Landscaping rendering: what is this and what programs to use

Landscaping rendering Exterior


It is difficult to imagine the development of an architectural project without landscape design. This is a wide field of activity for landscape designers, covering both the planning of individual urban areas (for example, parks) and the design of a large country house. However, it will be very difficult for the customer to understand complex drawings and plans without an architectural education. Modern technologies make it possible to create and present projects that are closest to real, live perception. Unlike working drawings, visualization is easily perceived and conveys the main features of the composition. 3D rendering makes it possible to implement landscape design of any complexity and type, to present any idea: from a roof garden to entire campuses. In this article, we will tell you all the features of landscaping rendering and what is the best software for rendering landscapes. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to improve your yard or a landscape designer, you’ll be intrigued.

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What is landscaping rendering?

Landscape architecture rendering is the creation of a realistic 3D image of a site with all buildings, a fence, future paths, fountains, and plants. Landscape renderings are very convenient and understandable for perception. They allow you to see the smallest details of the future garden or park, evaluate its style, and understand how the site will look after the work of a landscape architect. All details of the 3D model look very realistic. 

Landscape design rendering can display some parts of the territory or the entire site with all additional elements such as paths, paved areas, decorative zones, or a reservoir. With the help of a landscape rendering service, the customer gets an amazing opportunity to take a walk around the future garden, to view the site from any important angle for him. 

As practice shows, 3D designing at the initial stage of landscape work saves time and money, allowing you to identify all possible errors and shortcomings in advance. It becomes clear what the house and the surrounding territory will ultimately look like.

Another advantage of landscape rendering is the ability to create an animated video. Thus, you can virtually walk around the site, look into every corner and see how it will look from different angles, at different times of the day, with certain plants and architectural structures.

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Benefits of landscape architecture rendering

  • Several design options. Sometimes, the client wants to consider several options for designing the territory. Landscape renderings allow us to evaluate of several design ideas and choose the most appropriate solution.
  • There are no restrictions on the size, shape, colors, and location of all objects on the site.
  • Landscape rendering will help test objects: color, texture, size, etc. You can also see how certain objects look in different lighting conditions (morning, evening, sunset, and dawn).
  • Opportunity to assess the growth and development prospects of the planned plantings. With the help of a rendering landscape project, you can get an idea of ​​​​what the garden will be like in a few years.
  • The possibility of using an extensive base of plants. If you are re-planning, it is not necessary to use only those trees and shrubs that are already on the site.
  • The ability to simulate plan options depending on the time of year and see how the site will look in winter or summer.
  • Render landscape allows you to anticipate and correct shortcomings and miscalculations in the selection of plants, the placement of individual landscape compositions, and small architectural forms. When designing a 3D site, an incorrectly located gazebo or an inconveniently placed artificial reservoir is immediately noticeable to the customer. This approach will help save money on reworking unsuccessful construction.
  • Landscape plan rendering makes it possible to overestimate the correctness and necessity of specific details of the project.

Among the important advantages of landscape 3D rendering is the ability to show the client not only the entire territory but also to detail the area of ​​interest. It can be displayed from one or more angles, in scale, or at a distance. It should also be understood that it is quite easy to make any changes to landscape architecture renderings that will reflect the real essence. 

In any case, with the help of landscape rendering techniques, the client has a direct opportunity to see his site in finished form even before the completion of its arrangement. There is an opportunity to “walk” in your garden and feel how it will be in reality.

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Differences between 2D and 3D landscape rendering

In addition to 3D rendering, two-dimensional visualization is actively used in landscape design. As a rule, this design method is justified on sites with existing buildings. The main advantages of 2D visualization are the high level of correspondence between the sketch and the final result of the improvement (due to the use of photographs of existing plants with their unique shapes and textures) and the ability to compare several options for the same site and choose the best one, which greatly speeds up the decision-making process. 2D visualization is usually cheaper and easier to implement technically.

3D landscape rendering of the site is distinguished by its volume and realism. In such modeling, we have the opportunity to evaluate the entire project as a whole and each element separately. Three-dimensional visualization provides opportunities for project evaluation not only in real-time. We can evaluate the impact of weather, time of day, and long periods of time on the entire project as a whole. You can connect the animation and walk along the paths of the future garden or take a walk around the house.

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How do you render a landscape plan?

Stage 1

Landscape modeling. Creation of a three-dimensional model of a virtual garden plot and objects on it (buildings, paths, plants, ponds, flower beds, etc.) using specialized programs. In addition, at this stage, the visual properties of the model are set (for example, the color of the walls, the transparency of water or glass, fog, clouds, etc.)

Stage 2

Texturing. Adjusting a texture onto the surface of a 3D object makes it more realistic. In this way, you can get a detailed view of the object, whether it is tree foliage or grass, earth or stone, brick or tile, etc.

Stage 3

Setting lighting of the landscape. This stage is to create and configure virtual light sources. The intensity of sunlight depends on the location of the plot, the time of day, the location of the cardinal points, the cloud cover, and the time of year. The site lighting setting takes into account the reflectivity of objects located on the site.

Stage 4 

Animation. One of the current trends in the field of landscape rendering is 3D animation. You can get a virtual walk through the future garden. This is achieved by placing cameras along the path of a virtual person in a garden plot.

Stage 5 

3D rendering. At the rendering stage, the 3D model is converted into a realistic flat image. Thus, you can see all kinds of angles of your future garden plot in the form of bitmap images, for example, in JPEG or PDF format.

Best landscape architecture render software

For high-quality landscaping rendering, it is necessary to use professional specialized programs. We have selected for you the 10 best rendering software for the architecture landscape. These programs can serve both to create landscape design presentations and for full-fledged development and visualize a  site design.

NamePriceLevelOSLast version
SketchUpFrom €109/year.
Free version
For professionals and amateurs Windows, macOS2021
PRO Landscape Design Software$1245For professionals, amateurs and beginnersWindows, macOS2022
EnscapeFrom $39.90/month. Free trialFor professionals and amateursWindows2021
Lumion 3D€1499/licenseFor professionalsWindows2021
VizTerra$97 per month.
Free trial
For professionals, amateurs, and beginnersWindows2021
CedreoFreeFor professionals and amateursWindows, macOS2022
Free trial
For professionalsWindows2022
Realtime Landscaping Architect$399.95.
Free trial 
For professionals and amateursWindows2020
SmartDrawFreeFor professionals and amateursWeb2020
Punch Home DesignFrom $99.99 For professionalsWindows2021

Best landscape rendering software in detail


interior design software sketch up pro logo

Price: From €109 per year, there are free versions for personal use and training

Level: For professionals, amateurs and beginners

OS: Windows, macOS

Although SketchUp was not created specifically for garden planning or landscaping rendering, you can use it for your backyard architecture design. Google SketchUp for landscape architecture allows you to import 3D models, 2D CAD files, or your own aerial photographs and scans to start your project planning. After loading the relief, you can easily modify it: turn contours into surfaces and overlay architectural forms on the relief. You can use SketchUp’s geolocation tool to add accurate terrain images to the program with just one click. You can also enhance your model with images, animations, and videos. If you need to add some environmental objects – the program offers a free download of ready-made models from SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse library. This landscape rendering software is very easy to use and suitable even for novice users. 

If you want to design and build, create interesting compositions of buildings and plants on your own site, and create a landscape of the territory with your own hands, Google SketchUp is a great solution for landscape design.

PRO Landscape Design Software

Landscaping rendering prolandscaping logo

Price: $1245

Level: For professionals, amateurs, and beginners

OS: Windows, macOS

PRO Landscape Design is a site plan and decoration software. This application was originally developed for professional landscape designers, but now it is available to everyone. PRO Landscape is suitable not only for designing but also for editing ready-made images of the site.

PRO Landscape allows you to create accurate scale drawings of your landscape plan in any size and scale. The catalog contains more than 18,000 landscape design objects: sculptures, plants for different climatic zones, garden buildings, and ponds. Projects are developed on the basis of a picture taken on a phone and tablet. Extra objects can be easily removed from the photo and replaced with those that you like in the catalog. Here you can even turn your daytime photos into the wonderful night or twilight images! There are free versions of PRO Landscape Companion for iPad and Android tablets available on the App Store and Google Play. Definitely, one of the best landscape architecture rendering software.


Landscaping rendering Enscape logo

Price: From $39.90 per month, with a free 14-day trial

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows

Enscape is a powerful tool aimed at landscape and interior designers. Enscape connects directly to your simulation software, providing an integrated visualization and design workflow. With the help of this landscaping architect software, it is possible to visualize the project, add various effects to it, and form a natural realistic lighting scheme. The program offers real-time rendering, which means that it processes changes to the design model as they occur.

Enscape is universal software, which makes it easy to use in combination with many design applications. The program offers an ever-expanding library of over 2,400 objects. Enscape provides over 500 vegetation items, including a wide variety of trees, bushes, flowers, and rocks. Here you can also make ambiance settings such as time of day, cloud settings, or image effects such as a cinematic look. The tool instantly reacts to adjusting the settings, the result is visible immediately. The realism of the generated scenes meets the requirements and expectations of even professional designers.


Landscaping rendering lumion logo

Price: From €1499 per license

Level: For professionals

OS: Windows

The fourth solution in our list of top tools for landscape architects. Lumion offers to choose one of the proposed scenes and environments and independently create a landscape that accurately reflects the place where the object will be located. So, the user can change the terrain by building mountains or creating ravines, creating reservoirs, and adjusting weather conditions. This landscape rendering software has a very extensive object library, with different categories. You can furnish the scene with detailed flora and fauna, people, cars, garden furniture, and more from over 5600 objects in the Lumion Library.

Lumion is based on the principle of fast and intuitive rendering, making it the perfect software for any landscaping architect who needs fast results and doesn’t have time for specialized training. Lumion is compatible with all popular CAD and 3D modeling programs. Simply import your 3D model into the Lumion Project Editor and start creating your scene and adding effects to get a photorealistic or conceptual look. In addition, you can create real-time links between Lumion and several popular 3D modeling programs, including SketchUp, Revit, Rhino, and Vectorworks. With Lumion LiveSync, you can model and render at the same time. So, if you doubted is Lumion good for landscape design, here is the answer.


Landscaping rendering vizterra logo

Price: $97 per month, with a free trial

Level: For professionals, amateurs, and beginners

OS: Windows

VizTerra software was developed specifically for creating landscape design in 3D. A host of intuitive tools and a streamlined interface make it easy to draw in 2D, convert images to 3D, and even create fully interactive 3D presentations. An extensive 3D library is available – just drag and drop elements directly into your design.

The program for rendering landscapes allows saving your favorite furniture, accessories, plants, trees, materials, and more for quick access. You can choose the angle of view, view, any time of day or night and get pictures in resolution up to 8K and create realistic interactive presentations by adding realistic sounds of nature, changing day into night, and much more. Users can even calculate square feet, draw boundaries, and measure outdoor living space from anywhere.


Landscaping rendering cedero logo

Price: Free

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS

Created for home builders, contractors, remodelers, and designers, Cedreo is a cloud-based software that provides landscape rendering capabilities. Cedreo allows users to create accurate 2D layouts, define boundaries, and draw areas such as terraces, pools, and driveways. The program’s library consists of over 7,000 customizable 3D objects to choose from.

In Cedreo, you can view updated designs in real time by switching between 2D and 3D views. You can also choose from a variety of trees, shrubs, potted plants, and other outdoor elements and customize the lighting display. Start by creating a 2D or 3D site plan and move on to generating realistic renders. Both import and export files are available in various formats. Perhaps the main advantage of the program is the ability to draw and print to scale, as well as resize site plan layouts.

Cedreo is a truly professional landscape architecture rendering program that is very easy to use and offers many different features. You can always try the free version to get started.


Landscaping rendering revit logo

Price: $2,545 per year, with a free trial

Level: For professionals

OS: Windows

Revit is one of the most powerful programs for rendering landscapes. This is a BIM software focused on the development of architectural projects. In addition to building and design tools, Revit has some landscape features that can be useful. 

Revit helps to create a highly detailed 3D model for direct rendering and visualization. With the help of this landscape architecture design software, you can also create 2D designs and documentation, run visual reports, and estimate future costs. Revit is not one of those programs that are easy to learn, but for professional and advanced users, it can be very useful.

Realtime Landscaping Architect

Price: $399.95, with a free trial

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows

One of the few software products created not only for professional landscape designers but also for ordinary users with an intuitive interface. In the program, you can both create projects from scratch and work with photographs and drawings of ready-made sites. It can be used to design cozy patios, spacious courtyards, pools, and terraces.

In the Realtime Landscaping Architect, the user is provided with a huge selection of garden plants, and more than 1600 elements to include in the development plan of your landscape. The software library includes such common decor elements as outdoor furniture, gazebos, pool accessories, and lamps. The program even has a selection of kitchen items and other items used outdoors. You get 3D visualization of your site in excellent quality. That software for landscape rendering is paid, but you can download and install a trial version.


Landscaping rendering smartdraw logo

Price: Free 

Level: For professionals

OS: Web

Whether you’re new to landscaping planning or a seasoned landscaper, SmartDraw makes it easy for anyone to create their own backyard designs by adding whatever garden décor elements you want to your image. SmartDraw allows you to add barbecue or grill areas, paths, umbrellas, picnic tables, fountains, and lights to your visual building courtyard. The SmartDraw landscape design software functions both as an online application and can be downloaded to a computer. The user is provided with a 7-day trial period.

In addition to creating full-fledged images, SmartDraw allows users to animate graphics and create presentations. Thanks to some built-in functions, you can import images from digital cameras or smartphones, scale them, adjust brightness and color, and crop pictures. Unfortunately, the program only allows you to design in 2D. However, you can integrate this software with another platform that offers 3D rendering, virtual instruments, and so on. Therefore, if you are looking for open-source landscaping design software, try SmartDraw.

Punch Home Design

interior design software punch software home design logo

Price: From $99.99

Level: For professionals

OS: Windows

The last one in our top best rendering software for architecture landscape. Punch Home Design is an intuitive application and universal utility for working with landscapes, buildings, and premises with convenient graphical tools. Contains many modules, objects, and textures. You can edit them if necessary. 

Built-in renderers will make a three-dimensional model from drawings, photos, and graphics. You can easily make adjustments at any stage. Colors and light are also adjusted to view the drawing from all sides. A special module analyzes the aesthetic compatibility of materials and objects. The finished layout can be viewed under different lighting conditions.

There are many more landscape architecture tools on the market you can use. It is worth remembering 3ds Max, a powerful package for creating three-dimensional projects with detailed graphics of any type and complexity. Other programs such as Chief Architect and HGTV landscape design software might also be useful to you.


3D rendering is a necessary step in the landscape design process. Thanks to this approach, the client has a more accurate idea of ​​the final result of the work than when using simple sketches. As statistics show, the market size of the Landscape Design industry in the US has grown by 1.8% per year on average between 2017 and 2022.  Every year this service is gaining more and more popularity. And at the same time, high-quality 3D visualization and drawing up 2D site plans become an integral part of the entire process of developing or re-planning landscape design.

In this article, we figured out what landscaping rendering is, what are its main advantages and what is the best rendering software for architects.

Do not know what to start with? Order our 2D colorized site plans or 3D site and plot plans rendering and we will help you to make the first step toward your dream.

Ira maksymova author

Author of Applet 3D articles. In passion about art, so writing about design, architecture, the animation is a great chance to enjoy my work. Rule of life - set little goals but achieve big results.

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