Four Season Interest in Commercial Landscape

Using the Right Plants to Provide a Four-Season Interest in Commercial Landscape

While we can see an increase of interesting trends for commercial properties, there are still many sites with overgrown evergreen vegetation and a few pockets with annual flowers. Landscape enhancements can improve the appearance of these properties, including more than just a flower rotation when adding color. With the right landscape design, commercial sites can transform into beautiful spaces with plants that thrive in each season. 

Currently, with COVID-19 shaping the way we live and work, we recognize the importance of spending time outside. This especially relates to a workplace, where employees can benefit from spending time outdoors. Working in a natural environment allows for a connection with nature, therefore it is important to provide the right plants that will continue to provide attention through the whole year. The idea of all-season interest is to include the plants that provide ornamental attributes in one season and overlapping with another group that provides interest in the following season. Certainly, most plants display an interest in spring and summer, however, there are multiple plant options to make fall and winter attractive as well.

Spring and summer interests are known for providing showy blooms and interesting textures. After the winter is over, people want to see colors, so the earliest blooms are found in spring bulbs. The swaths of early-blooming daffodils and later drifts of tulips add a desired color to the landscape. We also like to use the spring-blooming ornamental trees, like cherry and magnolia to bring eye-catching flowers. Dogwoods and redbuds are also popular spring-blooming native trees that we use in commercial landscapes. When it comes to shrubs, many commercial sites are still covered with the popular old-fashioned forsythia, but we like to often replace it with native fothergilla and itea. These shrubs also offer a beautiful fall color.

By late spring, many trees and shrubs are leafed out, giving way to bloom. One of the popular shrubs in April and May is encore azaleas. There are multiple varieties of this relatively new species which provide a multi-season interest and require less maintenance than the traditional azaleas. Besides blooming in spring, encore azaleas rebloom in fall and stay evergreen through the winter. Another newly introduced plant that we have tried and can recommend is dwarf lilacs for late spring color and little lime hydrangea for early summer stunning flowers. In addition to shrubs, we like using the long-blooming perennials, like daylily, Russian sage, catmint, coreopsis, and late summer blooms like sedum, or rudbeckia. 

In fall, a must-have color comes from red maples, but also shrubs like nandina, oakleaf hydrangea, and spirea can provide beautiful fall foliage. In combination with ornamental grasses and fall-blooming perennials, they provide an outstanding mix of contrasting colors and textures. There also are a few plant options for winter interest. We often use a multi-season red twig dogwood with attractive red stems, winterberry, known for its bright red berries, and ornamental trees like paperbark maple, or river birch with peeling bark. Ornamental grasses still look beautiful and soft in winter, before they will be cut back in early spring.  

We all want to enjoy the outdoors and work in a pleasant environment.  By making a few changes to the property, it is possible to provide an attractive and thriving landscape with multiple interests throughout the whole year. 

Fall Preparations

PREPARING YOUR OFFICE PARK FOR FALL

The dog days of summer are sadly winding down. Be ahead of the pack and make the transition to fall a smooth one. Taking the time to think about your property’s needs and your own goals for the site in advance will make your life a bit less stressful – and hopefully making some time to seek out a hammock in the shade with a good book and beverage of choice!

First, you’ll want to think about your plan for fall plantings. This would include replacing your summer annuals with a cold-hardy display of pansies or violas. It is a growing trend to also add an installation of tulip and daffodil bulbs at the same time. This creates a huge pop of color in early spring and will really set your property apart. A big advantage of including bulbs in your plan is that they will come up year after year. A lot of bang for your buck!
In addition, now that it is cooling off, it is the perfect time to replace or add any other plantings. Shrubs and trees will thrive with the lowered temperatures and have an opportunity to get established over the upcoming months.

Plan a “walk” with your Account Manager to discuss any other ideas to enhance your landscape. Use their experience and expertise!  If there are projects you want to include, but there are budgetary constraints, it is the perfect time to get these items priced out and included in next year’s budget. Use the following 3 rules while completing your list: Aesthetics – How will this improve the appearance of my property? 
Function – Will this solve a problem? Correcting drainage issues are a perfect example of this.
Safety – Are there areas at your site that potentially will cause a safety issue? Site lines for vehicles, appropriate pathways, and dead or declining trees are examples of situations that could potentially cause harm to a person or property.

Various shrubs and grasses



Next, you’ll want to get aeration and overseeding scheduled for your property. Aeration and overseeding help your turf become stronger and denser. It helps fill in any bare or sparse areas and reduces weed establishment. In conjunction with your turf application program, aeration and overseeding give you the complete program to establish and maintain a beautiful green space.

Last, you’ll want to make sure you have your snow and ice management partner in place. It’s much easier to get these arrangements nailed down and contracts in place before the first ominous weather report! Creating a snow plan should include communicating with your contractor to establish exactly what your expectations are so things will run as smoothly as possible in the upcoming months.

Fall in the mid-Atlantic is a beautiful time. Spend a few minutes getting things together, and enjoy the season!

 

Welcome Donnalee Harman

Donnalee joined Chapel Valley in May of 2021 as a Business Development Executive. She has over a decade of experience in both operations and sales roles in the landscaping industry and prior to that 15+ years in client relationship management.

Her attention to detail, ability to work with clients to address their individual needs, and developing creative solutions to match, have been what has driven her career.

Donnalee is married and lives in Lovettsville, VA with her husband Jon. They have 5 grown children and 2 grandchildren. When not spending time visiting them, she enjoys traveling, wineries, and anything on the water.

Donnalee can be reached via email or her LinkedIn profile.

World War I Memorial

Chapel Valley began work on this project in the Spring of 2020 with completion in April of 2021.  The overall management of the project was very intense and complex due to many different factors.  Chapel Valley’s Senior Project Manager and Field Manager worked closely with out-of-state Landscape Architects and Soil Scientists to sample every load of material brought onto the site. The day-to-day activities increased in intensity as COVID-19  struck the country and everyone had to become accustomed to the new and ever-changing safety protocols for working on site. Additionally, frequently occurring political demonstrations and the presidential election of 2020 required complex logistical planning and last-minute adaptations.  Despite the intricacy of the project, Chapel Valley completed the work on time with expectations exceeded. We are proud and honored to be a part of a project that honors and celebrates those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Learn more about the project at the official project website.

Photo: World War One Centennial Commission

What Your Landscape Upkeep Says About Your Company

Perception matters, from the moment a potential client clicks on your website to the first time they walk into your building. The landscape that surrounds your business sets the tone for what they can expect from your business. A stellar impression of your company results in economic advantages as well as peace of mind for everyone interacting with your business. We’ve compiled a list of the many benefits of a strategically planned landscape: Read more »

5 Ways to Prep Winter Landscaping

If you own any type of property, residential or commercial, it’s time to face some bad news: It’s already time to start thinking about preparing your outdoor landscape for winter.

That might seem premature, but cold temperatures, snow, and ice will be coming sooner than you think. It’s a lot easier to take the necessary steps now than it will be when you’re fighting early storms. Read more »

Designing A Custom Residential Landscape Lighting System

Every homeowner dreams of having their own custom lighting system to display the landscape they’ve put a lot of time and money into. However, deciding exactly what you want can be challenging. By learning more about how we design a custom residential landscape lighting system, you’ll learn how you can help our teams design the right outdoor landscape for you should be achievable in no time at all. Read more »