Interface

PlantManager provides a flexible interface to view and edit plant data. A dockable palette (screenshot at left) displays plant lists separately or merged and includes buttons to label or create plant boundaries or insert blocks in the drawing. The palette includes buttons to access key PlantManager tools and dialogs.

The screenshot below shows the main interface used to edit plant details as well as set options for labels, layers, hatching, text styles etc. accessed via the options tab.

Entering and editing plant data is easy with edit boxes which automatically expand for long text entries. You can customise field names to ensure item headings are relevant to the list type and these can be included in the schedule.

Changes made to an entry including the key name or spacing assigned to a plant will automatically update all existing drawing labels, boundaries and blocks which will be reflected in the schedule when it is created.

Planting Plan Types

PlantManager provides tools to prepare different styles of planting plans. You can use blocks, with each symbol used to represent the size and location of a plant or tree, or you can represent multiple plants of the same species by an object which defines an area such as a hatch or polyline.

PlantManager can also assign a mix of species to an area with quantities defined by spacing and percentage as shown in the screenshot at right.

A variation on this mode helps define seed mixes with each species represented as a weight in grams per unit area. (See Below)

When using areas to represent planting, you can use standard AutoCAD tools to draw objects (hatches, polylines, splines, regions, circles etc) on any layer and then assign a plant by selecting an entry and labelling the object. PlantManager can automate this process by creating a boundary or hatch, assigning a plant, labeling and hatching in one step.

Whenever you change the mix composition, spacing or percentage, quantities will be recalculated and all labels in the drawing updated.

Plants

Plant information can be sourced from a database, drawing file, tab delimited text file (.pla file) or an excel spreadsheet.

PlantManager ships with a large list of northern hemisphere plants and a searchable database of over 6000 Australian native plants.

You can also source plants from a previous project drawing and import the data without opening the source file.

A single drawing can be used as a source for a wide range of plant lists and can form a template for a new project. A drawing file is included which has no graphical information but includes data for several thousand plants with an emphasis on species suitable for and native to New Zealand.

Database search

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Plant Database Browser

The included Australian plant database is searchable and incorporates a wide range of information about each entry including flower colour, habit, form, origin, soil type, propagation and uses, among others. You can browse the database by genus and species or search for plants according to criteria.

When importing data from an Excel file you can control the mapping of fields between the spreadsheet and the fields of the plant list if the columns don’t match your plant list setup.

Finishes

PlantManager can be used to document and schedule surface treatments or finishes.

Each finish type can be represented in the drawing by three preset types;

  • an area (either closed polyline or hatch)
  • a block object representing a furniture or utility item
  • a linear element such as a garden edge

A finish can be assigned by creating a ’Finish’ list and entering (or importing) data defining each item.

As with a plant list, each item comprises a key name and custom fields to specify its characteristics. In the case of finishes which are represented by areas, graphic elements including hatch patterns, colours and linetypes can be used to distinguish each item.

Rates

A value can be assigned for each item in a list and and a total cost calculated and output in the schedule (or to file). You can choose to include a Rate and Total column in the schedule output.
As with all columns in the Schedule Properties Dialog , the Rate and Total can be arranged in any order or deselected if required.

Data Browser

The data browser displays information about the selected entry and can be printed or left open in the AutoCAD workspace for reference. Clicking an entry in the main dialog will update the data in the window.

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Data Browser

You can display more than one image for each item by naming with a unique prefix or suffix. You can define a number of different locations to store images on a network or local drive and these will be searched for matches to the currently selected entry.

This window also serves as a mini web browser with shortcuts to search engines using the currently selected entry as the search text. Using the browser allows you to update a palette item with information (and images) from web sources by copying and pasting into the main PlantManager dialog.

Utilities

PlantManager comes with utilities to help with landscape documentation. These include a tool to calculate and display total areas / length / perimeter attributes of objects which are selected in the drawing. The window shown at left floats in the workspace while selections are made. You can filter objects by specifying a layer prior to making a selection.

Another utility substitutes one plant block for another, working like the ’Match Properties’ tool. Other tools are provided to manage plant lists such as appending new data to an existing list, or combining all lists in a directory.

Read about PlantManager customisation here