GardenCAD™ is easy-to-use software, designed for landscape use. It allows for the creation of plans which are full size vector CAD models similar to those produced by AutoCAD software in common use by architects and engineers.

However, in contrast to AutoCAD which is a generic CAD tool and used in many disciplines, GardenCAD is optimized for landscape use. It comes complete with tools for laying out the boundaries of a site, indicating the position of buildings and a wide range of pre-drawn symbols which you simply drag into position to indicate planting. These symbols can be scaled and rotated at will. When the site has been laid out, dimensions can be taken directly from the design (the model) and applied to entities (objects) such as paths, paved areas etc. Finally, GardenCAD allows the storage of much non graphic information such as botanical name, common name, plant name, size, code etc. within the drawing for later use in generating planting schedules.

Learn to use GardenCAD

To take this course, select the modules below, preferably in the order shown. After you have completed a module, click the back button in your browser to return to this menu and select the next module. When returning to this menu of modules, you may have to click the back button twice.

    Module Title     Description


About GardenCAD. We examine some simple designs showing the accurate placement of lines using the software. Using plant symbols from the GardenCAD library. Placing raster images (digital photos) into GardenCAD designs to help convey design ideas. Re-arranging the layer stacking order to improve design layout. Previewing and printing designs on different size presentation sheets.

Sample Designs

Showcasing some sample plans. We examine some GardenCAD designs produced by early users of the program.  We practice zooming in and out on parts of the drawing, copying symbols, moving plants etc. Finally, we introducing the value of visiting GardenCAD's web site - on a regular basis.

The GardenCAD interface

Examining the way in which GardenCAD works. The drawing editor, status line, a quick look at the various drop down menus - File, View, Modify etc.

Tutorial -learning GardenCAD by example

Learn GardenCAD by example. We create a complete job from start to finish and describe how a planting plan to replace some tired lawn areas in the front of a courtyard house was produced with GardenCAD. This method of learning is very different from the 'classical' way where you learn to use each tool separately before putting them to work on a real job.

Using drafting aids

Setting and using a user defined grid, applying polar tracking and adjusting entity snap settings in GardenCAD drawings.

The draw commands

A quick look at many of GardenCAD's draw commands. Drawing lines of defined length using Cartesian coordinates. Using Polar coordinates. The coordinate system used by GardenCAD. The use of the @ sign when entering coordinates. Using polar tracking. The LINE, ARC, CIRCLE, POLYLINE, POINT, ELLIPSE, POLYGON, MULTI LINES, TEXT, RECTANGLE, HATCH, insert BLOCK, insert RASTER.

Using External References

Using the XREF method of attaching files (drawings) as a back drop for garden plans. An attached drawing is called by the master drawing and can be detached at will.

Editing commands

Editing in GardenCAD - using the Move, Copy, Explode, Mirror commands.

Using plant symbols

Planting symbols have a major influence over the look and a feel to your designs. Here we examine the in-built plant symbols available in GardenCAD. In a later module, we show how to create symbols of your own. Each symbol has been carefully built using layers. We show how from one drawing, several different drawings can be generated, simply by turning layers on or off.

Using layers

From one drawing (model) many drawings can be generated, one for the client, one for the construction team, one for council submission etc.

Setting out site boundaries

Draw the footprint of a house, offset to create side and back boundaries, extending using false boundaries, trimming. Locating existing trees and shrubs.

  Applying dimensions

    How to use the dimensioning tools in GardenCAD.

Using photos in plans

Effectively using photographs in landscape plans

Using Pages Drop Down Menu

Creating a story board.

Printing GardenCAD drawings

An overview of printing a GardenCAD design. Simple printing from model space, choosing a suitable drawing sheet, installing a PDF writer, printing to fit. Preparing pages for printing from paper space. Creating several paper space pages. Preparing a page for printing at a defined scale e.g. a 1-1000 plot on an ISO size A1 sheet.

Printing to PDF files

Almost every computer in use has a copy on it of what is called Adobe Acrobat Reader®. This is not surprising, because it is a most useful tool and Adobe Systems provide the it free of charge. If you print your drawings to a PDF file, then any client or local print copy shop can view and print your drawings. In this module we explain the use of Acrobat and PDF writers which are used to create PDF files which Acrobat reads.

Creating and using logos

GardenCAD allows the use of both raster and vector forms of your company logo. Here we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, remedy some problems with raster files and use Adobe Illustrator to build a versatile CAD logo.

Case Study 1

Using GardenCAD to create a design for a courtyard home.

Case Study 2

Using GardenCAD to create a design for a school teaching garden.

Case Study 3

Using GardenCAD to create a design a public space.

Case Study 4

Using GardenCAD to create a design for some intricate paving.