Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced professional, finding the best fence design software can help ensure you get the perfect final design.
A wide range of computer-assisted design software can be daunting and much more advanced than the average user needs. However, there are a few programs out there that can span the full spectrum of versatility and ease of use.
Once you have made it past the learning curve, which can be extremely steep with some software on the market today, your fence design options open up.
Whether you are just going for a small expansion to your perimeter fence, want to section off a garden spot in your yard, or are looking for a stylish yet practical privacy fence around your home there is a fence design software that can suit your needs.
How to Choose the Best Fence Design Software
Before you even open up your first design software, you need to be sure of what your final plans are. When you realize exactly what you want from a design program, the easier it will be to reach that final result:
- Will you be installing a standard perimeter fence?
- Do you want something a bit more stylish or whimsical?
- What about height and materials?
Design software that is specific to fencing can help you nail down those decisions, but if you choose to use an all-around design software you may want to be sure of what your plans are in advance.
Pre-made assets are also another consideration. Some software includes massive libraries of tens of thousands of unique visual assets such as trees, bushes, vehicles, outdoor furniture, and children’s toys.
Placing these around your design image can help give you a feel for the space you are creating. Some free software does not provide access to their asset libraries, however.
If you feel like having visual assets in your final render can give you more design inspiration, be sure to consider asset library access on the software you choose. Most software will allow you to view your design in both 2D and 3D renders.
The benefit to the latter is you can get an accurate feel for the size of the space with a virtual walk-thru. What seemed large and spacious on the 2D render might seem a bit cramped when you view it in 3D.
Ensuring you find software that makes use of both dimensions is extremely helpful in some cases. Once you have finalized your design, will you be sharing it with builders, friends, family, or permit companies?
If the answer is yes, your selected software needs to be able to either upload renders to the cloud or save the files in various formats. PNG and STP are the most common, but a wide range of other formats may be supported by some programs as well.
The Benefits of Using Fence Design Software
One of the biggest benefits of using fence design software is the fact that it can make sketching and adjusting a design so much easier than if it were done on paper. You also eliminate the need for measuring tools since they’re built into all design software.
Additionally, all of your designs can be easily uploaded to cloud storage or saved on your computer. This makes bringing up older designs quick and easy if you need to make adjustments or use them for comparisons or inspiration.
Whether you need to share a design with your builder or want to ask friends and family for their suggestions, locating and sharing your finished render is quick and easy.
While computer-assisted design software can be difficult to learn for complete beginners, a large number of fence-specific design software is very intuitive and easy to grasp!
In fact, you don’t need any computer design experience at all. Most of the tools are obvious in their placement on the design editor as well as their purpose. You won’t have to spend hours using trial and error to figure out how a tool can be used.
Design software makes creating 3D renders as easy as clicking a button! Many builders and some building permit committees will require both a 2D and 3D render of your build plans, no matter how simple they may be.
Instead of having to go to an architect and paying them to convert your 2D sketch into a 3D format, you can do it yourself with most design software! This not only ends up saving you time but money as well.
The only downside to having 2D-to-3D requirements is that some 3D renders can take several minutes to export. If you plan on rendering and exporting a large number of files, you may find the time it takes to do a 3D render adds up to too much.
In this case, it might be easier to focus on 2D designs or simply adjust the file format for saving and sharing your designs.
5 Best Fence Design Software for Pros and DIY Enthusiasts
If you’ve spent any time whatsoever searching for design software, you will know there are quite literally hundreds of options. Some are very well known and have been used by professionals for decades, and others are obscure and have not been updated in years.
Below is a short list of some of the most notable design software available today. All of these options can tackle fence design projects with ease!
This program is the brainchild of Google, which means it is backed by a massive company and will work across a wide range of operating systems. It’s also extremely small in download size, making it easy to install and use on a whim!
SketchUp is a very versatile program that is not only intuitive enough for beginners to use but also powerful enough for advanced users to make use of it. You won’t be overwhelmed with a steep learning curve here.
In fact, complete beginners with no experience whatsoever can hop in and design their first fence in just a few minutes' time. This software is not just specifically for fencing, so you have plenty of design potential available.
In fact, you can use it for landscaping, decks, and patios too! You can design your entire backyard with SketchUp. You’ll even have access to a wide range of visual assets and materials, which makes selecting the right wood or hardware quick and easy.
Once you have finalized a design, you can save it in over a dozen file formats, including STP, STL, PDF, and more! This makes it easy to not only share your design with friends and family but also to open it with another program to fine-tune some details.
Additionally, the ease of selecting a file format means you can quickly send that file to your builder or permit office which may sometimes ask for a somewhat more niche file format.
While SketchUp offers both a free and paid version, you might find the free version to be somewhat limited depending on your needs. For example, you won’t have access to their massive visual asset library with the free version.
If you opt for the paid version, more than 100,000 assets and materials will open up for you to use in your project renders.
CFS is marketed towards the professional contractor more than the DIY-er or weekend fence designer, however, the software can be an excellent tool if you just need to get a good look and cost idea of a fence you have in mind.
One of the best parts about this software is the fact that it instantly breaks down the complete costs of materials for the fence you choose based on price data from your local area.
For example, if you want to construct chain link fencing around your entire backyard to keep your children and pets safe, it will show you exactly what hardware you need as well as the total cost it will run at the current time.
If you instead decide to change that chain link fencing into wood privacy fencing, the cost will instantly adjust showing you how much you can save between fence styles.
Additionally, it can generate a shopping list, giving you a quick look at just what items will need to be purchased to complete this project. CFS can be opened and used on a tablet or other portable device as well, making it a great tool for pricing components directly at the hardware store.
The software itself includes both a quick design option as well as a more detailed project creator. With the quick design, you can select your fencing option from some pre-made styles and adjust the length and height to fit your project.
The software will then render a visual representation, giving you the freedom to adjust it however you see fit. This not only cuts down on overall design time but gives you a visual option to show builders and permit specialists in your area as well.
File saving is a bit limited, but can still be done with PNG files. STP and STL are not available without additional conversion. Since it’s more focused on contract pricing, rendering finalized images and materials lists is quick and simple.
CAD, also known as computer-assisted design, can be a very powerful tool when it comes to creating just about anything.
The CAD Pro software offers a variety of extremely versatile tools that can not only help you design your fence but also see how it fits in with the rest of your landscaping and outdoor furniture.
The limiting factor here is that CAD Pro requires the user to have at least some knowledge of using computer-assisted design software. Complete beginners may find the tools and terminology much too advanced for their needs.
If you’re prepared for the steep learning curve or have a general understanding of the process, CAD Pro can be an extremely useful all-around design tool for not just fencing, but building blueprints, landscaping, deck construction, and so much more.
In fact, professional architects have used it for years. It’s also extremely popular with retail design professionals and real estate agents as well. CAD Pro offers users access to an incredible collection of visual assets and build materials.
This not only helps you plan out your 2D designs but brings life to your 3D renders. In addition, using visual assets can help with the approval process through permit committees as well as giving your builder a tangible view of exactly what your goals are for the project.
Once you have finalized your asset placement, CAD Pro makes saving and sharing your final render easy. Whether you choose to save it to the cloud or would prefer to render and export it in a variety of file formats, there is a wide range of options available.
CAD Pro is a paid program, so may not be the best option for someone only planning to use it for a single project. However, if you find yourself planning multiple projects in the future this program is versatile enough to cover them all with ease.
You can not only design fencing layout and shape with this software, but you can also create complete housing floor plans as well as landscaping that spans your entire property.
Created in the late 1990s, Big Hammer offers a beginner-friendly and very versatile fence design program.
Managed by The Home Depot, the Big Hammer line of design software includes fencing, garage, room, and landscaping, giving you plenty of options to create the perfect space around your home.
Unfortunately for Mac users, this software is only usable on Windows computers. It’s also completely free, which makes it an excellent program for complete beginners to dive into and get started with.
This software is not complex or overly complicated to learn. You don’t have to be a professional, or even experienced with computer-assisted design at all! In fact, Big Hammer has intentionally made this software highly intuitive and easy to use.
Whether you are planning on a simple fence addition, or want to plan out the entire property, this software can meet your needs. Big Hammer’s DIY fence designer takes click-and-drag resizing seriously.
Not sure what size of fence you need? No problem! Simply click and drag until it looks right. The software itself will measure out the length and overall square footage. Additionally, you can choose from a wide range of materials and fence styles.
Once you have settled on a look, print out the materials list and get a look at exactly what you need to purchase from the lumber store. This not only helps streamline the finalization process but helps keep you on a budget as well!
Your final design can be saved in both 2D and 3D format, making it easy to send to friends, family, and builders. You can also use the 2D renders to send to build permit committees, making the approval process much quicker overall.
It can also save files in a variety of formats, including JPG, PNG, and STP.
While this software does not focus on fence design itself, it can still be a valuable tool for considering whether or not you want to place a fence in a certain area of your property.
For example, Realtime offers you the ability to recreate your yard in their program. Right down to every tree and bush. From there, you can add pre-made fence options to the area to get a visual idea of how it will look in a finalized project.
Realtime is extremely easy to learn and is great for beginning designers, but since it is not specifically made for fence design, it won’t help you with cost estimates or hardware requirements.
It will, however, give you a general idea as to which material looks better for your landscaping. Being able to see semi-realistic representations of different fence materials is a great way to finalize which material you want to use.
Oak privacy fencing may be the cheapest in your area, but pine might look much better for the overall aesthetics. You’ll be able to tell with the Realtime software.
While this is a paid program, it does offer a reliable money-back guarantee if you are not happy with the product. The company has been working on this software for almost 15 years and has provided updates on an almost yearly basis.
If you decide to purchase the software, you can rest assured knowing the company will stand behind its product. If you’re searching for a visual aid to give yourself and your builder a better idea of what the goal is for the final project, Realtime might be just the software you need.
It’s suitable for both 2D and 3D visualizations and has a large library full of high-resolution assets to help build your landscaping to see exactly which fence works best for you.
Which One's Our Top Pick?
After giving the previous five software a good hands-on test, the version that seems to meet a variety of fence design needs would be Big Hammer DIY Fence Designer.
This completely free program is straightforward and easy to get started with. You won’t find any steep learning curves or struggle with trying to figure out the use of hundreds of tools with this software!
Complete beginners to computer-assisted design software can open up Big Hammer and quickly create something they can share with others. In fact, you can use the software to get your design from initial concept to completed render.
Big Hammer provides both 2D and 3D capabilities, as well as the ability to save your finalized renders in a wide range of file formats. No matter what design software you chose to go with, they all share the basics of usability.
Whether you are designing a fence or an entire property lot, you’ll find all five of the above options can help with at least some of that process.