Landscaping can be an expensive process, and using a good software package to investigate a design can help bring a project to life before dipping into the budget.

Most good landscaping software packages are now 3D enabled and some now even feature the ability to print in 3D as well as animate the design. Particularly helpful functions include cost estimation and shopping list tools, ideal for those on a tight budget and completing most the work themselves.

Landscaping software will also enable the user to simply move large landscape features such as walls, pathways and decks, making sure everything fits as best as possible because these objects are not easy to relocate once in place. Landscaping software is also an ideal way to convey your thoughts to family, contractors and builders, effectively communicating to them how the end result should look.

Some popular landscape design software packages include:

Better Homes and Gardens Landscaping and Deck Designer 8

Offers templates or the user can design from scratch to create the ideal outdoor living area. Create the desired look and feel by choosing from an abundance of foliage and flowers, or even design and estimate a deck or patio area. Also features more than 40 easy step-by-step tutorial training videos.

TurboFloorplan Home & Landscape Pro v16 Australian Version

Generate landscapes featuring decks, pathways and gardens with more than 7500, plants, trees, flowers and shrubs to choose from. It even lets you see how these plants will appear in different seasons and at different stages of their life.

Punch! Home and Landscape Design Professional for Windows Vista/7/XP

The intuitive interface makes designing fun, helping homeowners achieve a 3D rendering of their design in minutes, and will even let the user change the sun direction and specialist lighting.

There are also landscaping software packages that offer a free trial period download. While these are helpful in determining which package to eventually select, they may not actually allow the use all functions.