Whether you are you are using AutoCAD, Vectorworks, SketchUp, Lumion or Photoshop, the importance of 3D visuals is paramount to your design package. Personally having used all of the mentioned software I do prefer using Lumion due to the amount of detail that you can put into it, the speed of the programme as well as time saving aspect of the programme. That being said, you should always use what you feel comfortable using and what you can get the most out of.
The importance of 3D visuals to the overall design package is like what butter is to toast. It is nothing without it. Providing 3D visuals as part of your design presentation not only helps you as a designer see if what you are proposing is going to work but it also sells the design to your client. I do believe that visuals should not be seen as an additional extra but they need to be included within the original presentation. I have been in presentations in the past where the visuals were not included and it can be near impossible for the client to understand what they are getting as they are being bombarded with different slices of information. I have found that the clients eyes really light up when the see what there garden is going to look like in 3D rather than 2D as like with anyone it is always easier to read 3D than in 2D.
For your visuals you can put as little or as much detail as you would like depending on the stage of the individual project. At The Landscape Service we have recently presented a masterplan and sketchy visuals as we felt that this would make the client focus on the shapes and style of the layout rather than paving colour and types of planting. This allows us to develop the design in stages and get to the finished product where we would complete a detail visual showing the final design of the garden. On the other hand we have also recently presented a modern family garden design to one of our clients where we presented a masterplan as well as a detail visual. It all depends on the client and I think the scale of the garden that you are designing.
Another addition that is currently taking the industry by storm is the introduction of virtual reality! Welcome to the future! At The Landscape Service, we have been using this phenomenon for 3 years! Look at us trend setters! The VR / animation as really been pushed into the public eye thanks to the BBC Two programme Your Garden Made Perfect.
Another brilliant reason behind 3D visuals of you garden designs is for marketing and social media. I love posting my recent visuals on all of social media platforms as it shows what I am up to but it also allows other designers to offer their advice and expertise on your design rationale. It also allows for prospective clients to view your online profile and see if your services and skills are something that they are after. I have had a few clients over the years personal message me because they liked the style of my visuals!
I personally think that as the industry evolves, develops and as trends change every designer or design company will be in the VR sphere! Which is going to be extremely exciting!