. Lower-priced software can help you incorporate:

  • Home sprinkler systems
  • Waterfalls
  • Moats
  • Ponds
  • Swimming pools/hot tubs
  • Installed or disappearing fountains
  • Light irrigation projects

These items can be placed into existing landscape designs by inputting either photos or 3-D models (which are easily imported from sites like Google's 3-D Warehouse). Like computer-illustrating programs, landscaping applications can let you build your design one element at a time using layering. So adding a koi pond under the deck extension can be a little bit like looking at transparencies that have been placed on top of each other.

­Professionals can use more expensive software from start to finish on complex irrigation projects, such as golf courses, municipal parks and corporate campuses. The pr­ograms make it simple to lay out a base plan and organize the site-planning. The software will take into account the drainage patterns, including hills and slopes. This data can be used to create 3-D surface models, from which the computer will render topographical maps. The program saves the designer time by automatically calculating crucial details like friction loss, pipe velocity and even evaporation rates, and by drawing in and calculating the pipe length needed between sprinklers [source: Software Republic].

Professional-level software can also contain features to count materials and equipment to provide accurate cost estimates (what's called "quantity takeoffs" in the business); databases of irrigation components and parts from major manufacturers; and templates for cranking out materials reports, budgets, proposals and bids.

Even though they're lovely, water features aren't for everyone. Read on to learn about terrain landscaping with software. You just might be able to show up the neighbors once and for all.