Although you’re not going to be able to do a professional job of redesigning a home or yard with free software, we’ve taken a look at the best free landscape design tools for Windows & Mac users.
Free landscaping apps are only suitable if you just want to tinker with redesigning your garden, playing around with a yard design or just letting your mind wander.
We strongly recommend checking out our guide to the best landscape design software if you want to do a professional job.
Many of the post popular professional landscaping software with free versions like VizTerra, Lands Design and Realtime Landscaping Pro are Windows only.
However, here we’ve looked at the few available free landscaping and garden planning tools which can also be used on macOS.
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Here then are the best free landscape design software of 2023 in order of ranking.
Although Google doesn’t make landscaping software, there is SketchUp which used to be owned by Google but since 2012 has been owned by Trimble.
Sketchup is easily the most powerful free landscaping software and offers an impressive range of tools and features.
Sketchup has an extensive warehouse of images and particularly useful for landscape designers is the extensive library of native plants.
Sketchup is free for personal use although professional landscape designers must upgrade to the pro version for $299 per year if you’re designing for clients.
You can check out our full review of SketchUp for more.
- Free to use standard version
- Extensive library of plants
- Powerful landscaping tools
- Steep learning curve
- Expensive subscription for Pro version
- Doesn’t allow you to upload your own photos
DreamPlan Home Design software is both a home design and landscape design tool. Although you have to pay for the full version, it’s free for non commercial use on both Mac and Windows.
DreamPlan Home Design allows you to reshape the terrain of outdoor landscaping areas, visualize a new outdoor swimming pool design and download additional objects to decorate your outdoor living space.
You can import 3D models from other applications and there’s a Trace Mode to help you convert floor plans into 3D models.
Mac desktop app
2D and 3D designing
Import 3D models
Allows you to map terrains
Dated interface – hasn’t been updated for a long time
Can’t upload your own photos
Gardena Garden Planner is a free landscape design software with a surprisingly slick and well designed interface.
Gardena Garden Planner is designed for those that intend on buying Gardena products since you can only add objects from its catalog although anyone who signs up for a Gardena account can use it.
It looks good, it’s easy to use with lots of useful tips and there are some useful standard templates to get you up and running.
If you’re planning to add a sprinkler system to your garden, Gardena Garden Planner also has a useful specialized irrigation system layout planner.
Note that you can only save your plans if you create a Gardena account though.
- Free to use
- Specialized for irrigation layouts
- Very limited
- Designed mainly to sell Gardena products
- Can’t upload your own photos
The Better Homes & Garden website offers the free online Plan-a-Garden app which allows you to sketch out flowerbeds and landscape plans.
You can drag and drop hundreds of different plants, shrubs, gates, fences, fountains, fire pits and more. It even has garden gnomes, basketball hoops and swing sets.
Plan-a-Garden includes a library of trees, shrubs, and structures, and can be arranged on a computer screen, then saved for future reference or printed out.
It’s one of the more basic garden planning apps out there but is ideal for those that just want to experiment on simple designs.
- Free To Use
- Easy to use
- Lots of garden elements to choose from
- Very basic
- No way to export designs
Garden Visualizer is a Cloud based free landscape planner which allows you to create 3D designs. You can upload photos of your house or garden and add common elements like paving, block paving, walling, edging and plants.
You can also create your own bespoke step features, garden walls with pillars and garden paths.
Note that Garden Visualizer requires the Unity Plugin which is no longer being developed but you can still download the old version for Mac.
It also doesn’t work on mobile devices because of this so you can only use it on your desktop.
- Free To Use
- Upload your own photos
- Requires outdated Unity Plugin
- Doesn’t work on mobiles
We hope one of these free landscape design apps helps you get started with your landscaping dreams.
If none of them are what you’re looking for, remember that you can also try one of these Microsoft Paint alternatives and just sketch something out manually by hand.