On Monday I was cleaning out my favorites folder and came across a link I had forgotten about. It's the Virtual Garden from the BBC website. I had a problem using the program on the website but I downloaded it and it worked fine for me that way.
It gives you the ability to sketch out your gardening space and design your own garden by planting trees, bulbs, annual and perennials and placing garden items like benches in your design. The plant selection is limited but I can't really complain because the program is free and you can see your design in 3D and move around your virtual garden like it was a video game complete with fluttering butterflies.
The image above is an overhead view of my front garden that I blocked in. The brown area on the far left is a walkway that runs the length of the house. The green is of course grass and the gray strip is the walkway leading up to the front stairs. The brown box in this program is really decking because they didn't have a "front porch" option. I've been playing around planting various things to give me an idea of space and height because...well my garden doesn't really follow any of those rules. I'll plop anything in a space it will fit if I have to. It can look messy but I don't mind.
Anyway if you haven't come across this before or you're looking to design your own garden this easy to use and simple tool can help you get an idea of what your space will look like. You can even save a couple of different garden designs you create.