Developer: Stevenson Software, LLC
Price: $4.99 Download on the App Store
Spring is finally here and with it comes an app of great proportions for amateur gardeners and botanists. Landscaper’s Companion is a reference guide to more than a 1,000 plants in every category – perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, groundcover, ornamental grasses and more. Designed to be a comprehensive resource for gardeners, Landscaper’s Companion contains thousands of pictures, and a search function for searching out plants by growing conditions. Many plant pages include details about the plant, such as planting suggestions and other useful information.
The premise behind Landscaper’s Companion is obvious – create a mobile reference that can help the casual gardener select plants based on growing conditions, type, and appearance. This goal is accomplished and executed in a simple to use format. Users can scroll through categories to view suggested plants or can search for plants appropriate for their growing conditions like shade, sun, partial sun, growing zone, and water needs. Other features include the ability to create a favorites list and browse pictures of included plants.
While Landscaper’s Companion appears to be a comprehensive guide to plants, the app is missing a few details that are worth noting merely because the price warrants originality and complete, consistent information.
My biggest complaint with this app is the absence of descriptions for all plants. Many plants do include detailed descriptions, but just as many are lacking one. When present, the detailed descriptions give information like bloom times, available colors, and planting suggestions. Even if the plant is a common garden plant, for the app to be truly comprehensive, these descriptions should be included with every plant.
Though the category list format and search functions are nice, if not essential for an app like this, Landscaper's Companion doesn't have the ability to merge the two. In other words, you can’t search specifically for shade perennials. You can search for shade plants, but the result will yield all categories of shade plants. Conversely, if you browse the perennial category in search of plants, you have to click the details tab on each and every one searching for the shade varieties. The ability to further narrow potential plant selections by category and growing conditions would have been better. To cater to novice gardeners, the inclusion of a map for determining growing zones would also have been nice.
The collection of pictures, however unoriginal the images are, is a nice visual addition and equally necessary given the genre. Some pictures are immensely helpful, while others show mere close ups of buds and blooms without giving a visual of the entire plant. Still, the shear volume of pictures included makes it visually appealing regardless of serving the intended purpose.
Because Landscaper’s Companion is priced at ten bucks, there may be some hesitation to download. If you are an amateur gardener or DIY landscaper, then it’s likely you’ll get your money’s worth. Though it occupies a good deal of memory on your device, Landscaper’s Companion is convenient to use and very practical to take along on trips to the nursery or garden center when gearing up for planting season. The app includes the ability to make notes within each plant page, so you can do some planning at home ahead of time.
All in all, Landscaper’s Companion is a fairly well done reference guide that could come in quite handy this time of year.