Key Home Gardener
LandDesigner Multimedia for Gardeners
Key Home Gardener (Softkey) and LandDesigner Multimedia for Gardeners (Green Thumb Software, Inc.) are very similar programs – in fact, the engineering on the Softkey disc is by Green Thumb, so it’s no surprise. Both discs start with an empty screen which you can size to the dimensions of your property and site existing structures and features before you tackle the landscaping. The toolbars and main screens are in a standard Windows format, with icons representing different geometric shapes and drawing tools, and with menus offering a variety of pre-drawn shapes. Libraries allow you to choose trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, etc., which you click on and then drop onto your plan. Both programs offer extensive plant databases which can be searched by various criteria: soil conditions, zones, sun, color, height, and so on. You can also check on how everything will look over time by selecting the “Grow” feature. In addition, LandDesigner has the advantage of color photos of the plants as well as garden designs which can be used as templates. These features are courtesy of White Flower Farm, a nursery in Litchfield, CT. In fact, you can actually order plants directly from them by printing out an order form, complete with prices. Even if you choose to shop nearer home, this can serve as a handy reference sheet. The problem with LandDesigner is that the only view you get of your design is from above. Most of us don’t usually enjoy our gardens from the sky so, for a more effective view, you’ll need to repeat all your labors using 3D Landscape (Books That Work). This title includes most of the features of LandDesigner, but allows you to create 3D views. This seems like an absolute necessity. How will you know if you can still see your neighbor’s trailer when you’re out grilling your hot dog on your new bar-b-que? How does the trellis look against a brick wall or a picket fence? Being able to check the growth feature from different angles and elevations is invaluable. To get the most out of both these programs, spend some time with the manuals and then use their combined assets.
– May 1995