11-12-20 | Department

Industry Technology and Hardscape Software

AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop, Rhino and More...

Robert Davie & Associates, landscape architecture firm based in Sarasota, FL, worked on this deck and accompanying hardscape for the Community Aids Network within the Sarasota area. For this project, the design team utilized Pool Studio, a 3D modeling software that allowed them to visualize the different components of the site and how they connect with each other. Specifically, they put an emphasis on ensuring that the spacing of the decking and surrounding area matched well with the visual aesthetics they were creating.
The outcome from the designs for the Community Aids Network resulted in a deck which was fitted within a garden-like setting that incorporated lush tropical vegetation throughout the area. Additionally, the deck was designed for outdoor activities with furniture as well as a new landscape for the entire property all while permitting enough space for groups of various sizes to comfortably interact within the decking area.
With the aid of the modeling software, the Betances Plaza was renovated to reflect a curvilinear design that was created by the strategic implementation of large raised cast-in-place concrete planters augmented by colorful bands of concrete pavers. This Latin-themed design was inspired by the neighborhood's historically Puerto Rican culture.
Rojas Design, Inc. led the landscape architectural design for the Betances Plaza in Boston, MA. The team sought to create a new environment in this plaza through improving the streetscape, paving, walkways and planters. In order to accomplish this task, they used modeling software to get a stronger idea of the scope and potential of this hardscape project.

Technology has made incredible advancements over the past several decades, and as a result, countless industries have progressed to incorporate evolved forms of tools and equipment. The landscape architecture field is no exception as computerized assistance is essential in nearly every aspect of the practice. More specifically, the skillful use of software is now infused in the art of landscape design. Daniel Tal, a registered landscape architect and 3D modeling and visualization expert, has discussed at length the advancements and necessity of technology and software within the industry. Among the many insights he's provided in this area, a prominent theme of his dialogues is that the integration of computerized tools has changed the entire industry to the point that landscape architects and other professionals seemingly have a dependency on these technologies.

Tal has also talked about how quickly change has occurred as advancing technology has been introduced into the system. He elucidated the idea that there is value in having a team member who is capable of using the different computer programs that each individual project may call for. However, this can prove difficult. As new forms of improvements arise often, so too does the need for evolving knowledge to meet that need.


AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop, and Rhino are among the more well-known and used computer programs used for landscape architecture, however, certain software are specifically available to improve hardscape design and implementation. These tools reflect the aforementioned industry changes, as the more specific field of hardscape has evolved to utilize software intended strictly for use within its practice.

The National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) is an organization that advocates for the safeguard of work-related industry professionals and their membership. They also support the widespread use and promotion of concrete masonry in order to improve communities and make them more resilient. They provide a number of resources to meet those goals, and one of the most notable resources is their software offerings.

NCMA has a division on their website dedicated to illuminating valuable software within the hardscape field. These tools are offered by the association to aid in the design process of everything under the scope of hardscape. This includes simple elements all the way up to large structures. They currently have four software programs that are highlighted as resources for landscape architects and other industry professionals to utilize. These software are the EleMasonry Design Software, Structural Masonry Design Software, SRWall - Design Software for Segmental Retaining Walls, and Direct Design software for Masonry Structures.

Each software is unique in the sense that they each have different applications, with one exception. The Structural Masonry Design was their main masonry design program, but it has recently been replaced by the more advanced EleMasonry which was created to allow for a quick and simple medium for designing a broad range of hardscape building elements. New computer programs are coming out constantly to the benefit of the landscape architecture industry as a whole, and as Daniel Tal pointed out, the ability to effectively utilize them is growing at the same increasing rate.


Sign up for
LAWeekly newsletter. Get exclusive content today.