Using 3D Models in Garden Design

From Paper to Computer – a Revolution in Design

Up to the beginning of the 20th century, architecture was a tedious industry requiring a great deal of precision, expertise in many subjects and the ability to think spatially. One architect might have worked for many months on a single project. In spite of this, the buildings that were raised by the hands of the true masters of craftsmanship still delight to this day. Nearly all the most beautiful gardens were created (both by architects and gardeners) long before the first personal computer was invented.

However, with the onset of the next technological revolution not only were new professions such as programmer and graphic designer created; architects who had been accustomed to working for hours at their desk on technical paper have gained time and have eliminated one of the most common reasons for design failure – human error.

Today, computers help the entire design team in creating 3D models that dominate in the engineering, building and landscape gardening sectors. Computer graphics presented to the client, represent the pinnacle of the architect’s thoughts and their work with the appropriate computer programme.

The revolution in the design process, the change from technical paper to the 3D model, has its advantages and disadvantages.

3d models tree

Advantages of Designing with 3D Models

  • Not limitation to a single perspective – the 3D model can be viewed properly from all sides, so any details or irregularities are not missed.
  • Unlimited creativity – an experienced and well-educated developer can, in consultation with a client or architect (depending on the industry) create a model of literally anything. In the case of graphic design there are no limits to what can be done. It is worth pointing out that the IT industry is one of the most popular fields of employment among young people, which translates into more specialists in the field.
  • Safeguards – 3D models allow you to eliminate any mistakes or shortcomings, thus avoiding unnecessary financial losses or delays.

Disadvantages of Designing with 3D Models

  • Large file size – files containing 3D graphics (such as .max .skp or .obj) are usually very large, taking up more disk space and having longer upload, copy, and save times.
  • Rendering – processing data (such as sound, video and on-screen graphics) so that it is presented in an appropriate and understandable manner means the rendering process of elaborate 3D models with a lot of detail is time consuming.
tree 3d models

A Single-family House – a Huge Investment

An apartment in a block has its advantages – central heating, proximity to shops and amenities, cheaper maintenance and sewerage costs. But who does not dream of having a house, maybe small, but their own? The real estate market is rich in plots with access roads and connected to utilities such as water and electricity, ready for the construction of four walls. It is worth remembering that starting such a venture involves a lot of financial expense, and a great deal of time must be devoted to designing and supervising the progress of the work. Despite this, technological advances mean that the price of construction materials and the subsequent maintenance of the building (costs related especially to the heating season) are becoming cheaper.

From the initial design of the house, visualised using 3D models, a very long road awaits. It is worth asking yourself some basic questions at the planning stage:

  • Will there be extra fees for planning permission?
  • How much will designing the house cost?
  • How much will the legal formalities cost?
  • Is the house design suitable for my needs and my wallet?
  • Have all the formalities relating to the plot of land and its borders been completed?
  • How can the land around the house be developed?
  • Will I have a garden around the plot?
  • When planning the layout of the house, should I also plan the garden?
  • Should I use 3D models to plan the house and garden design?

These questions should be answered in the first stages of planning the construction. The specialist who will take care of designing the house will then have a lot of information about our expectations. It is worth remembering that many alterations may involve additional costs. Here are selected guide prices for the completed house design:

  • Single-family houses, small houses – from 1 000 to 3 000 zloty
  • Large houses, villas, residences – from 2 000 to 6 000 zloty
  • Multi-family houses, guest houses, hotels – from 5 000 to 15 000 zloty

When Designing a House, Don’t Forget About the Garden – 3D Models

Many people say that the heart of every home is the kitchen. In the summer, it can easily become the garden, which is ideal for both cooking and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, or having a barbecue with family and friends. Therefore, when designing your house special attention should be paid to the layout of the garden. Some overlook this element of spatial planning because of insufficient financial resources or the desire to make savings. A beautiful area around the house does not always have to consist of the most expensive plants. It is enough for it to be designed cleverly and logically, in harmony with the environment. In that way, we will avoid criticism from visitors and gain satisfaction from looking out of the window on a summer days. In addition, when designing a garden keep in mind:

Plants – even the smallest plant, properly displayed, will beautify our garden, and composition can be approached with an eye to both colour uniformity and contrast. It is also worth choosing plants with paving, fencing and garden furniture in mind, etc.

A Place for Leisure – the garden can be superbly adorned with comfortable recliners, chairs or sun loungers. Above all, you should choose furniture that is resistant to rain, wind and strong sunlight.

Paths – functionality should be their basic feature, but it is worth including winding and finessed layouts. They can be constructed of blocks, stone, wood, or a combination of various materials.

Functionality – the area around our home should delight, but above all be useful as a source of vegetables from a small garden visible from the kitchen window; these will taste particularly good…

In Character with the Environment – a house in Zakopane style will not necessarily be in harmony with a Japanese garden (though this is not always the case considering ingenious implementation), so it’s first worth thinking over your design carefully, and considering a garden that is less expensive but more suited to the character of the house.

Visualisation – In planning a garden, 3D model architecture will allow us to spot minor shortcomings that were not noticed in an earlier design.

The Art of Design: Gardens

Design begins with an idea. Good design leads to a final result (for example, a garden) that meets all expectations. The most important aspect of design is the creative process itself, which gives rise to creation inconsistent with the existing scheme of the original goods, things, buildings or activities. According to the American Alex F. Osborne, this “brainstorming” is of the utmost importance. It is a technique that was already known in 16th-century India, and depends on a group approach to a problem. At the meeting, there are usually several people with different abilities and education, and of different professions, sex and age. This allows for a critical outlook and different points of view.

Here are example stages of the creation and implementation of a garden design for a plot of land adjacent to a medium-sized single-family house:


The designer visits the site where the project is to be implemented. They survey it accurately, document it with photographs, take initial measurements, acquire geodetic and other maps, and analyse the functionality, location, composition, character, environment, and social history of the place.


The designer consults the client about the survey, and takes information on the project, requirements and preferences. The initial design is outlined.


Based on all the information received, the designer creates the initial documentation and selects what is most necessary and inspirational. The first design is carried out (there may, at the client’s request, be several versions). Basic information about the layout of plants or other elements of the garden is included. The designer also creates a 3D model architecture visualisation of the design on the site.

After a further meeting with the client, any changes to the design are agreed.


During this stage, potential issues are investigated, garden landscaping simulations are carried out, and client suggestions for amendments are considered.


The whole design is now almost complete. Typically, a detailed design includes 3D models and a flat plan view to a scale of 1:100 or 1:250. The detailed design contains full information about the garden, including functionality, management, irrigation, furniture, small architecture, and plants.


The client finally accepts the design.

STAGE 7 – IMPLEMENTATION (including amendments, if any)

3D Model Architecture – Popular Visualisations

3D models and their use in presenting a design offer are becoming more and more popular. Everyone has probably seen 3D models of bathrooms, homes, shopping centres, streets, and gardens. The use of 3D models in the latter is currently gaining favour among designers and architects, as gardens are a constant element of home and spatial design. There are a lot of 3D modelling tutorials on the Internet, and these offer step by step explanations of how to try this kind of computer graphic design yourself. In itself, 3D modelling simple means creating three-dimensional objects using a computer programme. When constructing such objects, basic geometric figures such as cubes and spheres are used. There are several techniques for modelling:

  • Complex Modelling – mainly involves two-dimensional depth crossings. There are many other variations of this technique
  • Contour Maps – the height of each point is related to the depth and shade of its colouring
  • Area Maps – a technique anologous to contour mapping
  • Flora – a technique used to create 3D models of trees and shrubs (popular in 3D model architecture), which is often based on the use of programmes that simulate plant life cycles.

Nowadays, 3D models are entering a new phase. They are beginning to be used not only for initial design, but also for subsequent processes such as gardening, promotion (by, for example, garden management companies), analysis, custom-made furniture, and the precise design of plant layout. Such 3D models no longer offer mere guidance, thanks to which they can help in the creation of the exact design that fulfils expectations. Techniques also involve the use of new technologies including, among other things, virtual reality. Modelling more effectively communicates information to potential clients, which translates directly into a company’s positive reputation – and more orders.

The pros of using 3D models in the building and landscape gardening industries (which are closely related) can be divided into the following two groups:

Advantages of Using 3D Design – Architects

  • Precision – the computer is never wrong, as opposed to a human who may overlook some issues. Many designs have been poorly realised because of human error, but 3D models are created precisely each time, down to the smallest units.
  • Ease of work – the environment of the 3D modelling programme is more user-friendly for graphic designers and architects, with each feature described in detail so technology does not cause the employee to waste time.
  • Faster work – because the basic activities of the designer are automated, by implementing 3D models in the development of garden designs the employee is able to perform up to four times more work, which translates into swifter progress in the project.
  • Inspiration – programmes used for creating 3D models are rich in innovative solutions and examples of interesting garden management, which broadens the knowledge of the employee.
  • Communication – whole teams of experts handling data do not have to exchange a large number of paper plans constantly, as progress can be tracked remotely and regularly, and comments or corrections can be exchanged.
  • Better presentation of the customer’s ideas – the customer does not have to be a design specialist and interpret a paper design spatially, as 3D models help to express the contractor’s thoughts more clearly, upon which the customer may then comment.
  • Savings – on paper and other materials needed to create a design.

Advantages of Using 3D Programmes – Clients

  • Transparency – no more incomprehensible plans and dissatisfaction with the final result, as 3D models will present the customer with the finest details.
  • Legibility – the best possible design will allow the client to better understand the contractor’s thinking, and compare it with their own vision for their future garden.
  • Multi-lateral model views – allow the customer to become acquainted with the design, not only through a top elevation at a fixed scale.
  • Realism – the customer can have a 3D model connected with their visualization of their future (or current) home, with appropriate backgrounds (such as buildings against the skyline) and natural colour selection (the most popular 3D models are in colour, not in black and white as most paper designs are). Because of this, the future garden looks realistic.
  • Matching the surroundings – as in the previous point, 3D models are more efficient than paper projects in presenting how the future garden will fit into its surroundings and whether it will meet the needs of the customer.

3D Models - Evermotion

Popular 3D Graphic Design Programmes

The most commonly used software includes:

  • 3D MAX – a regularly updated, extensible 3D and animation programme created by Autodesk, often used for graphics for computer games and movies (including “The Lord of the Rings”), but also works well for building functional 3D models.
  • V RAY – this rendering engine used to create computer graphics was developed in 1997, and is best suited for film, realistic architectural elements and landscapes.
  • AUTOCAD – Autodesk’s next offer on the market, this works for both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) graphics. It is often used in technical, engineering and architectural fields in many industries (Mechanical Desktop, Architectural Desktop, Civil Design).