Computer software can help gardeners with design layouts. Professional garden desingers have the same software needs as other 3D designers (Vector CAD, Bitmap CAD, Solid Modeling etc). Home garden designers can use simplified programmes which have some of the capabilities of these programmes are much easier to learn and use. This is sold as specialist Garden Design Software. The programmes make use of bitmap images to supply textures for grass, flowers, shrubs, water, walls, fencing etc. Garden design software is a good starting point in computer aided design. Specialists can then move on to Vector CAD and Bitmap CAD.
Gardencomposer is a form of BitmapCAD, which works only with digital photographs. It lets you compose an image of the garden but does not help with drawing a plan. Master Landscape Pro and Geoff Hamilton's 3D Garden Designer work in a similar way.
People with a basic understanding of measuring, plan scales and drawing will probably find paper and pencil adequate for thinking about changes to their garden. Others, who are comfortable with learning computer software, may find garden CAD software has the following advantages:
- the software can give a visual impression of how planting design will combine with the design of paving, steps, walls etc
- the software can can help to convert on-site measurements into a plan