Garden Planner Help Manual

Getting started
Overview
  Menu
  Toolbar
  Objects Panel
  Grid
  Properties Panel
Opening a Plan
Saving your Plan
Printing
Generate Report
The View Menu
The Settings Menu
The Help Menu
Keyboard Shortcuts

Getting Started

Garden Planner is a tool that lets you easily design your dream garden.
You can arrange plants, trees, buildings and objects using an easy to use 'drag and drop' interface. Then produce a high quality color print out of your design.

When you first start Garden Planner you will see a welcome message, click the 'Start with a New Plan' button and then you are ready to start designing your garden plan.

Overview

Garden Planner is made up of five main parts;

(1) the Menu: at the very top of the application are the menu options.



This works like a menu in any Windows application, just click on any menu item and a list of options appears below. For example this Help Manual can be accessed from the Help menu item.

(2) the Toolbar:
below the menu is the tool bar, which is a row of buttons that allow you to quickly perform common actions.



Here's what each button does;

New Plan: create a new Garden Plan, when you click this a message box will appear asking you to confirm that you want to create a new plan (NB: creating a new plan will erase your existing plan)

Print: print your plan. Clicking this button opens the print dialog box, which lets you set your printing preferences and then print your plan.

Zoom In: enlarges your plan. You can also change the scale of your plan with the Zoom option from the View menu.

Zoom Out: reduces the scale of your plan.


Select: this sets the way in which objects on the plan can be moved and modified. Either the Select, Scale or Rotate button can be selected to determine how objects can be moved or modified. With the Select button selected, objects on the plan can be moved but not scaled or rotated.

Scale: With the Scale button selected objects on the plan can be scaled (ie: you can change their size) but not moved.

Rotate: With the Rotate button selected objects on the plan can be rotated but not moved.

Duplicate: duplicates the currently selected object on the plan. If no object is currently selected then this does nothing.

Delete: deletes the currently selected object. If no object is currently selected then this does nothing.


(3) the Objects Panel: on the left side of the application is the Objects Panel, this is where you find all the plants and other garden objects that you use to create your plan.

Simply drag and drop objects from the panel onto the grid to start creating your garden plan.
The objects are organised into a number of categories to make it faster and simpler to find specific objects. When you start Garden Planner the Shrubs category is selected.

You can change the category by clicking on the menu at the top of the Objects Panel and selecting a different category from the menu.

The large arrows at the top and bottom of the Objects Panel allow you to scroll through the objects.

(4) the Grid: this is where you create your plan. Simply drag objects from the Objects Panel and drop them onto the grid to create your plan. The size of the grid can be changed from the Grid Settings option under the Settings menu. If the size of the grid is larger than your application window then scroll bars will appear to allow you to access the full grid.

(5) the Properties Panel: when you first start Garden Planner the Properties Panel is not visible, it will appear when you select an object on the grid.



The Properties Panel shows the properties for the currently selected object. If no object is selected then the Properties Panel is hidden.

You can move the Properties Panel by clicking and dragging the top edge of the panel. You can move the panel anywhere, which can be useful when building large plans.

Let's look at the different sections of the Properties Panel:

height and width: the text boxes labelled height and width display the height and width of the currently selected object. By default these values are shown in US measurements (feet and inches), however you can easily change this to metric measurements from the default settings option under the settings menu. Typing a new value into these text boxes will resize the selected object to that value.

x and y: the text boxes labelled x and y display the position of the currently selected object. The values are measured in pixels, with a value of 0,0 being the top left corner of the grid. The x value is the horizontal position, and the y value value is the vertical position. Increasing the x value will move the selected object to the right, increasing the y value will move the selected object down.

rot (rotation): the text box labelled rot displays the rotation of the currently selected object. The rotation is displayed in degrees. Increasing the rotation value will rotate the object clockwise. The graphic below the rotation text box shows the rotation represented as a line, similar to a compass needle eg: if the rotation is 90 degrees then the line will point to the right.

Title: the text box labelled Title displays the title or name for the currently selected object. Each object that you add to your plan has a default title which you can change to anything you want.

Description: the text box labelled Description displays the description for the currently selected object. The Description text box allows you to add extra details about the object that can't fit within the title. For example: you may wish to include a plants full botanical name or planting details in the description. While the title is limited to one line, the description can be as many lines and as long as you want. A default description is included for each object which is often the same as the title.

Lock in place: the lock in place check box allows you to lock the position of an object, preventing it from being moved until you unlock it. Checking the lock in place check box for an object means that you cant move that object until you uncheck the check box. This can be very useful when laying out a plan as it prevents you from accidentally moving an object when you are laying out other objects.

The Color panel: the color panel lets you change the color of the currently selected object. Click the colored square to display the color panel (as shown). The color panel is made up of two tabbed views:

The palette view (as shown) which lets you select the color from a palette of different colors. Just click on a colored square in the palette to change to that color.
And the slider view (as shown) which lets you set the color with three sliders or text fields. The sliders let you adjust the amount of red, blue and green that make up the color. For example: dragging the blue slider to the left will increase the amount of blue in the color. Play around with the sliders and you should quickly get a feel for how they affect the resultant color. The numbers to the right of the sliders represent the red, blue and green values as a number between 255 and 0. You can enter numbers into these text boxes instead of using the sliders for a more precise adjustment of the color. When using the slider view you need to click the OK button to set the new color and close the color panel

If you wish to close the color panel without changing the color, just click on the colored square.

If the currently selected object has flowers (eg: a flowering shrub) then a second colored square will be visible, allowing you to use another color panel to adjust the color of the flowers separate to the color of the plant.


Opening a Plan

To open an existing plan choose Open Plan from the File menu. Garden Planner plans have the file extension gml.


Saving your Plan

To save your garden plan choose Save Plan from the File menu. Garden Planner plans are saved with the file extension gml.


Printing

To print your garden plan click on the printer button on the toolbar or choose Print... from the file menu. This will open the print dialog box, which lets you set your printing preferences and then print your plan. The print dialog box lets set a number of options that affect how you printed plan will appear. Let's take a look at these options:

Title: this is the title for your plan, which will appear at the top of your print out.
Report: you can choose if you want to include the report with the print out of your plan. The report lists all the plants and objects that make up your garden plan.
You can also select if you wish to show numbers next to the objects on your plan, which makes it easy to associate objects on the plan with their details in the report.
Object Outlines: this setting lets you to determine if you show the full object on the plan or just an outline. This setting is particularly useful if you have large trees on your plan and you want to see plants that are under the trees.

Generate Report

To generate a report for your plan choose Generate Report from the File menu. The report is a numbered list of every plant/object on your garden plan. The report lists the title, size and description for everything on your plan, which can be a useful list to use when shopping for plants for your garden. You can print the report by clicking the report's print button or by selecting to include the report when printing the plan (see above).

The View Menu

The view menu contains options for adjusting the view of your plan.

Zoom: The zoom... option allows you to set the magnification of the plan as a percentage. For example setting it to 200% will double the size of the plan.
Resize Grid: The resize grid... option lets you set the size of the grid on which you design your plan. When you start Garden Planner the grid is set to be the same size as the application. However if this isn't large enough for your garden you can resize it any size you wish. If you make the grid larger than the available space then scroll bars will allow you to access the complete grid.
Show/Hide Grid: The show/hide grid option toggles the display of the grid on/off.



The Settings Menu

The settings menu contains options for adjusting the settings used by Garden Planner.

General Settings: The general settings.... option allows you to change the main settings used by Garden Planner. You can specify if object measurements should be in US feet/inches or metric units.
You can also specify if you want to be warned before deleting an object, which means asked to confirm before you delete an object on your plan.
You can also select to hide the properties panel. Normally the properties panel is hidden until you select an object, with this option checked the properties panel will remain hidden even when you select an object, which can be useful when laying out your plan as the panel doesn't obscure your design.
Grid Settings: The grid settings.... option allows you to change the settings for the grid. You can set the size of the grid, as well as the size of the actual grid squares (ie: how far apart the lines are).
You can also specify if objects 'snap' to the grid lines. If you check this option then the center of objects will always line up with grid lines.
Object Outline Settings: The object outline settings.... option allows you to change how objects are displayed, allowing you to determine if you show the full object or just an outline. This setting is particularly useful if you have large trees on your plan and you want to see plants that are under the trees. This works in the same way as the equivalent print option.



The Help Menu

The help menu contains help and program information for Garden Planner.

Animated Introduction: The animated introduction provides a short animated introduction to Garden Planner which gives an overview of working with the application. Press the play button to start and the stop to return to the beginning of the animation.
Help Manual: this document.
GardenPlanner web site: a link to the Garden Planner web site.
About: shows the application version information.


Keyboard shortcuts

Delete key deletes the currently selected object
Ctrl + D duplicates the currently selected object
Ctrl + N create a new plan
Ctrl + P print
Ctrl + R generate report
Ctrl + O open a plan
Ctrl + S save
left arrow moves the currently selected object a small amount (2 pixels) to the left
right arrow moves the currently selected object a small amount to the right
up arrow moves the currently selected object up a small amount
down arrow moves the currently selected object down a small amount

 

 

 

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