Monday, May 29, 2023

4 Tips for Landscape Design from Jennifer Miree Cope

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Travon Marner
Travon Marner
Travon Marner is a seasoned journalist with nearly 12 years under his belt. While studying journalism at Boston, Travon found a passion for finding local stories. As a contributor to Business News Ledger, Travon mostly covers human interest pieces.

Creating a new landscape design can be one of the most rewarding things you can do for your home. As landscape design specialist Jennifer Miree Cope explains, though, re-doing your yard can be a real challenge.

From design to plant selection to budget, knowing where to start can be difficult. Here are four essential tips for landscape design that every homeowner should follow.

1. Decide What You Want Your Yard to Be

Before you can start creating a beautiful design for your yard, it’s important to define what you want it to be. Is it a peaceful space for you to relax and read a book? Is it to add curb appeal to the front of your house? Is it to attract pollinators? Is it to create an entertaining space?

The function of your yard will help you determine the ultimate design for your landscape. Many homeowners go into a yard re-do without the final function in mind. If you don’t know how you’re going to use the space, it can be a real challenge to design something that you’ll love.

2. Define Spaces

When you’re creating your landscape design, it’s important to define your spaces. Most homes have multiple outdoor spaces — a front yard and a backyard, of course, but also walkways, gardens, and play areas.

One of the best things you can do when you’re designing your landscape is to define the spaces, and then give those spaces physical boundaries. This can be done with fencing, hedges, or a patio, for example.

Along these lines, keep in mind themes when you’re creating each of these separate spaces. This will help you stay consistent with shapes, choose complementary colors and also integrate seating, structures, hardscapes, and decorations.

Jennifer Miree Cope with her husband, D. Paterson Cope
Jennifer Miree Cope is pictured here with her husband, D. Paterson Cope

3. Connect Your Spaces

After your spaces are defined, and the boundaries are in place, set up ways to connect them so you can easily travel from one to the next. This could be walkways, stepping stones, or some other decorative feature.

This helps create the same “open concept” design for your outside that is so popular today inside of homes.

4. Know Your Growing Zone

There are a lot of truly amazing, unique plants nowadays. At the same time, there are a lot of places to get great inspiration for your landscape design, including magazines, trade shows, and social media sites such as YouTube.

While you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to plants for your landscape, not all of them will thrive in your location. There are three factors here you should keep in mind — growing zone, soil, and light.

Jennifer Miree Cope suggests checking the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, where you can view what growing zone you’re in. Then, make sure that the plants you choose will do well in your zone.

Then, figure out the type of soil you have and whether your chosen plants would do well in it. Finally, consider where you’re planting everything, and if that spot will get the right amount of sun to thrive.

About Jennifer Miree Cope

Jennifer Miree Cope graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1985 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Renowned for her passion and talent as a landscape designer, Jennifer’s associates often praise her for being organized and thorough. When not hiking in the mountains of North Carolina, attending University of Alabama sporting events, or exercising, Jennifer is often volunteering with one of the many charitable endeavors supported by Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama: STAIR tutoring, Holiday House, or the Children’s Fresh Air Farm.

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