How did we ever get by without computers? Heck, how did we survive before the Internet was invented? Sure, it has its drawbacks: It’s easy to get sucked into an afternoon of looking at photos of our friends’ kids, spend the whole morning reading celebrity gossip or, worst of all, find yourself reading the comments section on your favorite website.

But it’s never been easier to hop online, type a few terms in to Google and receive page after page of ideas from all over the world to inspire your next home or landscape project. Here’s a look at three of our favorite tools for clients to use to find inspiration, ideas and even their next landscape design contractor.

Landscape Planning Website #1: Pinterest

Pinterest is a fantastic source for ideas on everything from recipes and wedding decor to handmade pillow covers and — you guessed it — landscape designs. Whether you’re looking for DIY ideas (Pinterest’s bread and butter) or something elaborate for a professional to help set in motion, you’ll find it on the site.

And, of course, brands are getting in on the action these days, too. SmithScapes is one of many landscape design and maintenance contractors with a Pinterest profile and boards galore — consider it a peek into a designer’s minds before you even speak with one!

Landscape Planning Website #2: Houzz

This new kid on the block is wasting no time, gaining popularity among high-end homeowners and reputable designers and builders alike. It was designed just for home and outdoor projects, so you won’t waste any time dawdling or looking at items that have nothing to do with your home. (Though you may end up deciding to design a sunroom in a ski chalet in Colorado…)

A simple search of the type of project you’re looking to start will bring up countless Idea Books you can browse, as well as listings from local landscape designers and contractors whose work might pique your interest. Check out Neave Group’s Houzz profile for an example — and some ideas.

Landscape Planning Website #3: Facebook

Yes, Facebook! If you’re going to be spending time on Facebook as it is, why not put it to constructive use? Those same friends whose family photos you admire and vacations you envy could hold the key to your next landscape design success!

Perhaps a friend who lives across town recently had their front yard redone and absolutely loved their landscape designer. Maybe a photo of an envy-inspiring vacation home features a plant you absolutely must have in this year’s spring landscape feature.

Never be afraid to ask questions of your friends, or get their recommendations. People love to talk about themselves… Start with a compliment, and see what pearls of wisdom you come away with.

And, of course, SmithScapes has a Facebook page with plenty of great inspiration for you to follow!

Next Steps: Go Analog

But the best thing you can have in your landscape design planning toolkit doesn’t involve a computer at all: It’s a professional landscape designer who can guide you through the process.

Contact the design professionals at SmithScapes to start the conversation about your next landscape design and installation project.