Landscaping is one of the most lucrative investments that a homeowner can make, with the ability to get a return of 150% for as little as 5% invested. However, with so many options available, some homeowners find it difficult to design their ideal yard.
But now, with the invention of virtual reality, planning and designing are easier than ever.
For a long time, virtual reality (VR) only existed in this grand idea of the future. Many tech companies made promises that it could be used for a wide variety of industries, from movies and video games to education and construction. But now that the technology has arrived, many are discovering the untapped potential for landscapers as well.
When the technology was first introduced, it was something of a novelty, and an expensive one, too. But as it became more and more accessible just a few years ago, it grew in popularity. And because of this, some landscape companies have started to use it in their pitches to clients.
Joe Raboine, director of Belgard’s Design Studio, has noticed that VR is particularly great for showcasing hardscaping projects, namely outdoor living spaces, due to their complexity.
“It definitely helps people understand the space better,” Raboine said.
But despite the growing popularity of the technology, it still can’t seem to overshadow the common 3D rendering that much of the landscaping industry uses.
Currently one of the largest barriers preventing VR from beating 3D rendering is the fact that so many apps are used to view the project. It can be very hard to control the level of quality when it comes to things like cell phones and tablets, and not everyone can use a VR headset.
“The quality of the cell phone is what really makes the difference,” Raboine said. “The refresh rate will be worse on an older phone than say an iPhone 7. In the next couple of years for sure contractors will have phones like these.”
There is also the fact that many find the tool to be slightly confusing to use, and that it can be frustrating to some interested buyers. They don’t care for the more complex VR systems when the 3D tours are, in their minds, much easier to understand.
Dave Whitinger, executive director of the National Gardening Association, warns about this when discussing whether VR could replace 3D.
“The reality is that while the virtual tools are great for a minority of gardeners, many more people find them far too confusing, and they get really frustrated,” Whitinger warns.
So while VR might be the future of landscaping technology, it’ll be a while before the consumer base is ready on the whole.