Expert Jennifer Miree Cope

Many homeowners approach landscaping tasks with good intentions but find it difficult to get to the finish line. Jennifer Miree Cope explains how to build on small wins to achieve big success, regardless of a project’s nature or scope.

Most homeowners would likely say that their home’s curb appeal is important to them. Landscaping can not only beautify a home but also transform it into a stunning and inviting environment all its own.

There’s only one issue: to create such an oasis, homeowners must overcome the challenges landscaping projects often bring. Seasoned landscape designer Jennifer Miree Cope wants to show the way.

The first step toward gaining easy wins is to divide landscaping projects into smaller milestones.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to list the desired outcome and the steps that lead there and give each milestone a reasonable timeframe for completion. Homeowners who do so will find themselves with a roadmap filled with small steps that allow them to build momentum toward their big win.

Once these milestones have been set, it will be time to get to work. Homeowners should always start with the quickest and easiest task and work their way up to more challenging goals.

A gardener who wants to create a slate pathway through their backyard might begin by clearing the surrounding area. In doing so, they’ll have checked one task off their landscaping to-do list, which can help them build motivation to finish the project.

By the same token, if a homeowner knows a particular project may take a significant amount of time to complete, they can consider using a functional placeholder to bring a small sense of satisfaction.

For example, suppose one wants to create a seating area around a firepit but can’t yet install the pit itself. They might purchase chairs and arrange them around a table so it looks similar to a firepit setup. This would give the landscape a completed look while they await their ideal solution.

Homeowners shouldn’t be afraid to leverage partnerships when needed. Certain tasks should be handled by experts anyway, including caring for or cutting down diseased trees. However, one shouldn’t be afraid to bring in professional landscapers for any project they don’t have the time or energy for, no matter how small.

The final — and perhaps most important — tip for homeowners is to simply start where they are and use what they have available.

There’s nothing wrong with landscaping with potted plants and trees if that’s what’s around. The sooner one gets started, the easier it will be to keep going. Along the way, they’ll have the opportunity to refine their landscaping vision and discover what brings them joy.

About Jennifer Miree Cope:

Jennifer Miree Cope graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1985 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Her organizational skills and attention to detail fuel her passion and sought-after talent for landscape design.

When she’s not hiking the mountains of North Carolina, attending University of Alabama sporting events, or working out, Jennifer can be found volunteering with the many charitable endeavors supported by Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, including STAIR tutoring, Holiday House, and the Children’s Fresh Air Farm.