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Mrsvwal 11-24-2012 12:52 PM

exterior design software
Does anyone know a relatively easy program to use that will help redesign an exterior plan? I'm a novice computer user...
Any help would be appreciated!

user1007 11-24-2012 05:22 PM

By exterior do you mean the exterior elevations of the home or the landscape? Out buidlings? How detailed do you need finished drawings and designs?

There are a plethora of home landscape design programs out there ranging from freeware/open source to around $50. They are probably adequate for most residential yards. One thing I have found with them is some lot sizes exceed the dimensional limits they are able to handle. Many of them do come with plant lists, pre-designed constructed elements like arbors, decks and so forth.

I have not searched in awhile for what is available for free these days. I do know of several landscape design and architecture programs in the commercial realm but they are probably more than you are looking for and at a tidy price point. They do detail drawings, take off lists and all that jazz though.

Fix'n it 11-25-2012 09:21 AM

i would like a program that would change the : color, siding, decks, stairs, etc, of the house. something easy to use. but doesn't have to be very detailed. just to help get an idea of what i am thinking.

user1007 11-25-2012 10:17 AM

Google Sketch Up? I use Sweet Home 3D but it is mainly for floorplans. There may be landscape symbols and even surfaces to download for exteriors. Both are free.

Here are some other programs for drafting and so forth that have been recommended on this site:

Chief Architect Premium

For color simulation? I use the virtual painting program from Benjamin Moore all the time. It is free. You have to download Adobe Air if you want the machine resident version. It is also free. You upload your photo, spend a little time masking off areas to paint, and then pick any colors from the Ben Moore collection. You can even adjust opacity. If you don't want to mess with masking off your own photos, you can pick one of their pre-masked examples that is close.

I use the DRAW program in Libre Office all the time and it would be adequate for adding simulated siding or something for exploratation purposes. Libre Office is free open source software.

Other than that, there are many landscape and exterior programs out there in the $40ish range that could suit your needs. There may be freeware versions that will show up in a Google search? I suspect most have free trial periods. As mentioned one drawback I found to the landscape programs is that many only allowed fairly small lot sizes. With any drawing programs, you may find it difficult to draw with a mouse. Drawing pads that would work for these things are under $100 now though.

Let us know what you end up working with please?

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