3D Landscape Design: Is it time to add it to your toolbox?
A meticulously hand-rendered landscape design plan is incomparable to anything else. The ability to draw every detail, from the smallest plant to the largest water feature, is a skill that creates functional works of art that, up until recently, drew customers.
Today, however, landscape design has joined the rest of the design world: technology is king. As competition in the landscape industry becomes fiercer, owners are looking for anything that can help set them apart. 3D design is a great opportunity to do just that. More and more, your business will be competing with landscape designers who offer 3D rendering to their clients and as more contractors begin using 3D design, you may find your potential customers looking for this service, before even signing a contract. Luckily, in many ways, this can work in your favor.
3D video walkthroughs in high resolution and photo-realistic 3D renderings of the outdoor living spaces you wish to build help the homeowner become emotionally invested in the project from the moment you show her your design.
Perhaps one obstacle to taking the plunge into 3D is the dizzying array of software options available on the market. Many owners have not had the time to research and differentiate between the programs that are out there. I’m here to offer you a great starting point that has been tested and approved by not only many of the contractors I work with, but also by myself, here at Unilock, Ohio.
The program that I have used very successfully and highly recommend is Uvision 3D Landscape Creator from Unilock. Aside from my personal experience, the results of the program can be seen in the many testimonials available online.
Uvision has it all. It is the closest I have found to a one size fits all design program for the hardscape/landscape industry. Allowing the user to design complete landscapes, including yards, gardens, swimming pools, ponds, decks, fences, patios, and more, the program is about far more than just pavers. The program is also about much more than producing to-scale design plans for use in the field. It’s about allowing your potential customer to understand what you are proposing in your pitch. Studies show, time and time again, that homeowners simply don’t understand 2D landscape plans the way a contractor does. 3D rendering prevents any misunderstanding while also allowing homeowners to envision their lives improved by the installation of your design.
In my travels, visiting the jobsites of the contractors in my territory, I’ve had many conversations with contractors that assume the program is too expensive and will take way too long to learn. Contrary to these beliefs, the program is merely a $379.00 one time purchase and typically takes a week to get familiar with.
Many of the businesses that have successfully introduced design software into their workflow have done so by dedicating time during the off-season to train their employees. This strategy allows the needed time to become proficient so that when the spring crush arrives, you can hit the ground running.
Additionally, there are tremendous amounts of training videos available online that are short, detailed, and most importantly, allow you to follow along and learn in real time. Unilock Territory Managers are also available to offer you a fast way to cut your teeth on this software. Because Unilock Territory Managers have extensive training in the very same software their contractors use, they are well equipped to help ease the transition for you and your team by acting as in-person support, if needed. Unilock is committed to helping its contractor community understand the value of 3D design software.
If you already have a program that you rarely use or are more of an “AutoCAD person,” this program is still the one for you. It allows you to import just about anything, from pictures to CAD designs, and convert them into a 3D rendering with ease. It allows you to create a totally personal presentation, between you and your customer. It also enables you to emphasize the uniqueness of the project that you’ve designed, which might otherwise have been difficult to convey in basic pictures and 2D plans.
Uvision offers multiple benefits to the companies that take the time to add it to their design process. For those transitioning from a hand-drawn environment the impact is tenfold. With everything digitally rendered and saved, making the inevitable changes and tweaks to the plan you originally proposed is easy and, most importantly, time-efficient. Hours and hours of hand drawing are replaced by a few clicks of the mouse.
Whether you’re coming from the hand-drawn world, or a 2D AutoCAD background, the biggest impact you’ll see from adopting your new 3D design software is in how well the client will understand the project you are selling. Uvision allows you to vividly describe and show your client your design ideas. It also allows you to upsell and yes, ultimately make more money.