Landscape Rendering: Introduction and Best Software to Use

Landscape Rendering: Introduction and Best Software to Use

As we all know, landscaping rendering plays a significant role in architectural projects, achieving the visualization of concepts and designs from some complex landscape drawings. This is because landscaping is the vital part in architecture to improve human and environmental health. And it’s also the key to the consistency and harmony in a 3D render scene. Today, in this article, we will explain what landscape rendering is and recommend the best programs to use for it. Hope it helps both landscape designers and homeowners who are thinking about improve your garden.


What is Landscaping Rendering


To start with, landscaping rendering refers to creating photorealistic 3D images of views including buildings, plants, paths, swimming pools, fences, and other components. All of these can be displayed in a compelling and expressive way for perception. You can see the realistic future landscape in detail or have a tour of the whole, so any errors and shortcomings can be identified and amended in advance. Moreover, with the help of an animation, you can look at the view at different times of a day and angles, and even see the changes of plants. Thus, your clients are close to the project and are able to put forward some suggestions for improvement. From this vantage point, during the communication between clients and designers, it’s more likely to strike a balance between imagination and feasibility and then complete the project in a quite efficient manner.



2D vs. 3D Landscape Rendering


Landscaping designs also apply 2D visualization in addition to 3D rendering. Two-dimension visualization boasts a high level of correspondence between the sketch and the final result. It also features a low price fast speed and easy implementation. As for 3D landscape rendering, it’s distinguished by realism. The landscape design can be evaluated in detail or as a whole in real time. For sure, it requires more technology and great work.


How to Render a Landscape Plan


Here, we’ve listed the basic steps of landscape design rendering process:

#Step 1: Modeling. That is to create a model of the landscape, like a garden, and objects on it. It includes the architecture as well as plants, paths, mountains, seas, ponds, and many other possible objects.

#Step 2: Texturing. In this process, all textures and materials should be applied for the purpose of photo-realistic effect.

#Step 3: Lighting Setup. No matter it’s natural or artificial, 3D artists configure virtual lighting based on the scene. For example, the time of the day, the weather, and the season give different judgement of the setting lighting procedure.

#Step 4: Rendering. For both still images and animation, the landscape is converted into a realistic scene during this stage.



Best Landscape Architecture Rendering Software




Price: Free for personal use and educational training


OS: Windows, macOS


SketchUp has a wide range of applications in architecture, interior and industrial design, as well as landscaping for sure. As a hugely popular 3D software, it is compared to a pencil of electronic design because its main selling point is easy to use, and it is indeed. Thus, in addition to professionals, it’s also suitable for amateurs and beginners. By importing 3D models, 2D CAD files, and aerial photographs, you can start your architecture landscape rendering design. It comes with a component library of a large number of items like doors and plants, and a material library of building texture, with which you are able to customize your project. If you would like to get started with landscaping rendering, SketchUp is definitely a great choice.


PRO Landscape Design Software



Price: $1,245


OS: Windows, macOS


As its name implies, PRO Landscape Design Software is a site plan and decoration application tailored for landscaping. It’s easy to use but professional, so it’s suitable for both amateurs and professionals. The best landscape architecture rendering software includes photo imaging, CAD, 3D rendering, and lighting design. Moreover, it also boasts over 18,000 landscape design objects ranging from garden buildings to plants for various climatic zones. Another advantage is that it allows you to design on iPad or Android tablet and even to transfer designs back and forth between your tablet and computer with ease. It won’t disappoint you if you choose it for landscaping rendering.




landscaping-rendering-landscape-3d-render-services-software-architecturePrice: 14-day free trial, or from $39.90/month


OS: Windows


Serving as a powerful visualization plugin, Enscape can be 100% integrated into some excellent design tools, like SketchUp, Autodesk Revit, and Rhinoceros. With the help of this landscape rendering software, you are able to explore concepts in real time, evaluate ideas quickly and ideate beforehand. Meanwhile, this program offers a library of more than 2,400 objects in total, including over 500 kinds of vegetation items alone, which is conducive to the envisioning and design. Last but not least to mention that it speeds up ray-tracing calculations to create stunning lighting and reflection effects. Moreover, it expedites the rendering of more complex geometries and environments. After finishing rendering, you are free to share the visualization just with QR codes.




landscaping-rendering-landscape-3d-render-services-software-architecturePrice: From €1499 per license


OS: Windows 


Lumion is a real-time 3D visualization tool, involving landscapes, city planning, interiors, and so on. With so many various objects and items in the library, it empowers you to create your design without limitations. It works well in realizing the real-time observation of the scene effect, fast drawing speed, realistic water scenery, and lifelike trees. And the post effect is quite easy to make. All of these make the software a very good advantage in the rapid output of landscape and architectural animation. Thus, this landscaping architect software is one of the professionals’ favorites.




landscaping-rendering-landscape-3d-render-services-software-architecturePrice: Free trial, or $97/month


OS: Windows


VizTerra aims at creating 3D landscape designs. It features a streamlined interface, intuitive tools, and plentiful options. It enables users to draw in 2D and to see 2D become 3D in just one click. And then all of your ideas and designs will be displayed in a photo-realistic and vivid way. The best program for landscaping rendering has a free trial, so if you are interested in it, then go ahead and have a try.




landscaping-rendering-landscape-3d-render-services-software-architecturePrice: Free


OS: Windows, masOS


Many people who are familiar with landscaping rendering may know about this free software, Cedreo. In addition to other functions, it also offers outstanding landscape rendering capabilities. The platform is completely cloud-based, so it’s convenient for you to discuss with others and edit designs and proposals instantly. This professional landscape architecture program allows the creation of 2D drawings with an extensive library and transforms them into 3D views. Furthermore, you can view the works in real time by switching between these two models. So, this software is also a good choice.




landscaping-rendering-landscape-3d-render-services-software-architecture Price: Free trial, or $2,545/year


OS: Windows


Revit, a suite of software from Autodesk, is specifically built for Building Information Modeling (BIM). Although it’s mainly developed especially architectural projects, it also performs well in landscape design. Supported by powerful technology, it captures the photo-realistic state of the landscape. It is easy to use and to produces high-quality renderings in less time, providing you with superior design work. Professionals would love to use this software for landscape rendering.


Realtime Landscaping Architect


landscaping-rendering-landscape-3d-render-services-software-architecture Price: Free trial, or $399.95


OS: Windows


When you use Realtime Landscaping Architect to create your design, the 2D and 3D views are updated automatically, which is convenient to check your work. It has an extensive library of objects and decoration items, so you can add plants, fencing, swimming pools, spas, water features, and much more into your design with the help of this best rendering program for architecture landscape. Even you can design irrigation systems and use the plant growth tool to visualize what the landscape will look like in the future. There are other functions waiting for your exploration. You can get a trial and have a try.




landscaping-rendering-landscape-3d-render-services-software-architecturePrice: Free


OS: Web


SmartDraw is a free landscape design software for professionals. Thanks to quick-start templates, you can get start quickly with your design. It empowers you to seamlessly integrate with the tools you already use, like Microsoft Office, and share files. During the design, many decoration items are available, such as grill areas, paths, picnic tables and fountains. Also, the lighting is adjustable for checking. If you are intrigued, give it a try.


Punch Home Design


landscaping-rendering-landscape-3d-render-services-software-architecture Price: From $99.99


OS: Windows


The last one in the recommended list is Punch Home Design, which is suitable for professionals. You are free to make amazing landscaping and outdoor living plans by using any modules, textures and objects. This landscape architecture tool is easy to check the view and then adjust lighting and any other elements, which is conducive to the refinement of the whole project. Just uses your imagination and start creation.




With the help of professional landscape architecture rendering software, now the clients are able to have a holistic and accurate view of the design. As an integral part of landscaping design development process, 3D visualization and site plans are perfect tools to convey and present ideas and visions. We hope this article has provided explicit explanation of architecture landscape rendering, and the best free software and platforms.

Have no idea how to start with landscape rendering? Talk to our professional 3D architectural rendering studio now! We will help you with your landscape rendering project.

International Architecture Competition for Xinxiu Area Urban Design

International Architecture Competition for Xinxiu Area Urban Design

At the southeast corner of Luohu District, Xinxiu adjoins the Wenjindu Port and acts as a portal for exchange between Shenzhen and Hong Kong and pivot of the port economic zone. The new situation poses problems such as regional functional incompatibility to the vicinity, resource-constrained internal space, and old and obsolete environmental facilities as a whole. To address the preceding problems, review and integration of existing quality resources is needed to get rid of the predicament; appreciation is based on a feasible mindset for transformation and approach for implementation.

In March 2020, the People’s Government of Luohu District entered into an agreement on strategic cooperation framework for planning and building Xinxiu with REC Real Estate Group, agreeing that REC Real Estate Group and U.S. Rockefeller Group settle the Rockefeller Asia-Pacific Headquarters in Xinxiu for building the “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Rockefeller Center” based on their own advantages. REC Real Estate Group and U.S. Rockefeller Group founded the Rockefeller-REC Real Estate (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. thereafter. In July 2020, the People’s Government of Luohu District set up the Luohu Port Economic Zone Building Xinxiu Headquarters and instructed the City Renewal and Land Development Bureau of Luohu District, Shenzhen and Rockefeller-REC Real Estate (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. to co-organize the open call, with the purpose of laying a foundation for importing industries and vitalizing the city in the future through the brainstorming open call for creative and practicable urban design proposals. With global vision and in line with international standards, this open call is aimed at well planning and designing Xinxiu from the very start and setting a pilot landmark building–Rockefeller Center; further, the urban design will drive building a high quality city. Ultimately Luohu will be vitalized and built into an environment-friendly, open-minded, diversified and attractive humanized urban pilot zone with its own characteristics.

Work Content

The scope in this open call falls into 2 levels: study scope and design scope.

Covering an area of about 571 ha, the study scope reaches Pengxing Road, Yanfang Road, and Liantang Port in the east, North Yanhe Road, South Wenjin Road and Wenjindu Port in the west, Shenzhen River in the south and Donghu Park in the north.

The study scope is concerned with connection and organization of transport facilities in the region, functional coordination with ports and surrounding areas, organization and optimization of the public spatial system, overall landscaping, etc.

Covering an area of about 121 ha, the design scope reaches Maowo Hill in the east, Yanhe Road and Beidou Road in the west, Shenzhen River in the south and Luosha Road in the north.

The design scope is concerned with strategic position & project plotting, functional structure & land planning, spatial morphology & urban quality, research on vital nodes and supporting systems, etc.

Registration Requirements

(1)This Competition will be held by invitation. The list of the invited design firms is as follows (in alphabetical order):

【Consortium】ARUP INTERNATIONAL CONSULTANTS(SHANGHAI) CO,LTD. + China Overseas HuaYi Urban Planning&Design Co.,Ltd.(Beijing)

【Consortium】ISA-Internationales Stadtbauatelier + Guangdong Urban & Rural Planning and Design Institute

【Consortium】MLA+ B.V. + LAY-OUT Planning Consultants Co. Ltd + fabersociety

【Consortium】Shenzhen Aube Engineering Design Consultant Co., Ltd. + Urban Planning & Design Institute of Shenzhen

【Consortium】Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research Co.,Ltd. + XO Projects Pty Ltd



Note: The above timetable adopts Beijing Time and the actual arrangement is subject to adjustment in view of the COVID-19 situation.


The Evaluation Committee shall evaluate the design submissions of the 5 design firms according to the procedures. These firms shall be rewarded as follows according to their evaluation results:

Winner: Being rewarded with RMB 4 million; it shall partner with Technical Support to complete the follow-up integration work;

Second place: Being rewarded with RMB 2 million;

Third/Fourth/Five place: Being rewarded with RMB 1 million respectively.

The winner shall be responsible for the integration of the following competition results and cooperate with the Technical Support to form practical design submissions. The final designs shall meet the requirements of the Host and the Organizer.

The announcement of the international competition (tender) is released. Local and international design teams are welcome to make a pre-registration with us. If you want to know more about this pre-registration information, please feel free to contact AIMIR.

What’s more, you’re more than welcome to touch base with us if you need architectural visualization. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Architectural Failures — Even Masters Don’t Always Get It Right

Architectural Failures — Even Masters Don’t Always Get It Right

Masters of architecture have influenced countless students that taps into the field. However, even masters can, sometimes, fail as well.

Maters like Right, Cobb, and Herzog all have stumbled over the four hard nuts:


To brief you the ideas

Whenever it rains, they drip; whenever it floods, they drown.

Farnsworth Residence/ The Villa Savoye/ Falling Water

They were like giant concave mirrors, with blazing sunlight, eggs can be boiled, plastics be ignited, and automobiles melt easily under its reflection.

Walt Disney Concert Hall/ Vdara Hotel and Spa/ Walkie Talkie

These two buildings fell short of expectation for inferior construction. Later, they got diagnosed with building dermatitis.

Guangzhou Opera House/ Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall

But what happens when master architects fail?

Mother: My house is leaking.

Cobb: If you do care about the world around you, you will know that I‘ve become one of the most famous architects in the world. My clients are everywhere.

Mother: Good, but my house is still leaking.

I. Leaking

Farnsworth Residence

by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe

The owner of this house is a single female doctor in Illinois named Farnsworth. She met Van der Rohe at a dinner party and the two clicked at the moment. Ms. Farnsworth described their rendezvous as:”the effect was tremendous, like a storm, a flood, or other act of God.”

Later, Farnsworth entrusted her house to Mies, who took the idea “less is more” to its extreme. The house has no brick wall but French windows all around. Other than the washing rooms, every corner of the house is exposed to the outside world. The owner can appreciate the natural beauty from within, seemingly a scene where men and nature become one.

However, from Farnsworth’s perspective, this minimalist glasshouse meant only no privacy, plus problems like the room temperature changing with seasons, lights attracting insects at night, visitors wandering around at day time had all make it intolerable. She once conveyed her experience as “I feel like a prowling animal, always on the alert. I am always restless. Even in the evening. I feel like a sentinel on guard day and night. I can rarely stretch out and relax.”

She once tried to stop Mies from proceeding. After the completion of the house, Farnsworth, facing extravagant construction cost and other nuisances, ended up in courtroom against Mies, suing him of fraud and demanded return of all the expenses.

Due to the low base of this building, it was flooded whenever rainstorm arrived. Successor Palumbo spent seven times the original construction price to fix it. Unfortunately, Farnsworth Residence was once again flooded this May.

From this picture it doesn’t look half as bad, does it?

Now let’s take out the filter and see what Farnsworth once felt: “It felt like a storm, a flood.”

Mother’s House

by Le Corbusier

Sitting on the shore of Lake Geneva, or Mother’s House, was built by Cobb for his beloved mother. It is a perfect living machine with reasonable functions, moderate size, and the long-stretched windows enlarge the lake view.

It is also in this house that Cobb’s parents and brother passed away. And they had rendered the lake house with a somewhat unique sense.

However, the house kept leaking, even after Cobb personally mapped out repair plans for the engineers.

In the documentary Behind the Artist, there’s a line that goes:

Mother: My house is leaking.

Cobb: If you care about the world around you, you will know that I have become one of the most famous architects in the world. My clients are everywhere.

Mother: Good, but my house is still leaking.

II. Played-Out Buildings Due To Inferior Construction

Vision VS. Reality

Guangzhou Opera House

by Zaha Hadid

Located in the Guangzhou CBD, the Guangzhou Opera House presents a unique shape assembling two divined stones nursed by the Pearl River, a design by the late British designer Zaha Hadid, the first female Pritzker Architecture Award winner.

It seems, not bad at night?

Let’s just take a look at the following two photos from the same angle but at different times of the day. The building in daylight is like “disillusionment”, and we can see the rough exterior clearly.

The facade of the building is a three-way oblique folded-plate shell, which is composed of more than 5000 pieces of glass and 75000 stones, all with the same size but different shapes. When it was being built in 2006, construction in China was still unable to fulfill the authentic effect of this kinds of bizarrely-shaped buildings.

As a result, the surface of the building has various-width gaps, out-of-tune textures, and even patches!

Besides, its poor post-maintenance has made things worse.

The two “divined stones” now turns into an out-of-repair-for-years Youth Palace in some fourth or fifth-tier cities. The once beautiful lines sketched in the renderings fails to become reality. Quite an embarrassing scene to sit on the central axis of Guangzhou.

But the interior is much better. The choice of interior materials is relatively easier for the treatment of irregular surfaces. Away from natural erosion, the interior looks fantastic overall with professional lighting layout.

Elbphilharmonie concert hall

by Herzog & de Meuro

Located at Warehouse A in Hamburg, Germany, The Elbphilharmonie concert hall is designed by Herzog & De Meuron. It was originally a warehouse built and put into use between 1963 and 1966. The new structure is placed over the old building like a crystal crown.

It also has a gigantic gem effect, upon which the water, the sky, and the city of Hamburg are reflected, rendering it with fluid visual effects

This dreamlike rendering filled everyone with excitement to witness the day of its completion. But in reality, the “demo” looked like this:

Netizens joked about this building as: “This is not the exterior a building should have, this is dermatitis!”

But once completed, for a certain period of time, the sky, the water and scenes were captured by the glass façades, which is not as uncomfortable as it was in the middle of the construction.

A ‘D’ it is, a bit astray from the rendering though.

The interior looks nice as well, with an exquisite touch.

III. It’s Just Not Working

The inevitable demolition

Nakagin Capsule Tower

by Kisho Kurokawa

The Nakagin Capsule Tower is located in Ginza, Tokyo. It was designed by the famous Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. At the first glance, it feels like an ugly honeycomb. In fact, the building has also caused controversy from all parties, but this does not affect its importance in architecture.

The fixed foundation structure of this building ensures the stability and balance of the tower, and the cabin is inserted into it like Lego blocks, which can be replaced freely as needed.

The cabin design took inspiration from the spaceship. The whole building is like a huge space station within which over 140 cabins can be docked freely.

However, this high-end residence is almost deserted today, the utopian future living originally envisaged by Kisho has failed to become a reality.

The planned renewal every 25 to 30 years was shelved due to cost issues. The internal facilities were seriously aging while water leakage became a routine. The building even faced demolition several times as it was thought to be a waste within the prosperous area.

However, the novelty of its design has attracted numerous tourists, so the demolition was put off for more than ten years when it was left unintended and became obsolete.

Although these buildings have some practical problems, they are undoubtedly pioneering works. Compared with the functional “failure”, the value they brought to the development of our time is still worth our acknowledgment and learning!

Epoch-making design do strike us between the eyes. But is that all about the masters’ works?

Actually, their errors may turn out to be a valuable case study for us. After all, the coexistence of positive demonstration and lessons complete the meaning and mission of their works.

Whatever architects have failed to realize, architectural visualization will always be on the reight track unless there’s a misunderstanding between clients and the technical team. Moreover, it can prevent also prevent such problems as listed above by a great extent. For 3D rendering services, let AIMIR help you to air your ideas. We’re always available for any information, meet us!

International Competition for Architectural and Landscape Design of Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum

International Competition for Architectural and Landscape Design of Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum

Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum (China Mangrove Museum) is a large-scale thematic natural museum, a first-class national museum jointly built by National Forestry and Grassland Administration and Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government. It is established by Guangdong Neilingding Futian National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau.  

“Mangrove”, regarded as the city tree of Shenzhen, is the cultural symbol of Shenzhen spirit. Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum is a combination of mangrove ecological protection, exhibitions, collection and preservation,  education popularization, scientific research, and entertainment. It will become an important part of Shenzhen’s cultural and public service infrastructures and will serve as a city cultural ID of unique significance.

This project is located at the junction of Futian District and Nanshan District, and the intersection of Mangrove Forest Mountain to Sea Corridor (Tanglang Mountains – Antuo Mountains– Zhuzilin – Shenzhen Bay) and Shenzhen Bay Coastal Leisure Belt. It is close to important urban facilities and characteristic areas such as Mangrove National Nature Reserve, Shenzhen Bay Park, Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park, OCT, and Futian transportation hub. 

Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum enjoys prominent geographical advantages in terms of spatial pattern, regional transportation, ecological environment, etc.. It brings profound strategic value to the strengthening of Shenzhen’s urban public cultural construction, ecological civilization construction, infrastructure restoration, and reuse, as well as the creation of urban public space. 

In order to incorporate international vision, forward-thinking and innovative design into the high-level planning and high-standard construction of the project, International Competition (Tender) for Architectural and Landscape Design of Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum (China Mangrove Museum)  will be carried out soon.

Work Content

The site area of Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum is about 130,000 square meters, with a total construction area of about 39,500 square meters (including 30,000 square meters for the main building of the museum, 9,500 square meters for the auxiliary parking lots, gardens and small commercial buildings), and approximately 92,000 square meters for the supporting landscape area. The construction site of the museum’s main building is located on the upper cover of Subway line 11 platform (including undeveloped land in the southeast corner). The property below the upper cover has been completed. The design scope of the main building of the museum does not involve the space below the upper cover. 

As the start-up project for the construction of Mangrove Forest Mountain to Sea Corridor, Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum requires a comprehensive design from multiple dimensions. The competition (tender) is divided into three design and research scopes, namely: core design scope, conceptual design scope, and urban research scope.

1)  Core Design Scope

The core design scope consists of 4 parts (see the picture below for details). Design content includes: the main building of the museum and the supporting landscape (including parking lots, gardens and small commercial buildings), landscape corridors, road entrances and passages, facade reconstruction of the depot structure of along the main road, covering a total area of about 130,000 square meters.

The core design scope requires detailed architectural and landscape design.

2)  Scope of Conceptual Design

As an important part of the Mangrove Forest Mountain to Sea Corridor and the Shenzhen Bay Coastal Leisure Belt, the construction of Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum needs thorough consideration of the relationship with the adjacent public projects.

Proposals for Conceptual Design need to be coordinated in terms of project positioning, public space, building volume, traffic flow lines, and functional combinations, etc. and put forward corresponding strategies.

3) Scope of Urban Research

As the regional scope of International Competition (Tender) for Architectural and Landscape Design of Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Museum, the scope of urban research aims to conduct research from the perspective of the city. The total area is about 833,000 square meters. 

The competition (bidding) does not require a complete urban design concept for the urban research scope. Participants can voluntarily and freely submit design proposals that support the core area concept within this scope, thereby further strengthening the coordination and mutual benefits of the connection between the core area and surrounding cities.

Registration Requirements

The competition (tender) will be carried out soon to solicit excellent bids from across the world. The detailed tendering procedures shall be subject to the official announcement.

Application Requirements

The open application is intended with no threshold in terms of qualification certificate. All local and international design teams (independent legal entities or other organizations that can independently bear civil liability) with relevant design experience are eligible for the registration. 

Requirements on joint group: Application as a joint group is allowed in this competition (tender). And in principle, the number of members in a joint group should be no more than 2. A Joint Group Agreement is required to clarify the leading member and respective responsibilities. None of the members of a joint group is allowed to sign up again in its own name or in the form of another joint group.

If the awarded bidder does not have the Class A qualification in the design and construction industry (construction engineering) and the Class A or above qualifications for the special design of landscape engineering, the awarded bidder shall entrust the domestic design unit with the two corresponding qualifications after winning the bid. After obtaining the bidder’s approval of the design unit with corresponding qualifications, an entrustment agreement is needed to ensure that the scheme and preliminary design are in compliance with relevant national and municipal standards, as well as regulations and requirements set by the administrative department. 

Different design teams under the same legal representative or direct holding relationship are not allowed to register for the competition simultaneously. 

Registration by individuals or teams of individuals will not be accepted.

The announcement of the international competition (tender) will be released soon. Local and international design teams are welcome to make a pre-registration with us. If you want to know more about this pre-registration information, please feel free to contact AIMIR.

What’s more, you’re more than welcome to touch base with us if you need architectural visualization. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

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