Outdoor decking is a very popular home addition around the country. A great looking deck will not only add value to a home, but it will also add functionality and a space where social gatherings can easily be held.
If you’re struggling to visualize exactly the kind of deck you want for your home, here are the 15 best pieces of deck design software available today:
1) Azek Deck Designer
If you’re really having trouble getting started with your deck design idea, Aztek Deck Designer has you covered.
It features an exploration option where you can easily and quickly look through included deck plan templates to find the one that most inspires you. Once you have chosen the one that you like, you can always work on it and customize it to your needs.
You can work on your deck design in three dimensions and when you’re all done you can even generate a list of all of the materials used so that you can give it to a decking contractor or builder you’ve chosen.
This makes it a very easy process to design the deck you want and then hand over the materials and plans to a contractor.
Trex is a great piece of software that works on mobile devices and desktop computers. This makes it very easy to begin working on your deck idea on a mobile device and then email yourself a materials list so that you can provide it to a contractor.
It is this ease of use and capacity to work entirely on a mobile device that places this tool above many of the free ones.
The software gives you exactly the kind of assistance you need and even guides you through the making of a deck design, explaining what each part is. You can easily and quickly customize railings, materials, and colors.
The great thing about this application is that you don’t even need to download it. It’s a completely free online-based application that allows you to design your perfect deck via drag and drop. This means that you can easily access and use it from wherever you have an internet connection.
The online interface is beginner friendly and it’s easy enough to drag and drop octagons, and other decking shapes and resize them with the movement of a mouse. Like many deck design applications, you can even generate a materials list and even get a plan so that you can submit it easily to local council for building permission.
CAD has been the leading design philosophy for many years and now it’s possible to use free software to design your deck. If you want to do more than just design a deck, CADPRO goes over and above.
Unlike other deck design applications, CADPRO will even allow you to design your entire garden around the deck, pool area, and more. With millions of users worldwide, CADPRO is the one piece of software to get if you have some design experience and really want something truly comprehensive.
5) Big Hammer Deck Designer
Big Hammer Deck designer is a free piece of software that allows anyone, even beginners, to design their perfect deck in three dimensions.
It’s possible to view your 3D design from all angles and spin it around. You can even add foliage so that you have a complete three-dimensional view of what your ideal deck and entertainment design looks like.
If you’re stuck for ideas, you can delve into the 70 included templates (sample decks) so that you have a starting place and can build on it. Digging into templates like this is great because it will give you a good starting place and you can easily and quickly customize and build from that foundation.
6) VizTerra by Structure Studios
Some design software makes it hard to get all of the measurements you need, but VizTerra has ensured that anyone can generate detailed and millimeter-accurate plans of their deck design. Having exact measurements is crucial when you’re having materials cut and prepared.
VizTerra features both 2D and 3D views so that you can see your deck design from all angles quickly and easily. It’s aimed at professionals, but can still be used by beginners. It also means that if you’re a professional contractor, you can design a deck for your clients and have it all measured up so that you know exactly how it will fit.
Not all free software is going to be suitable for designing a deck. Sometimes, you just have to shell out the money and pay for something that works well.
Decksgo outlines some free software that they suggest is excellent to use if you’re a beginner and you need some inspiration, but they suggest a tool, such as Punch Landscape Deck and Patio, is going to fulfil more advanced needs.
Where other software might be hard to use or not intuitive, Smartdraw prioritizes ease of use, but it is still a powerful application which can be used for other home designs as well. Available for both desktop and tablets, Smartdraw understands that beginners to deck design don’t always understand what they’re doing and need some help.
Smartdraw begins the design process with a template and then allows users to simply drag and drop other things into place easily, such as plants, railings, and furniture.
9) Lowes Deck Designer
Lowes provides a really attractive looking deck design application that’s available online. The only drawback is that you need to be using a WebGL enabled browser to access it, though that won’t be hard these days.
Like other applications, it will automatically generate a materials list and will even generate professional building plans.
Sketchup is a beautiful website and offers a gorgeous piece of design software. It is aimed at professionals and contractors who need a great tool to help them with their work. There is a free trial for 30 days, but there are different tiers of payment plans to suit different budgets.
What you get for your money is top of the line design software that isn’t just about decking. It will also help you design buildings in their entirety in both two- and three-dimensional, or even kitchen cabinets.
It will even calculate costs and generate materials lists. This is a professional level tool aimed at architects, designers, design teams, and professionals who want to make a difference in the world through design.
11) Idea Spectrum
Whether you’re a professional designer, architect, or an enthusiastic homeowner, Idea Spectrum has a plan that’s right for you.
There’s a free trial, of course, but if you decide to purchase it, it’s not a monthly or even a yearly subscription. You’ll own the license and get discounts on future upgrades. This is an excellent looking design software that can do so much more than deck design.
12) Moisture Shield
Moisture Shield provides their own deck design software that can be freely accessed and used through a web browser. The only downside is that it requires a Java installation to run.
If you just need an easy tool for designing a deck for your home, this might just be the application for you. It can also generate a materials list so that you can take it directly to your contractor.
This is a deck design tool that prioritizes simplicity and ease of use. The interface is very simple and all options are available with the click of a mouse. You can add decks, change their shape, add walls, and even customize stain colors and materials.
A simple drag and drop interface makes this a simple, but very familiar tool for all deck design beginners and contractors who just need an easy and convenient online tool.
14) Chief Architect
Chief Architect is a professional level tool that can be bought outright or used on a software rental plan. This is squarely aimed at architects and other CAD design professionals who need a reliable and good looking tool that offers them plenty of design power.
Unlike less expensive and free software, it offers 360-degree graphical renderings of any design, whether it’s a deck or a whole building.
There are also three-dimensional views that allow a viewer to take a virtual tour. This is a tool that is for professionals who need a design tool to help them communicate with their clients effectively.
15) Punch! Landscape, Deck & Patio
If the free tools are not allowing you to do what you want in terms of design, it might be time to step up to a commercial tool.
Punch offer this piece of design software for a relatively low price, but for that you get access to plenty of design templates to get you started.
You can even go beyond designing a deck, and add a kitchen, landscaping, and so on. The software is even smart enough to offer you plants that are native to your location.
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