Before & After: Cottage Garden (Via Photoshop)

Imagining the future potential of a space and what it will look like after an upgrade is something most people struggle with.  It’s why designers are hired and it is why drawing skills are really important.   I have used a number of techniques from drawing over images, Axonometric drawings, mood boards, Sketch-up, and free hand sketches..but I haven’t exactly done the photoshop makeover, have you? I have seen others do it with odd ball software products that they bought at the hardware store, but have never thought the results were interesting.  But Angela over at Cottage Magpie took this technique to a new level and has inspired me to take another look at this option as a possible tool.

Pretty good I think. I am intrigued by how she make the plants in the bed on the left look layered.  And making everything have the right perspective must have been a struggle.  Do you use any tools to create this type of rendering?  What are they, and what do you think of them?

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Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. Erin on May 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I LOVE Photoshop. Love. Love. Love it.

    As a designer, I used it more than any other program. (And really, I found laying out a perspective digitally was so much easier than freehand drawing. But I’m not that great at drawing anyway.)
    If you want to see, I have a few image edits posted on my Land8Lounge profile —

  2. Elizabeth on May 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Our office uses Photoshop extensively for renderings. It’s great for the more cartoonish plan views, as well as photo-realism. There is no limit to what the program can do, just to my understanding of it!

  3. Laurie Brown on May 27, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I use PhotoImpact, but it gives the same results. The hardest part is cutting out the plants neatly so they don’t have their old background showing! Sometimes it’s hard to get the angle of things matched, but if they’re just a little off, the end result is still fairly effective. It won’t give perfection- in your example, you can easily tell that the lavender plants are all clones- but it gives a person the idea better than most drawings can.

  4. Liza on May 27, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    That’s incredible! And so smart!

  5. Louise on May 27, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Laurie, in Photoshop there’s a wonderful tool called magic wand (yes! really) it picks out the whole object, separating from the background ,etc. So cool! Then you’ve got that object on a layer and can copy it or enlarge or reduce size, skew etc. PS is really fun when you get a handle on a few tools.
    Some clients want to ‘see’ the idea, others seem to just trust that you are the expert and are satisfied with a good verbal description and a few precedent studies or mood boards.

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