A Guided Journey to a Beautiful Yard

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Home Outside: Woman-Owned Business of the Year

by Small Business Administration When most Americans think about artificial intelligence, they  associate the burgeoning technology with the likes of customer service chatbots, science lab robots or autonomous vehicles. Julie Moir Messervy, founder and CEO of Home Outside — this year’s SBA Woman-Owned Business of the Year for Vermont — makes a connection to landscaping.

With a mission to “combat climate change one beautiful landscape at a time,“ Home Outside’s first-of-its-kind “visualization platform“ is revolutionizing the way homeowners and landscape professionals design their gardens and surrounding outdoor spaces.

Photo: Julie Moir Messervy brings 45 years ofexperience to her award-winning business. Courtesy photo.

Photo: Julie Moir Messervy brings 45 years ofexperience to her award-winning business. Photo: Ken Burris

In a nutshell, the patented technology creates a 3D rendering of the property in question and then makes recommendations for improving curb appeal, privacy, climate resilience, energy and water usage, biodiversity and much more.

Photo: Image of Home Outside 3D+AR plant collections. Courtesy photo.

 

Photo: Image of Home Outside 3D+AR plant collections. Courtesy photo.

Photo: Image of Home Outside 3D+AR plant collections. Courtesy photos.

The app, appropriately named “Julie,“ was released in beta form in 2023. The finished product is expected to launch soon.

There are currently two different versions of the program: one for homeowners and one for landscape professionals. The homeowner version provides links to information about plants, garden products, contractors and government-incentive programs that make it easier for nonprofessionals to install the designs. The professional version connects landscape contractors with Home Outside’s plant collections and the nurseries that sell them.

Messervy, a landscape designer, author and lecturer, is now seven years into leading her pioneering business. Having worked in the landscape design field for 45 years, she brings extensive knowledge, experience and ideas to the endeavor.

“I had a long career of making very beautiful gardens with wonderful help from the talented team I work with,“ she said. “But as I got older, I wanted to help more people have access to our brains and what we know. It’s complicated to be able to plant plants in the right place. There is so much involved in landscape design, so I realized that we needed to help people who have small houses on small lots but can’t afford to work with landscape designers and don’t know where to start.“

Home Outside is part of a growing trend of female-owned businesses in the United States. Data from the National Women’s Business Council reveals that there are currently 14 million women-owned businesses nationwide, representing 39.1% of all businesses and contributing $1.8 trillion to America’s gross domestic product annually. In Vermont alone, there are approximately 28,000 women-owned businesses.

As she set out on creating her new business, Messervy instinctively knew she could benefit from the wisdom of established entrepreneurs willing to share their knowledge and experience. So she joined the SBA’s executive-level training program, Emerging Leaders.

“Our program leader, Allan Rodgers, was an entrepreneur too, and he explained how it all works. He said we should set some guidelines for how to move forward. This really helped me.“

Now that she has … Messervy feels a responsibility to share what she has learned with others.

“As a business owner, I’m constantly learning. I’m constantly shaping and refining my vision. You have to be so many things when you own a business,“ Messervy said. “Most importantly, you have to have a vision, it has to be compelling, and you have to test it. Persistence and passion are probably the most important things for small business owners to have.“

If there is one piece of advice Messervy has for others interested in running their own business, it’s to surround yourself with other smart and passionate people who are committed to the company’s success.

“If there is one resource that I have that nobody else has in the world, it is my team,“ she said. “They are amazing ,and they’ve been with me all these years through thick and thin.“

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