Top 10 Apps for Landscape Architects

Landscape architecture? Yes, there’s an app for that. There are actually quite a few handy apps that every tech-savvy landscape architect should consider adding to their virtual toolbox. Let’s take a closer look at the applications that made the top 10.

Landscaper’s Companion

Landscaper’s Companion is a comprehensive reference guide to flora covering more than 25,000 trees, shrubs and flowers. The database covers 17 categories of plant life found in North America, the UK and Australia. Information provided for each plant species includes growth habit, aspect, USDA zone, plant size and water requirements. Users can enter location attributes, flower color, bloom time and size parameters and the app will generate a list of suitable species.

Leafsnap

Leafsnap is for those moments when you simply cannot remember the botanical name of a species. It includes a visual recognition algorithm that can identify trees from photos of their leaves. The process is quite simple; place a leaf on a white background, snap a photo and upload it into the app. Leafsnap is currently limited to tree species found in the Northeast U.S., but it is being expanded to cover the entire country. The Smithsonian Institute, University of Maryland and Columbia University are collaborating on the project to further develop the app.

AutoCAD 360

What happens if you are away from your computer and you have to work with an AutoCAD file? You used to be out of luck, but AutoCAD 360 gives you the ability to download and work with DWG files right on your iPhone. Once the file is downloaded you do not even have to be online to work with it. The app allows users to work in both 2D and 3D drawing, so you can update renderings on the go and send them to colleagues or clients.

Planimeter

Planimeter allows architects to quickly obtain rough measurements of site boundaries in the field.
The app uses measurements on imperial and metric satellite maps to calculate the area, perimeter and distance of a given site. The surrounding area can also be measured, allowing architects to obtain all the measurement data needed when on a site visit. The numbers obtained can then be used to estimate the scale of the project and the resources it will require.

Dropbox

Landscape architects are constantly exchanging information with designers, landscapers and clients, and Dropbox allows that information to be shared across numerous devices. It works with iPhones, iPads, iTouch and any other device on which Dropbox is installed. It is the ultimate communication app and is a must-have for landscape architects who spend their days sending and receiving project files.
Drawings, photos and files of any kind can be stored in one program and distributed as needed to other devices. Sending large files via email is a slow and problematic process, and one that Dropbox users never have to worry about. The files are securely stored and transferred, and users can allow a third party to access specific folders in their Dropbox. The app claims that it simplifies the life of the user, a claim it certainly follows through on.

Morpholio

Morpholio was created by architects as a platform through which designers can collaborate, critique and share in the creative process. It weaves social media, the cloud and device culture into the mix and allows artists across a number of creative disciplines to interact with each other. There are even features that enable users to upload work for critique by the community of Morpholio users. This is a fun new iPhone/iPad app with exciting potential. Download it from the iTunes App Store here.

Houzz App

Houzz

Houzz is an architecture and design app with a monstrous database of images to inspire new projects. It covers mostly indoor spaces, but there is a dedicated section to outdoor architecture and design. It is the perfect brainstorming app to help get the creative juices flowing and come up with new ideas. The outdoor section contains over 240,000 photos of inspired outdoor spaces. The images can be filtered by space and style, with separate sections for deck, patio, landscape and pool designs. A range of designs are covered, with emphasis on unique, high-end architecture and design.

My Measures and Dimensions

My Measures and Dimensions is an app designed for the storing and sharing of space and object dimensions. It benefits architects, carpenters, real estate agents and other professionals who work with dimensions on a daily basis.

Simply take a photo of the object you wish to store dimensions for and use angles, arrows and text to record the dimensions. Save the file and refer to it as you wish or share it with others.

Application Features:

  • Record and store dimensions on a photo
  • Organize saved images into folders
  • Easily share multiple folders or files
  • Export photos and dimensions to the photo library
  • Send saved files via email
  • Landscape and portrait formats supported
  • Supports metric and imperial units; feet, inches yards, meters, centimeters, etc.
  • Leica laser meter supported (depending on connectivity).

Evernote

Evernote is a clever app that helps professionals get organized, plan projects, get reminders and store project details. You can write notes, capture images, record audio…and have it all stored in an easily accessible system. It is marketed as a tool that captures experiences, but it is also a powerful organizational tool that lets users record any type of information at any time and access it later. The broad features of this app allow users to customize its use to suit their specific needs and lifestyle.

SketchBook Mobile

SketchBook Mobile is a nifty painting and drawing app made by Autodesk for android devices. It includes a suite of sketching tools delivers through an intuitive, well-designed GUI. It can capture ideas as rough sketches, add embellishments to existing work or produce drawings on the go. The paint engine is borrowed form SketchBook Pro, so it offers a wide selection of sophisticated pencils and brushes.

Features:

  • Full-screen mode to maximize work space
  • Pen-only mode for pen-input supported devices
  • Pressure sensitivity support
  • Touch input not recognized by canvas (menus, panels and tools only).
  • Multi-touch interface with zoom navigation and two-finger panning

These apps help landscape designers capture and share data, collaborate with colleagues, organize projects and communicate with clients all from the convenience of their mobile devices. The creative tools also allow users to be prepared whenever inspiration hits. Some of the apps are even free, so grab your phone and start downloading!

How to Choose a Landscape Design Professional

Choosing a landscape designer to create the outdoor space of your dreams is a big decision. A skilled landscaper will overcome all of the necessary hurdles to give you the space you want, while a general contractor may fall well short. Landscape design work is not cheap, so before you write a big check make sure the designer you have chosen is well qualified to do the job right.

The design options for outdoor spaces are virtually unlimited these days, which enables homeowners to transform their current landscapes into beautiful, functional spaces they can enjoy. Smart landscaping can also increase the value of a home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Deciding on a landscape designer to hire takes a bit of time and research, but it pays off in the end when the project goes smoothly, comes in on budget and leaves you with a yard your neighbors envy. Bad landscape design work cannot be fixed easily, so getting it right the first time is of the utmost importance. The tips that follow will help you navigate the process of choosing the right landscape designer for your space, budget and tastes.

Do Your Homework

Spend some time searching for landscape designers in your area online. Most will have websites with portfolios of previous work, references and pricing guidelines. You should have a good idea of what your project will entail and what you want the finished product to look like upon completion. This will enable you to look through the portfolios of various designers for projects similar to yours. Look for designers who have completed similar projects with pleasing results and make a short list of the best potential candidates.

Talk to Family, Friends and Neighbors

Talk to people you trust and are close to and ask them if they have had any landscape design work done. If they have, find out who they used and what their experience was like. This is a great way to get inside information about professionals in the area.

Once you have your list of hopefuls, it is a good idea to go to their places of business and meet them in person. Here you can look at more previous work and ask questions regarding their experience, pricing and availability. You will also get a gut feeling about the company, which is equally important.

Further Research and References

After meeting with the designers you should have a list of two or three companies to choose from. At this point you want to do more extensive research on the potential companies to find out what kind of reputation they have and what past customers have to say about them. Look for reviews online, specifically on landscape design forums. You can also check with the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects or the American Nursery and Landscape Association to see if the companies are members.

Ask each candidate for references, as reputable businesses will be ready and willing to provide them. Consider what former clients chose to emphasize in their references. Did they say the designer was easy to work with? Knowledgeable? Friendly? You want the work to be top-notch, but you also want a designer who is easy to work, flexible, and who provides great customer service.

Get a Bid from Each Company

Price is another thing to consider, so get bids from your top two or three companies so you can compare price alongside the other data you’ve collected. You may find considerable differences between the bids you receive, which will help you narrow down the field and make an informed decision when it comes time to hire a designer. Do not just choose the designer who offers the lowest bid. Consider all you have learned about the various companies and factor all of the information you have collected into your decision. Sometimes it is worth your while to pay a bit more for better quality work.

Final Considerations

Flexibility is an important quality in a landscape designer and one you should consider when you are down to a couple potential candidates. Does the designer seem willing to having small changes implemented once the project starts? Do they seem confident with regard to any special considerations or challenges your project presents?

Reliability is another thing to consider carefully. Does the designer finish projects on time and within the prescribed budget? Does the team show up when they are supposed to? Did the company promptly return any phone calls you made when inquiring about their services? An unreliable landscape designer is a headache waiting to happen, so answer these questions carefully.

Take the appearance of their place of business, design team and equipment into consideration as well. Landscapers aren’t always the most clean-cut bunch, but they should make a reasonably professional appearance. Does the office seem neat and organized? Do the work trucks and equipment look clean and well maintained? The answers to all of these questions will allow you to make a well-informed decision with regard to which designer to hire.

Looking for a professional landscape designer in Toronto for your backyard or garden project? Get in touch with us today and let us help you design and develop your dream landscape. You may also want to learn more about us or the products we offer.

History of Garden Fountains – From Ancient World to 20th Century

Ancient World

The Egyptians began planting gardens around their homes as early as 3,000 BC. Their gardens evolved to be commonly situated around fish ponds of various sizes, with flowers, plants and fruit trees planted around the decorative ponds.

The Persians and Assyrians of the Mesopotamia highlands irrigated their garden spaces with pools of flowing water. The gardens were set in large plains, shaded by planted trees. Such gardens are often depicted on traditional Persian carpets.

Homes in ancient Rome and Greece were decorated with elaborate colonnaded gardens, particularly those of wealthy and high-ranking citizens. Public baths were also adorned with garden spaces.

Non-Western World

The hot, dry desert climate inspired the gardens Muslims created, which were centered on water. They consisted of close courts full of decorative shrubs and trees and had passageways defined by arches and supporting columns. Pools, fountains and ornate tile work enlivened the spaces.

In 14th century Spain, the Moors built similar gardens full of fruit trees and flowers, incorporating water as a centerpiece and for irrigation purposes. The Mughals in India favored unified compositions, but built gardens with similar components. The Taj Mahal is the most notable example, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.

In China, gardens were created in pots for seasonal changes and adorned with pools in courtyards around homes, temples and palaces. A notable example is in Beijing, where the gardens of Imperial City are elaborately sculpted with beautiful flora, man-made lakes, bridges and hillocks.

Japanese gardens were inspired by those of neighboring Korea and China. The gardens of Kyoto were elaborately built with evergreens, waterfalls, still pools, rock and sand. Constructing a garden was an art form practiced by many painters and monks in which every element was placed deliberately and the components carefully edited.

Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Periods

The garden spaces of 9th century medieval Europe contained partitioned segments for flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables. Monastery gardens had fountains as centerpieces and were bordered by cloistered trails, borrowing from Persian gardens to create ideal spaces for meditation.

In Italy during the Renaissance gardens were surrounded by cypress trees and filled with fountains, ornate sculptures, balustrades and geometric flower beds. Notable gardens from the 15th century include those found in the vicinity of Florence in the Medici and La Pietra villas. Highlights from the 16th century include the Villa Farnese in Caprarola and the Villa Lante of Bagnaia. Rome boasted the breathtaking Villas Medici and Madama, while Tivoli was recognized for the sublime Villa d’Este.

The 17th century saw an even more dramatic and complex baroque style which featured myriad fountains, pools and waterfalls; heavy use of serpentine lines and displays of exquisite, dynamic sculptures. Standout gardens from this century include Lake Maggiore’s Isola Bella, Villa Giovio of Como, Colodi’s Villa Garzoni and the famous Villa Aldobrandini of Frascati.

The baroque gardens of Europe and the Renaissance inspired masterpieces of Italy inspired the region. The gardens of Alcazar in Seville combined Renaissance and Moorish elements, while the Loire valley chateaus boasted formal gardens with similar aesthetics elements. Chateau Chenonceaux and Chateau Chambord had especially inspired gardens surrounded by forested parks.

In 17th century France, Louis XIV commissioned acres upon acres of gardens in tight symmetrical arrangements as part of a wide-reaching building program. The grandeur of these indulgent gardens was unequalled. Tree-lined radiating alleys intersected the grounds, which were studded with incredible flora, pavilions, fountains and sculptures. The splendid gardens of Versailles were imitated but never equaled throughout the countries of Europe across the following century.

Romantic Period

The 18th century saw a number of aesthetic changes, many of which were attributed to the rise of romanticism. This affected the arts as a whole, bringing about a new sensibility in landscape architecture. The uptight symmetry of the 17th century, typified by highly sculpted and structured spaces, gave way to informal arrangements of trees and shrubs surrounded by ponds, winding paths, gentle hills and sprawling grass. Gardens at grand estates such as Chatsworth and Blenheim Palace began to take on the unplanned qualities of the wilderness—a dramatic change from the gardens of previous centuries.
The romantic style caught on all over Europe, with the garden at Ermenonville in France becoming a template for Thomas Jefferson’s estate at Monticello. This is also the style in which Central Park in New York City was designed in the late 1850s.

20th Century

In the 20th century gardens became more integrated parts of the home, sometimes extending from the yard into the home. In areas with mild climates such as southern California, landscape designers explored the possibilities such an amenable climate offered, coming up with unique new designs using exotic flora and varied flowing water elements. In urban areas where space is limited, indoor fountains and pools are commonly seen in shopping malls, office buildings and even inside homes.

Garden fountains have evolved over the century, as have the gardens they are found in. The traditional styles from these periods are incorporated into modern designs intended to add water elements to backyards, patios and indoor living spaces.

Garden Ornaments in Toronto

Based near Toronto, Beyond the Veranda offers a large selection of luxury garden ornaments by Haddonstone. Delivery and installation of these pieces is available to residents and professional contractors located in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Cast stone garden ornaments are elegant, refined choices for any type or style of exterior or interior space. The most impressive stone designs provide the ultimate in craftsmanship, by offering designers, landscapers and homeowners access to artistry that is virtually unparalleled. If you’re searching for lawn ornaments that are truly a cut above, you’ll find that Haddonstone has a range of signature designs and collections that include antique-inspired elements which evoke emotion and bring beauty to any form of outdoor design, from patios to backyards and courtyards.

Today, garden ornaments are available in a variety of styles, shapes, colors and materials. Stone garden accents remain the best and most traditional choice for bringing a sense of emotion and artistry to a landscape design. The best way to select these ornaments is by matching the available styles and materials with your personal style and current garden design. Whether you love a more contemporary look like the Bay Planter or classically-influenced styles that recall the beauty of the most applauded English gardens (see our statues), you’ll find a design that gives you the look and mood that you’re after.

History of Garden Ornaments

Garden ornaments were used in Ancient Rome, so they’ve been around for a very long time. In fact, some antique examples of these decorative works of stone were excavated from the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. During the Italian Renaissance, they became central design elements in outdoor landscapes. Since that time period, preferences in lawn ornaments have evolved. Today, elements of kitsch (cutesy style) are quite common. However, high art influences are still very prevalent.

As you can see, for centuries, men and women have sought to make their outdoor worlds more pleasing to the eye, through the addition of sophisticated or playful decorations. These days, the old influences continue to provide inspiration for the most well-known designers of the modern age.

Asian countries were also home to stunning garden accents that are mimicked today. For example, classical Chinese gardens were often adorned with Chinese scholar’s rocks. Today, many home owners add beauty to their exterior environments by adding rock gardens into the mix.

Planters

When it comes to creating a focal point that draws the eye and pleases the senses, choosing a stylish cast stone planter and beautiful flowers to go with it is an excellent strategy. You may choose stone, glazed ceramics, fiberglass, terracotta or metal. All containers have their pros and cons, so it’s important to consider the properties of the type and material of each container before making a final decision about what is best for your situation.

Things to think about as you select the right planter include the weight of the piece, its price and whether or not the material is able to last your climate. Some planters come unfinished, while others, such as glazed ceramics, are very shiny, vibrant and colorful.

Fountains

If you love the look and sound of rushing water, you’re not alone. That’s why so many people choose to add centerpiece fountains to their outdoor spaces. These accents provide incredible drama, without being over the top. Like most ornaments, fountains come in sleek, modern styles or traditional, classically-inspired designs. Styles of garden fountains include self-circulating, wall and tiered. Water features of this type vary widely in price, and typically require professional installation.

Garden Statues

Garden statues feature depictions of people or animals and many designs are replicas of family sculptures from ancient times. If statues or men, women and animals don’t really suit your style, consider more modern and abstract designs that are crafted from stone or metal. You may find mass-produced statues for gardens, but cast stone ornaments are longer lasting and make a great investment as the more weathered and aged they are, the more they can be worth.

Enjoy Comfort and Style with the Right Garden Furniture

If you want to add seating arrangements to your courtyard, garden or other landscape, you will find that wrought-iron and cast stone designs fit the bill perfectly. There are many different types of garden furniture available including benches, garden tables and seats. Scale your requirements to your budget. If you don’t have a lot to spend, choose basic designs that don’t have a lot of embellishments. If you’re willing to pay more for top quality, then choose handcrafted designs that are produced by skilled artisans such as those made by Haddonstone.

Looking for quality garden ornaments in Toronto for an interior or exterior design project? Browse through our extensive collection of statues, planters, fountains and more and then get in touch with us to discuss you project’s requirements.

27 Pool Landscaping Ideas Create the Perfect Backyard Oasis

In this post we have collected the most inspiring pool landscape designs that we could find to help you visualize and plan the backyard oasis that you’ve always dreamed of. The photos in this collection cover a variety of styles, sizes and price levels of pools and backyards and are best used as a starting point for further research. The right choice of hardscaping, garden decorations and plants can make the difference between a cold, uninviting area and a warm, welcoming outdoor atmosphere. Create a backyard getaway like one of the ones below and all your friends, family (and possibly neighbors) will jump at the chance to visit your private summer retreat.

You can choose to design the landscape yourself or enlist the help of a professional such as a landscape architect. Water fountains, planters, garden furniture, colorful flowers as well as stone retaining walls and pathways all add to the relaxing feel of the landscape. There is nothing quite like enjoying a cold drink and soaking up the sun’s rays beside a clear, refreshing pool on a hot summer day. Enjoy the photos below and let us know if you found the ideas useful by leaving a comment.

Traditional Pool Landscape Design
By Boston Landscape Architects & Designers

Raised Wall Pool Idea
By Norwalk Pools and Spas

backyard patio and pool
By Nutley Landscape Architects & Designers


By Aquacon Pools and Landscaping

Small Backyard Pool

Modern Infinity Pool Landscape
By Chantilly Pools and Spas

mediterranean pool and slide idea
By Tampa Stone, Pavers & Concrete

Tropical Beach Like Pool Landscape
By Mill Valley Landscape Architects & Designers

Tiered Contemporary Pool Design
By Austin General Contractors

Traditonal Patio and Grotto Landscape
By Kennett Square Photographers

elegant mediterranean pool design
By Pittstown Pools and Spas

tropical garden pool design
By Florence Pools and Spas

Traditional Pool and Landscape
By Los Angeles Architects & Designers

Small Backyard Pool Stone Edging
By G & R Pools & Spas

Peaceful Landscape Ideas
By Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

Mediterranean Landscape Water Fountain Idea
By Studio H Landscape Architecture

Simple Pool Landscape
By Carville Landscape Co

Pool Within Large Garden
By Cipriano Landscape Design

Pool and Hot Tub With Fountains Idea
By Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

Swimming Pool Landscaping Idea
By Lehigh Lawn & Landscaping

Poolside Trees and Flowers
By Liquidscapes

Pool Waterfall With Natural Look
By Sitescapes Landscape Design

Hard Landscaping Ideas
By Silver Creek Stoneworks

Pool and Fire Pit for Small Backyard
By Apex Landscape

Tiered Pool With Waterfall and Decor
By Paragon Pools

Relaxing Swimming Pool Landscape Design
By The Green Scene

Modern Pool Beside Dining Area
By Leisure Pools

Small Backyard With Fire and Water
By Lone Star Landscaping