BBC Gardening: The Virtual Garden

The Virtual Garden Design Tool

We were asked by BBC Factual & Learning to develop an interactive tool for the portal which would allow users to try out different garden designs online.

We were asked to be particularly sensitive to the fact that many of users would have limited experience of interactive technology. The tool would initially be promoted as part of the How to be a gardener 2 programme support site, which we were also commissioned to develop, but would live on as a standalone product and be a major part of the offering.

We responded by coming up with the concept of an online 3D Virtual Garden design tool, built in 3D Shockwave and capable of taking inputs from HTML and Flash programme support sites. The product was also able to be downloaded as a PC or Mac executable if the user prefered this to running the product online.

The user experience was carefully planned and heavily user-tested through a number of sessions in a dedicated user testing suite. The result was a carefuly paced user journey through the application moving from simple interactions, such as entering garden dimensions, through to carefully introduced 2D “drag and drop” interactions, to finally viewing and being able to explore your garden design in glorious 3D.

The How to be a Gardener 2 homepageThe product fetaures 100s of plants, shubs, trees, flowers and 3D objects, all carefully created by our illustrators and 3D artists. The BBC have asked us to return to the product a number of times to add more items and to create more “pre-set” gardens from a Japanese-style garden to an urban “small space” garden.

The product was an immediate, and then long running, success. In the 6 months after launch it received over 1 million visitors and won that year’s Royal Horticultual Society “best website” award. Since then, thousands of unique gardens have been created with the tool, including many beautiful digital entries to a Virtual Garden design competition run in conjunction with the Chelsea Flower Show which representing some of the most technically ambitious user generated content has ever featured. The product has become one of the most popular tools on and has been a permanent feature on the Gardening homepage since launch.


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Cool. I like the Virtual Garden designer

From the bbc. Once you've designed your garden you can walk around it in 3D and zoom in and out, and sort of experience what it would be like.
You can save your design for later or DL what others do and take a virtual tour of their gardens. The plant selection is limited but good enough to give you an idea and I like the extras they have like water fountains, and the greenhouse.
I took some screen captures of the program when I was playing around with it. You can see them on one of my blogs.

Master Gardener: Identifying hydrangea problems  — Tulsa World
Cover strawberry plants with a mulch about 3-4 inches thick if plants are prone to winter injury. Wait to prune fruit trees until late February or March. Christmas gift ideas for the gardener might include tools, garden books and magazine subscriptions.

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Makita Corporation manufactures and sells a range of electric power tools worldwide. It is also involved in the production and sale of stationary woodworking machines, air tools, garden tools, and household tools.

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Virtual Garden
Virtual Garden
online virtual garden designer
online virtual garden designer
Chief Architect Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite 7.0 [OLD VERSION]
Software (Chief Architect)
  • Expert design tips from the editors of Better Homes and Gardens magazines
  • Create a virtual look and feel of the design with actual colors, wallpaper, flooring, furniture, windows and window treatments
  • Easily design kitchens and baths with plans and 3D layouts
  • Choose from a library of over 6, items for your designs
  • Automatically validates the design against standard building principles

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