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specific or broad landscape managementLandscape Management is the profession that designs, builds and maintains outdoor and indoor environments.  It could involve installing and maintaining lighting on your property.  Landscape management would cover irrigation and water effects as well.  This term is as broad as your landscape allows it to be.  

On a property with nothing more than a home and a lawn, landscape management can be a highly specific task, encompassing the use of a particular flower to ward away insects.  It can be as detailed as needed for the health and beauty of the landscape.

Landscape management can be much greater in scope with a landscape of cascading waterfalls, lighting and various trees, flowers and plants.  Landscape management on this property would cover all of those elements.

*Soil and soil structure are a key aspect in landscape management.  In this featured blog below, from the Chapel Valley website, soil is broken down ‘in depth’.

Commercial Landscaping Pros Breakdown Soil Tilth, Texture and Structure Basics

Commercial landscaping includes analyzing soil texture, structure and tilth. Although people often use texture and structure interchangeably, in landscaping, they mean different things. As such, it is best for business owners to have a general understanding of what those differences are and how they impact a landscaper’s decisions. We’ve listed a brief overview of all three concepts in today’s post:

Texture vs. Structure

Texture refers to the various materials used to make up soil and their respective percentages whereas structure does not. It is used to explain the order in which those materials appear in the soil and can be hard to change for obvious reasons. For example, let’s say that the soil has a top layer that is 75% sand and 25% of miscellaneous materials, followed by a thick layer of loam. The area’s texture would typically be classified as sandy loam. From a structural viewpoint, the sand layer would be listed first because of its order. The miscellaneous materials and loam would logically follow.

Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern Soils

Each area or region has its own, inherent terrain. Consequently, soil texture and structure vary throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern portions of the United States. Maryland, Georgia and Virginia have their fair share of clay. However, it is also common to find loam, sand, muck, gravel, silt and stone. With that said, the exact texture and structure of a given area’s soil is often determined by commercial landscapers through manual, laboratory or soil survey means.

A Tiny Peek at Tilth

As for tilth, it is used to describe the soil’s ability to permit plant growth as well as the ease of manual or mechanical manipulation. Despite being classified as a separate component for analysis, the soil’s tilth is dependent on its texture, structure and regional weather patterns. So in other words, all three concepts are interrelated and should therefore be treated as such.

What Role Do They Play?

When making commercial landscaping decisions, professionals will look at the three factors we covered in today’s post. Afterward, they’ll adjust the soil’s texture in ways that best benefit the area’s vegetation. For example, soil that has large amounts of sand may need to be amended with materials that will keep fertilizers and water from dissipating too quickly. Other areas may require the addition of plant-based compost or gravel.

To speak with an expert in soil tilth, texture and structure, please contact the Chapel Valley Landscape Company. We have been in the commercial landscaping business since the 1960s and are intimately familiar with all three concepts as well as their impact on our service areas’ growing seasons.

*Landscape management can be a very broad term, but the process can get very specific as you will see in this blog below.

Organic plant health care

Organic gardening has numerous benefits that you should seriously consider if you are planning to plant a garden this season. Whether you want to simply use a patch of land in your backyard or want to install a master garden that is environmentally sound, you can decide for yourself how to go about it or obtain the help of a professional garden designer and architect.

Transforming a dead area of your yard or rooftop into something healthy that is also spectacular to look at with lots of color is a dream come true. There is such a large variety available of landscape designs incorporating shrubs, trees, foliage, flowers, ornamental plants, fruits and vegetables that you can create something magnificent and totally your own individual choices as to contents.

Organic gardening continues to gain popularity as more people realize the benefits that minimize the environmental impact. It is the art and science of soil building, growing, conservation and pest management. For example, everyone wants the food served to their families to be safe and healthy. Growing organically is a way of taking control so that the foods you serve are full of good things and free of bad things.

Don't be the person down the street who uses chemical fertilizers on the garden and lawn, sprays pesticides, uses way too much water and does other applications with the thought that they are the right things to do. They are not.

Upgrading your soil quality, applying compost that you’ve possibly made yourself, and utilizing sustainable gardening practices will yield vigorous growth and bountiful harvests that will be the envy of the neighborhood. In addition, you will have peace of mind because your soil will improve naturally and you have also removed known carcinogens and other dangerous ingredients from the environment and from the yard where your children and pets play. Organic lawn care is safer for your family because you will no longer have a lawn full of poisonous sprays and harmful chemicals mixed in with the soil.

Try your hand at organic gardening if you want a hobby that will provide fantastic and enjoyable results. Follow the way our great grandparents enjoyed their garden and the way people raised food for thousands of years.

*Water management techniques are a significant aspect of landscape management.  See how saving rainwater benefitted this property in Arlington, Va.                  

Water Management with Rain Barrels

Spring is here and we are all watering our laws and plants. That means higher water bills, or does it? Watering plants does not automatically mean higher water bills, if you use some water management techniques.

Rain barrels are a great way to integrate water management into your landscaping. Rain barrels can be free standing to catch a few inches of rain water at a time, or can be hooked to your gutter downspout to catch gallons of rain at a time.

There are many types of rain barrels that range in price from a few dollars to hundred of dollars.

You can find a rain barrel that easily fits in your landscape, or just contact us and we will help you find the perfect barrel. We would suggest a rain barrel that captures at least 40 gallons at a time. Why so big? Well, one inch of rainfall typically generates about 600 gallons of runoff. So, a 40 gallon rain barrel at each downspout will capture plenty of water.

The rain water you collect is safe to water all your plants. It is free from the typical minerals and chemicals found in municipal water. You can even use it to wash your car or truck.

You can elevate the barrel so you can use a hose, or you can use a watering can and carry the water a short distance. We suggest you let us create a platform for your rain barrel that makes it seem part of your landscape. Then, you can use a hose and let gravity water your plants.

So, before your water bill is higher this summer, let us help you management your water with rain barrels that fit great into your landscaping. Or better yet, let us landscape around your rain barrel so it won't even be noticed.

*This blog below writes about two interesting aspects of landscape management.  Both help maintain a healthy lawn.  The importance of both are discussed as well.

Aeration and Overseeding

Aeration and Overseeding are two of the most important practices that can be done to maintain a healthy lawn. Aeration is performed to solve two problems: soil compaction and thatch.

Lawns naturally have compacted soil, and when it's loosened, the roots can plunge deeper into the ground to find vital water resources; this essential during times of stress. Thatch is the buildup of dead grass material that lies between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface; it accumulates when the turf produces organic debris faster than it can be broken down.    

By eliminating excessive thatch, the turf will be less vulnerable to pests and disease.

Overseeding is performed with aeration to fill in bare areas of the turf and to thicken existing turf. Excessive foot traffic, pet waste, environmental factors, heat, and lack of water are all factors that lead to the breakdown of grass. When this happens, your grass has hit its peak and needs to be replenished. When overseeding is performed, at least 6 types of turf type should be used.   

By doing this, the lawn has a better chance of resisting disease. Overseeding and aerating will also fight unwanted weeds such as crabgrass, nutsedge, and broadleaf. By having a lush lawn, the weeds have less of a chance to grow.

*As previously mentioned, landscape maintenance makes up a large part of landscape management.  See how specific tasks can truly benefit your property.

Commercial Landscape Maintenance in GA, VA and MD: Thatch Happens

Whether you do business in the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic, one thing is certain. Thatch happens. It is a complicated mixture of lignin, hemicelluloses and cellulose that sits on top of the soil’s surface, blocking a number of things from getting below ground to the plant’s root system. Sometimes it’s blocking quality is beneficial, like during droughts because it helps the soil retain moisture. Other times it’s harmful, like when the roots are desperately in need of fertilization. Consequently, thatch management is an integral part of commercial landscape maintenance.

How do commercial landscaping maintenance crews manage thatch? They start by addressing conditions that often lead to its build up. For example, aggressive application of fungicides, pesticides, water and nitrogen rich fertilizers will generally contribute to thatch creation. Soil that is acidic, compact, rich in clay and devoid of microorganisms will add to the problem too as will improper mowing. There are various ways to address these problems. They include, but are not restricted to the following:

  • Closely Monitoring Lawn Care Tasks (e.g. irrigation and pesticide application)
  • Frequent Soil Testing and Amending (e.g. add lime and earth worms)
  • Planting Thatch-Resistant Cultivars
  • Routine Core Aeration and Thatch Removal

    Thatch removal typically takes place every time the build-up exceeds one inch with some exceptions. The exceptions are during over-seeding, when the air temperatures are high, and the turf grass is under stress or already damaged. If the conditions are right, it is generally performed with thatch rakes and vertical mowers. It should also be mentioned that oftentimes, some thatch is left, especially in the summer months. This is done to protect the turf from drought, pests and disease.

    To learn more about thatch and what commercial landscaping maintenance crews do about it at different times of the year, please contact us at the Chapel Valley Landscape Company. Thatch removal and the other management tasks mentioned is all a part of our commercial landscaping company’s service plans.

*This blog from the Chapel Valley website looks at the commercial side of this critical aspect of landscape management: Irrigation Maintenance.

Maintain Your Landscape Stress-free with Commercial Irrigation Maintenance

With the commercial space you maintain, you want to make sure the landscape looks good at all times. To accomplish this, you need to invest in routine commercial irrigation maintenance, which guarantees that all of the plants, trees, and grass on your property get the water they need to grow and be healthy.

When you get maintenance on a regular basis, you do not have to worry about stressing.

Keep Sprinkler Heads Operating Optimally

Sprinkler heads can get pushed out of their ideal position by wild animals, people, or the environment, and moving them back into position is important to distribute water correctly.

Make Seasonal Adjustments

As seasons change, so do the watering requirements. For instance, when the upcoming season has a lot more rain, you might not need to rely on irrigation as much to maintain a healthy landscape.

It mainly involves adjustments to sprinkler heads, timers, and the amount of watering.

Provide Thorough Reports

When you get professional maintenance, you should receive thorough reports for each visit. It is vital to know exactly what you are spending money on in regard to maintenance and repairs.

Make Necessary Repairs

It is not uncommon for sprinkler heads to break, which brings proper watering to a halt. Irrigation maintenance services will ensure these sprinkler heads get replaced.

Fortunately, most irrigation systems do not require a lot of repairs, so there is no need to stress about repairs, especially when you are getting routine maintenance to keep everything in working condition.

Contact us if you are interested in receiving our services.

Landscape management is comprised of irrigation and all of its installation and maintenance needs. Landscape management involves landscape lighting, its installation and all of its needs as well.  It involves planting, watering, fertilizing, mulching and maintaining all grass, flowers, plants and trees.  

Hopefully, this featured blog sheds light upon the wide scope of aspects which Landscape maintenance involves. Also, we hope you have seen how specific landscape management can be. Basically, if it involves your landscape, it involves landscape management.

Schedule a consultation today!

6 landscaping trends you ll want to try in 2017Much like hairdressers know which bobs and weaves will be big this season, landscapers know which hedges and patio sets are poised to take off.

Every year, the National Association of Landscape Professionals gathers insight on consumer demand from its 100,000 members and marries it with research on lifestyle preferences and technological innovations.

The result is a report of trends reflecting what’s all the rage in outdoor living. Here are six of trending design ideas you may want to adopt in 2017.

1. Taking the Hygge Outside

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is a Danish concept centered around feeling cozy is transitioning outside. Now that temperatures are warming, the idea can still be incorporated in your outdoor space numerous ways. For example, consider installing a fire pit or a focal point where family and friends can gather. Swap out your picnic table for a circular seating nook that encourages intimate conversations. Look for water features that produce a soothing soundtrack. The right plants and lighting can also add to the ambience. The goal is to walk into your yard and feel like you’re getting a hug. After all, hygge comes from the Norwegian word meaning hug.

2. More Sophisticated Backyard BBQs

Gone are the days when a Coleman grill and a bag of charcoal were all you needed for cooking outside. In 2017, more homeowners will up their BBQ game with complete outdoor kitchens including sophisticated appliances. Think cooking under LED lighting and surround sound controlled by your smart phone. Baking with al fresco ovens boasting WiFi and grabbing a beer from a touchscreen fridge that uses cameras to take inventory of its contents.

If you can’t afford to drop $6,000 on a stainless-steel fridge, don’t fret. It’s easy to enhance your outdoor culinary experience with elevated lighting and something as simple as a more convenient prepping station. For example, use a bar cart instead the top of your cooler.  

3. Purposefully Pollinating

As the population of bees continues to dramatically decline in the double digits, homeowners are beginning to proactively look for ways to create pollinator-friendly gardens. For example, they’re shying away from the use of pesticides and are planting more nectar-producing plants to naturally attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. It also helps to incorporate birdbaths and other sources of water which pollinators need to consume more frequently and in larger quantities than other insects and birds.

4. Gardens in the Sky

To reduce urban heat and improve storm water management, Denver is considering following Toronto’s lead in requiring buildings of a certain size to have living roofs. According to NALP, the “green roof” movement is spreading, from city skyscrapers to stadium restaurants, double-decker buses and everywhere in between. This trend most likely started abroad. In Switzerland, more than 18,000 plants live on the roof of a metro station, and above the Arctic Circle there is a snow and ice hotel whose roof doubles as its garden.

Although most common in commercial spaces, this trend can be implemented at home. The easiest way is to start small, perhaps with a few plants or a small terrace. Or if you have the space and budget, install turf and invite the neighbors over for a friendly game of croquet.

5. Smarter, More Selective Lawns

Thanks to new, more efficient irrigation methods like dripping and the selective breeding experiments of turfgrass seed producers, lawns are getting smarter. In this context, a smarter lawn is a healthier lawn, often requiring less watering and maintenance. The best way to incorporate this trend into your yard is to talk with landscaping professionals who are privy to the latest developments and products.

Of course, if you prefer DIY, start with becoming familiar with your surroundings. Know the soil your climate produces and the native plants and flowers that require the least amount of nurturing and upkeep.

6. Greenery is In, and Outside

Every fall, designers wait with bated breath for Pantone to announce the color of the year. For 2017, the unofficial governing body of color theory has chosen “greenery.” So you can expect to see a greater emphasis placed on this yellowish-green and other shades that compliment it.

“Combining greenery of various textures and shades, such as a formal hedge of green velvet boxwood, a border of green lilyturf and dense Boston ivy-covered trellises, is just as impactful as a garden filled with a rainbow of colorful flowers,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NALP. Henriksen says if homeowners can only invest the time and/or expense into one trend, greenery is a good choice.

“It’s timeless and universal. It can be integrated into any yard or garden, no matter your location, size or budget, year after year.”

Schedule a consultation today!

Chapel Valley Landscape Company has performed an extensive array of landscaping services throughout regions of Maryland, Virginia and Georgia. Very few companies throughout the nation have been honored to complete the magnitude of commercial and residential services with which Chapel Valley has performed.

By treating every client as their highest priority, Chapel Valley ensures that their first impression will never be their last impression.

Skilled Irrigation Technicians are Needed in Areas of Nation as Demand Rises

May 2017 -  By Emily Schappacher

handling landscape irrigation for your propertyA lack of skilled technicians is taking its toll on the irrigation industry.

The struggle to find quality workers is hitting irrigation harder than almost anywhere in the green industry. Experts say companies are struggling to keep up with seasonal demands due to a significant shortage of skilled irrigation technicians.

“Labor is available,” says Scott King, owner of Preferred Building Systems, a water auditing and consulting company in Cape Coral, Fla., and president of the Florida Irrigation Society. “Skilled labor is what is very difficult to find.”

One reason for the shortage of skilled irrigation techs is the necessary level of expertise can take years learn, says John Butters, irrigation manager for Timberline Landscaping in Colorado Springs, Colo., and member of the Irrigation Association’s (IA) certification board. Most of Timberline’s technicians, whose ages average 41, started as laborers on installation crews and learned their expertise by working in the field for many years.

“It takes time and experience to become a good irrigation tech; it’s difficult to teach in a single season,” Butters says. “It also requires above-average smarts and pretty good math skills at times. You’re usually out there by yourself and are expected to be able to diagnose and repair any problem. It’s not for everyone.”

Additionally, many people entering the workforce don’t see the irrigation industry as a desirable field to enter, says David Hartzell, general manager of New Jersey Best Lawns, Sprinklers & Fencing. They also don’t realize how much money they can make. The full-service landscape firm in Lakewood, N.J., pays technicians between $35,000 to $75,000 annually. Hartzell adds that the winter weather keeps his techs out of the field from Dec. 1 to March 15 each year. The company needs 10 to 15 fully trained service technicians to operate each year, and losing even one causes delays in service and startups.

“There seems to be very little interest in the industry as a whole,” Hartzell says.

Another reason for the shortage of skilled technicians, sources say, is a decline in companies that focus exclusively on irrigation. Many companies now offer irrigation as one of their many services, and may assign the work to basic laborers they already have on staff instead of hiring and investing in skilled irrigation technicians.

“Thirty or 40 years ago, there were a lot of companies that just handled irrigation,” he says. “Now, you have large landscape maintenance companies that have absorbed irrigation into their work.”

Spread too thin

The shortage of skilled irrigation technicians is having a negative impact on the industry as a whole, experts say. Without knowledgeable technicians, systems are more likely to be installed and maintained improperly, resulting in water waste. Many drought-stricken areas of the country face severe water restrictions. Some places, like Florida, don’t have mandatory water use standards, which de-emphasizes conservative water use, King says.

“The irrigation contractor gets a bad rap these days because, quite frankly, most are not required to conserve water,” King says. “If your feet were held to the fire when it came to how efficiently you used water, then it would be more important to have skilled technicians. Until some standards are established, there is no incentive to improve what is going on.”

The lack of qualified labor has forced some companies to change the way they operate. For example, New Jersey Best has raised prices for new installations by 8 to 10 percent and now faces a 30- to 45-day lead time for new installs. Hartzell says the company has switched to Wi-Fi-based controllers to decrease the number of basic service calls and has begun to use flow sensors to detect leaks so systems can be shut down remotely.

Butters says his technicians not only do service calls but have property assignments as part of annual maintenance contracts. They are responsible for winterizing, spring startups, weekly equipment checks, repairs, the initial programming of the irrigation schedule and adjustments to that schedule throughout the season.

“(Our technicians) have a lot to do, and there is almost always a sense of being spread a little too thin,” he says. “I think our techs do a great job, but it always seems like we could use a couple more. You can’t just go hire another one because they aren’t there.”

Educational efforts

Industry organizations, manufacturers and distributors are trying to offset the technician shortage by providing education and training.

For example, the IA offers a certified irrigation technician (CIT) exam so field employees can gain more knowledge. The IA’s Irrigation Foundation supports technicians through its scholarship program. It also has worked with the IA’s professional development department to offer college students an academic track for the CIT exam and the certified landscape irrigation auditor designations.

Additionally, each year the Foundation hosts the Irrigation E3 Program during the Irrigation Show & Education Conference. The program provides education and experience to irrigation students and faculty members. The Foundation also holds Faculty Academy each summer, a train-the-trainer program designed for agriculture and landscape irrigation educators to learn and take their knowledge back to the classroom.

According to IA data, 123 irrigation professionals passed the CIT exam, and 23 students and three faculty members participated in the Foundation’s E3 program in 2016. The IA also notes that 99 percent of its members say certifying irrigation professionals is important for the irrigation industry, and 94 percent say their company recognizes the value of hiring IA-certified professionals.

“We feel there is room for growth in all of our certification and education programs,” says John Farner, IA government and public affairs director. “We need to ensure that our workforce is educated and trained to not only meet the needs of the market, but also to ensure there is enough water for irrigation for future generations.”

Groups are making efforts on the local level, too. Through the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado’s Landscape Career Pathways Program, Timberline Landscaping has partnered with a local high school to teach students skills that will allow them to be job-ready upon graduation. The curriculum at Falcon High School in Peyton, Colo., is expected to begin during the 2017-2018 school year. It aims to connect 15 to 20 high school students with the landscape irrigation industry through work/study programs and internships. While programs like these are steps in the right direction, Butters isn’t convinced they are enough to produce the number of skilled technicians needed.

“It’s not happening quick enough,” he says. “We need to force the issue a little more and devote more time and resources when we recognize ability in an individual. It’s hard to substitute or duplicate years of experience, but maybe we can do a better job of taking advantage of training and educational opportunities to speed up the process.”

Like Butters, many professionals believe that the future of labor in the irrigation industry is all about training, and needs to start with individual companies investing in their current employees. By making training a priority, companies may entice their irrigation techs to gain the knowledge and know-how to be valuable assets for the long term.

“I think every company has to do the best they can and figure out where they are going to get the training,” King says. “If a trained irrigation tech knocks on your door and wants to work for you, take advantage of it. They’re in high demand right now.”

Schedule a consultation today!

*This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns.

Question:

I’m planning to sell my single family home in North Arlington this year and it seems that in my neighborhood, homes with great landscaping sell for top dollar. Our sale price justifies an investment in our lot, so I’m curious what the Arlington homebuyer demand from landscaping and if there are certain types of landscaping that offer the best Return on Investment.

Answer:

landscaping for resale and current trendsEvery spring I get a lot of landscaping questions and like to bring in my friend Jeff Minnich of Jeff Minnich Garden Designs to update Arlingtonians on what homeowners are doing in their yards and provide cost-effective tips for investing in your exterior for resale.

Enjoy Jeff’s expert response to this week’s question:

In Arlington, homeowners take great pride in their gardens. Our temperate climate is such that we can enjoy our gardens for the majority of the year. Over the last 15 years, there has been a trend toward extending the interior living space seamlessly into the outdoor living space–outdoor rooms, kitchens, fire pits, play areas, fencing, to name a few.  The desirability of a well-designed garden space is a solid investment, and attractive to potential Arlington homebuyers.

Most people involved in the landscape industry have seen a surge in business the last few years, as the economy recovers. This year is particularly busy.

There are really two kinds of investment in a home and garden: doing what will bring pleasure, enjoyment, and ease to day-to-day life in the home; and doing what might add value to the property, if resale is in the cards.

When preparing to sell a home in Arlington, it is important to remember that many buyers have the means and desire to put their own personal stamps on their new homes and gardens. Therefore, I always recommend concentrating on safety items, tidiness, and color.

Fix that uneven sidewalk or replace rotten wood on the deck. Fix gates. Replace the burnt out bulbs in your outdoor lighting system (lots of potential buyers drive by and have a look at night, too). Have the windows cleaned and check the exterior paint job, particularly the front door (yes, these items are part of the outdoor landscape, too). Power wash the house, sidewalks, patio, deck, driveway…make sure your hardscapes sparkle.

Weed, re-edge and mulch the planting beds. Remove old/dead shrubs and trim existing ones. Look up into your trees–does a tree or branch look dead or precarious? Have a tree professional look at it. Potential homebuyers do notice these things. Cut the grass and make sure your lawn is not full of blooming dandelions! This one item can be a big turn-off.

Finally, finish the job by adding some flowers to windowboxes, pots, and beds. Remember, you cannot take back that first impression–the outside of your home is the first thing potential buyers see before walking through the front door, and it can often make or break a sale.

Once new homeowners get settled on the inside, they start to ponder what to do in their new gardens.

The most common request from new homeowners is a master landscape plan, which is a great starting place so they can prioritize, then phase, the work they’d like to do, all within a broader vision.

Safety issues should be addressed quickly–items like unstable walks or decks, handrails; and the often boring, but absolutely necessary, issues like grading, drainage, and where to put trash cans.

Fencing is a relatively quick and easy project to prioritize early on, and fences can give instant privacy, keep children and pets in the yard, and define a space. Nice fencing is particularly attractive to potential buyers with these concerns.

Outdoor living spaces are the next most-desired items, and these often involve building. It’s always a good idea to start with hardscapes–patios, sidewalks, decks, porches, walls, outdoor kitchens, etc.–and end with softscapes–plants, lawns, lighting, irrigation–as construction is messy and, try as they might, workers can still damage plants and surrounding areas.

Privacy from fencing and thoughtful plantings can screen unsightly views and enclose outdoor spaces.

Those interested in safety might find low-voltage outdoor lighting desirable. Outdoor lighting opens up the garden for nighttime use, too, and can be used to highlight architecture, specimen plantings, or specific pieces within the landscape.

For those who often travel and have very busy schedules, an irrigation system is a must. It really takes the edge off watering duties, yet should never 100 percent replace a discriminating eye and hand-watering intervention when gardens get really hot and dry.

I often say my outdoor lighting gives me the nighttime and my irrigation system gives me freedom, so they are very valuable to me.

Beautiful plantings are the icing on the cake and tie everything together. Much of North Arlington is blessed with large shade trees — a big reason potential buyers consider North Arlington — and lush evergreen and deciduous underplantings help potential buyers imagine living in these outdoor spaces.

Without a doubt, garden projects that define and enclose personal outdoor spaces–things like fencing and nice gates, patios and seating areas, and beautiful plantings–are items that not only increase the day-to-day enjoyment of the homeowner, they greatly increase the value of the property, as well.

Schedule a consultation today!

spring showers yield summer flowers
*Water Management is a practice that involves a lot of criteria.  Collection methods can have tainted water, but systems are used to collect pure rainwater that can be used to benefit your landscape.

    April is a bountiful month that brings out the rubber boots, rain showers and seasonal blooms.  It’s also a great time to have a conversation about rain water collection.

   There are many states that regulate how, where, when and why residents may harvest rainwater. Virginia is one of them, Maryland is not. So, at Chapel Valley Landscaping Company, our water management & commercial irrigation team takes into account those differences when performing work for clients in those respective areas.

    For example, in Virginia, there are strict guidelines on which catchment surfaces may be utilized in rainwater harvesting systems. The guidelines were established to address the natural acidity and man-made impurities that often find their way into the state’s rainwater.

   As such, rooftop capture systems generally do not include asphalt shingles and toxic tars. Instead, they traditionally rely on slate or metal. Slate and metal roofs have several things going for them in terms of water management utilization.

    They are non-porous, non-toxic, flat materials that facilitate water flow with minimal loss and zero leaching. Thus, the rainwater that lands into the collection system will be fairly pure but not pristine. After all, there are many things in the natural environment that may potentially foul rainwater too. That’s why some water management systems also employ what’s known as pretreatment devices (e.g. first flush diverters). Of course removing natural impurities will not alter the water’s acidity.

    Scientists widely put the acidic level of rainwater at around 5.0 or slightly less. So it is not harmful but will obviously help alter the pH level of some other materials it comes into contact with (e.g. potting soil). Understandably, that will need to be taken into account when deciding what to do with the harvested rainwater. To learn more about rainwater collection and the finer points of water management systems available in our area, please contact us at Chapel Valley Landscaping Company today.


*Water management can be complicated with aws affecting the collection methods.  However, it is good practice when done correctly.  Always follow the rules in your area because essentially, those rules are actually for the benefit of your landscape.

Schedule a consultation today!

three reasons you may need a landscape architect 1

“How to Find the Right Landscape Architect for YOU…”


*Face it, why take a chance on a landscape architect who isn’t from your area? Small changes in weather patterns may not seem significant, but your plantings surely notice everything, as they are constantly exposed to the outdoor elements.

Experience should also be an enormous factor when choosing these professionals for the many reasons listed below.

Whether you are a homeowner interested in improving curb appeal or a business owner who wants to make a good first impression with customers, choosing the right landscape architect for your needs is important. The National Association of Landscape Professionals estimates that there are over 450,000 landscaping services companies in the United States--with so many to choose from, here are some helpful questions to consider as you search for a landscape company.

Commercial or Residential Experience (or both)?

It helps to know what kind of customer you are and what type of experience you are looking for in your landscape architect. You can get the best of both worlds by finding a landscaping company that has experience in both commercial and residential projects. A well-rounded portfolio of projects is a good indication of quality, professionalism, and high service-level standards.

Help with Back-End Services Available?

Wouldn't it be nice to work with a landscape architect who can help see your project through from initial design to final implementation? Not all landscaping services companies have the bandwidth to help clients with the contracting process, project management, and property maintenance after design is complete. However, it is a nice a benefit and may save you a lot of headaches to work with a company that can help with these services.

Regional Expertise?

Look for landscaping companies that have a history of working in your region. This helps not only with selecting the right plants and materials for your climate, but also means that the company will be readily available to help answer any questions you may have in the future about your new landscape.
Picking the right landscape architect does not have to be a daunting task. Thinking about your needs and asking the right questions will help you identify a vendor who exceeds your expectations.
Chapel Valley Landscape Company has a long history of creating award-winning landscapes in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC region--contact us today to learn more about how we can meet your needs on your next landscaping project.
Schedule a consultation today!

Schedule a consultation today!

“Three Reasons You May Need a Landscape Architect”

*This February article by the Chapel Valley team of landscaping professionals goes into detail as to why utilizing a landscape architect is always a positive solution for an outdoor project.
It even explains the most suitable plantings, which will thrive in our area. The article even gets detailed as to why a property could use specific plantings for reasons such as shade or wind protection as well.

Chapel Valley enjoys informing business and homeowners about the awe-inspiring transformations that can be accomplished on virtually any property.  Their passion is unlimited; their work is unimaginable.

Whether you just moved into a new home or you have lived in the same house for years, if you are considering changing your outdoor space, you might be wondering if you will need the assistance of a professional. While you may be able to make small changes to your outdoor space, if you are considering any larger changes, you will likely want the assistance of a landscape architect. If you are still unsure if you need the help of a landscape architect, consider if you fall into any of these three situations.

There’s Too Much

It is nice to have a beautiful yard full of trees, flowers, bushes, and other plants, but there is such a thing as too much. Maybe you have overgrown bushes in front of your windows, or you have trees in your front yard that seem to have taken over the whole yard. Maybe you are even concerned that the trees' roots will soon cause foundation issues. Perhaps there just seem to be flowers and plants growing all over your yard with no real pattern or design behind them. You may even have a certain plant or flower that seems to be taking over your yard, killing off everything else. A landscape architect can help with many of these issues by designing a beautiful outdoor space for you, an area that will be aesthetically pleasing rather than feeling like it was just thrown together.

Too Plain

The exact opposite problem of having too much in your yard is not having enough. Maybe you have moved into a newly built home that has not yet been landscaped. With the help of a landscape architect, you can change your blank canvas outdoor space into a wonderful outdoor area. Of course, landscaping is about more than just the flowers and other plants in your yard. After your yard makeover is complete, you could have other outdoor features, such as fountains, benches, retaining walls, and beautiful walkways. Even if your yard is partially landscaped, if it would never win a “Yard of the Year” award, you could benefit from the help of a landscape architect.

Another issue some people face when they have limited landscaping is a lack of privacy. This can be fixed with the proper placement of trees, bushes, walls, and other landscaping. According to the Department of Energy's website, well-designed landscaping can also provide energy-saving benefits. Well placed trees alone can save a family up to 25 percent annually on energy costs.
In our area, summer energy-efficiency goals include maximizing shade and tunneling summer breezes toward the house. During the winter, the goals are to maximize the sun’s heating power while deflecting winter winds. Of course, water efficiency is also important to achieve high energy-efficiency for your home. A quality landscape architect can help you create landscaping that is ideal for your home's energy-efficiency needs.

You Are Not Sure What Grows Best

While it is important to plant trees and bushes to properly shade your home and to provide windbreaks, landscaping is about more than just shade and windbreaks. Some trees and plants grow better in specific climates. If you are unsure what grows best in our area, you may end up with plants that do not do well in our region. One way to avoid this problem is to focus on plants that are native to our area. Here's a list of some plants native to the Mid-Atlantic Region:

Black-Eyed Susan

The Black-Eyed Susan is more than just the Maryland state flower. Native to the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains, these flowers grow throughout the summer and can reach 2 to 3 feet tall. The Black-Eyed Susan can grow in full to partial sun. Because Black-Eyed Susan's will reseed and spread, they work best in an area where they can spread without invading on the space of other flowers.
Eastern Redbud
Native to a large portion of the Eastern United States, the Eastern Redbud is a great tree for adding color to your landscaping in the early spring. That is when the tree produces its beautiful pink flowers. It can also be used to provide shade throughout the summer, whether for your home or simply to create a shady area in your yard.

Trumpet Honeysuckle

The trumpet honeysuckle is native to much of the Eastern United States. It has one to two-inch tubular flowers, which bloom in early summer. These flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making this vine a great addition to landscaping for anyone who enjoys watching birds and insects fluttering around their yard. Because the trumpet honeysuckle is a vine, it grows well over a fence or along another structure where it can spread out and flourish.

Wild Hydrangea

The wild hydrangea is also native to much of the Eastern United States. The flowers are creamy white and begin to bloom in late June, lasting throughout most of the summer. The plant may grow up to three or four feet tall and can be cut back significantly in the fall. While the wild hydrangea grows best in partial sun to shade, it can do well in full sun if it is given enough moisture.
Of course, there are many other plants that will do well in our area. A quality landscape architect can help you find the right plants for your specific landscaping needs, plants that will grow well and provide you with the beauty and energy-efficiency you desire. Contact us to learn more about creating the best landscaping for your home.

Schedule a consultation today!

“Entrust Your Outdoor Kitchen to a Landscape Architect”

*This recent blog by the Chapel Valley team explains the beneficial and long-term effects of using a landscape architect for your hardscape feature, the outdoor kitchen.

Safety, privacy, quality construction and many more reasons why using a landscape architect for your outdoor kitchen are explained in great detail. Even the visual elements of lighting are discussed.

One of the hottest outdoor patio trends, especially in areas that have frigid winters, are outdoor kitchens. These are the "must have" luxury features of upscale DC and Maryland living. By creating a cozy, sheltered outdoor living space that can be used year-round, this is an investment that not only increases the value of a home but elevates the quality of life. But there is more to creating an impressive and functional outdoor kitchen than simply arranging furniture on a covered patio and setting up a grill. Here are the reasons why you want the expertise of a landscape architect.

Technology:

It seems that every day innovative designs are replacing what we thought was the latest and greatest thing. This can be said for the technology used in outdoor kitchens as well as smartphones. From the latest masonry techniques to the most modern outdoor cocktail station, a professional landscape company is current on the most modern technology that will improve and enhance your luxury outdoor lifestyle.

Surface Safety:

A skilled craftsman understands the fine details of creating a surface that will feature texture to improve safety yet also is smooth enough to prevent tripping over tile edges while walking about with plates of food and drinks in hand. The right surface design also makes it easier to scoot chairs under tables. Starting with the right foundation is essential to success in virtually every undertaking in life, including the construction of an outdoor kitchen.

Privacy:

Enjoying the great outdoors also means exposure to prying eyes. For outdoor kitchens in urban and suburban areas, creating an outdoor space that preserves privacy is a must. The purpose of an outdoor kitchen is to escape the confines of a home. Why ruin this goal with retaining walls that only re-create the feeling of being indoors? This is why living privacy screens, or green walls, have become so popular. For year-round privacy and effective coverage, a professional landscape architect has the knowledge to select evergreens that are hardy enough to withstand the rigors of plunging temperatures. You can enjoy your patio pleasures year-round in the sanctuary of a private, outdoor space.

Patio Layout:

Landscaping is not just about flowerbeds and decorative shrubs. Often, an outdoor space will feature potted plants that define separation between the patio and garden area. These subtle barriers allow for smooth transition between a sheltered outdoor patio and the actual exposed green space beyond. A professional landscape architect will have the eye of an artist. Who wants an outdoor space simply lined with pots all in a row displaying the same variety of vegetation? Fine outdoor living deserves texture and variation of color that is pleasing to the eye, mimicking the biodiversity of nature.

Kitchen Garden:

A private herb garden is the perfect accompaniment to an outdoor kitchen. Delight the culinary hobbyist in the household with a nearby garden feature playing host to fresh basil, chives, marjoram or oregano. Even shrubs can be more than just decorative. For instance, there are varieties of Rosemary hardy enough to survive harsh winter weather. What could be more delicious on a kabob skewer than an entree seasoned with garden fresh herbs? Delight guests with iced tea or mojitos that have mint plucked right before their eyes. Imagine relaxing before bedtime with a cup of herbal tea crafted from lavender freshly harvested. A landscape architect can design a culinary garden that is as fully functional as it is beautiful.

Lighting:

Don't underestimate the skill of a landscape architect as being limited to stone, flora and fauna. Designing the perfect lighting features to complement nighttime outdoor entertainment and romantic patio evenings are all elements of a professional landscape designer's expertise. Lighting needs go far beyond the function of illuminating a path for safe travel through hours of darkness.
Lighting also serves to create a desired mood. A landscape professional is experienced in arranging outdoor lighting features that are perfectly suited for the relaxed ambiance of garden evenings. Festive rope lighting, chandeliers, landscape spotlights, soft path lighting, all work together to create an aura of outdoor living that can be safely navigated and gently enjoyed even on a moonless night. It is easy to appreciate the kind of expertise that can design illumination perfection. However, when extreme weather strikes and garden lighting systems continue to work flawlessly, a new appreciation for landscape professionals is discovered.

Simplicity:

The enjoyment of outdoor living pleasures, particularly dining, speaks of a return to a simpler life with a bit of indulgent luxury. Quite often, this desire is inspired by an awareness of how green spaces affect the human psyche, improving quality of life by reducing stress. Appreciation of green spaces also denotes an awareness of how important it is to respect and preserve the nature which surrounds us and supports us. Garden landscaping that features high maintenance design is counter-intuitive to all of these personal elements. A landscape architect experienced in sustainable design can increase the visual impact of an outdoor kitchen landscape while at the same time minimizing negative impacts upon the surrounding native environment. Specialized green services can provide organic maintenance of plantings, introduce insects that are beneficial, design a rainwater collection system and install irrigation systems that conserve water with low-flow features. Selection of native plant species to incorporate throughout flowerbeds and patio urns results in an eco-friendly environment that is naturally accustomed to local seasonal changes. In short, sustainable design contributes to the simplicity craved by those who enjoy an outdoor kitchen.

Enjoyment:

Even an avid gardening hobbyist can appreciate the services of a professional landscape company. In addition to the initial investment of creating the perfect outdoor living space is the ongoing maintenance to protect this initial investment. Oversight by certified horticulturists is invaluable when you consider the innumerable plant species that exist throughout a landscape layout and the varied conditions and needs of individual plants. Rather than fret and worry over your garden, enjoy it. Entrust seasonal pruning, fertilizing, snow and ice management and removal of those pesky weeds to professionals.

Winterization:

Perhaps the greatest service a professional landscape company can provide for a prized outdoor kitchen is winterizing all features in order to protect them throughout the worst that Mother Nature can throw at them. Water lines should be drained properly, appliances will need special attention, cabinet surfaces will require protective treatments and appropriate covers will be necessary for certain features. Proper winterization to preserve your investment is a tall order that is best undertaken by professionals who are experienced and properly equipped.
To design the outdoor kitchen of your dreams, or to partner with professionals for ongoing maintenance, please contact us. As nationally recognized, award-winning experts, we are the leaders in the industry of luxury outdoor living and have the talent, skill and qualifications to manage your project successfully.

Schedule a consultation today!

“Working with a Landscape Architect on your Important Renovation”

*You obviously respect and value your property if this article is of interest to you. Do you want to know the most difficult step through this entire outdoor transformation process?

The answer is picking up the phone and calling Chapel Valley’s team of dedicated landscape professionals. We make the landscaping process enjoyable for property owners, as they see life breathed into their landscape.

If it is time to upgrade your existing outdoor space, consider taking advantage of the cooler weather to get the work started. Perhaps you are a non-profit, with a large public area in need of development.
Maybe you are in need of more than a landscape design. If you wish to develop an extensive outdoor space, it may include management of storm-water run-off and drainage, elevated walkways, and bridges. Tell us about it. Would you like to include water features or a park or even a green roof on a structure? Consider us. Chapel Valley has developed distinctive, award-winning landscapes that have been the hallmark of the company's commitment to creativity, quality, and service.

Implement Your Vision

Perhaps you see your outdoor space including buildings and hardscape features along with beautiful plants, trees, and shrubs. You might need more than the services of a landscape designer, you may need to consult a landscape architect.

The National Building Museum says, "Landscape architecture encompasses the design of almost anything under the sky. Think of iconic places like Boston's Emerald Necklace and the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C." Our portfolio includes significant areas you might drive by daily if you are in the Bethesda/D.C. area. "Also consider your downtown square, your local park, or even your own backyard. Green roofs, urban farms, and corporate campuses—all define landscape architecture."

We understand the importance of your time and your project. We early on provide you with a rough timeline for how long the project will take and what it will cost. Our architects oversee construction project management as we begin with the concept stage and follow through while construction begins, and walkways and other hardscape features go in place. The architect will guide our experienced landscape designers along familiar paths as the work progresses, keeping within budget and within code.

Working With Our Architects

Whatever your architectural need, rest assured that our landscape architects can design the perfect renovation or installation for your space. Our experienced architects practice state of the art technology as they work with our professional landscape designers to plan and install the perfect upgrade or development for your particular need. Our portfolio demonstrates our multiple successes of project development and installation.
Enjoy the ease of working with professionals at Chapel Valley Landscape Company. Take advantage of cooler weather and rejuvenated employees. Let's get started on your development project now. Contact us.

*Using a landscape architect does not mean that you have to leave all creative inspiration to a company. Chapel Valley thrives upon utilizing the property owner’s vision and ideas, then producing a flawless outdoor environment together.

Working as a team is a philosophy Chapel Valley uses within their own business and through the work they perform for you.

Schedule a consultation today!

chapel valley helps out versability resources in norfolk va
*Proud members of the Chapel Valley Landscaping team used some heavy equipment and skilled labor to transform the landscape for this special home.

On March 9th, Chapel Valley Landscape Company leant a generous hand to VersAbility Resources to perform a complete landscape renovation on a home which houses the disabled.

With roots going back to 1953, VersAbility Resources, an organization that hires and provides housing for the handicapped, is a regional leader in advocacy for people with disabilities.  Versability Resources proudly embraces their mission statement:  "We envision a world where people with disabilities enjoy dignified, productive lives of their choosing as fully accepted members of Society".  

VersAbility Resources makes a difference in the lives of the people with disabilities who they serve. Partnerships through employment and the generous donation of time and resources, which Chapel Valley has offered, is an important element to this nonprofit’s ability to thrive and change people’s lives.

Founded in 1968, Chapel Valley is a full service exterior landscape company defined by unmatched design qualities, installation and maintenance for residential and commercial properties.

*For details on how you can assist in enriching the lives of the disabled, contact Sarah Bowman at (757) 896-6462 or sbowman@versability.org.

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landscape architects natures visual artists 1Enter any showcase home and you will be delighted with fine art displays, paintings on the walls and sculptures upon pedestals. As you stroll through each room of impeccable interior design, you will also feast your eyes upon select pieces of furniture that are also considered works of functional art: a Louis the XIV bureau or Carlo Bugatti writing desk. The work of artists can even be seen in the glassware and dinnerware that frequent the cupboards and dinner tables of luxury homes. Should this grand display of artisan craftsmanship cease the moment you step outside into the garden? Not at all. That is because the most tasteful homes understand that a landscape architect is also a visual artist.

The Craft 

When a garden becomes the canvas, it is a tribute to the talent, skill and knowledge of the landscape architect who brought a green vision to life. It is simply not enough to know the identities of plant species and what their care needs are. A professional will have a keen eye for the flow of natural movement, geometry, plays of color upon texture, and how unnatural function can blend seamlessly with nature. The talent of an artist must also partner with the skill of a craftsman to understand the mechanics of lighting, electricity, water, and plumbing. Knowledge of engineering comes into play, sketching out plans and selecting appropriate materials. The final product of a landscape architect's palette of abilities is usually not just a garden. Stroll through any landscape entrusted to the skills of these professionals and you become immersed in a themed outdoor environment. Every flower tells a story. Each tree serves a purpose. Every stone takes you to a specific destination in the real world as well as in your imagination. 

The Maze 

In the mid-16th century the phenomenon of European garden mazes were launched. During the Renaissance era, women of the aristocracy were prescribed by their physicians to engage in the gentle exercise of perambulation. For fine ladies who resided on modest estates that lacked acres of garden pathways, intricate mazes made the most of smaller spaces, permitting them long, healthy walks that were not boring. Massive mazes on large estates were gathering places for fun-lovers as well as those simply out for a dignified stroll. Mazes that date back for hundreds of years can be enjoyed by everyone today when visiting European homes of the old nobility that are open to the public. In modern homes that feature traditional design, decor and architecture, a box-hedge maze feature is quite natural.

Cottage Garden: 

Lush plantings, natural ramblings of greenery and winding pathways all work together to create the relaxed ambiance of the cottage garden. If a home is fortunate enough to have large grounds, this type of garden offers the opportunity to introduce amazing diversity of color and texture through mass mixed plantings. A stroll through a cottage garden is a delight of surprise as you round a corner to find bursts of bright colors and a mixture of delicate floral perfumes. Even more interesting will be the discovery of woodlands creatures making themselves at home. Listen to the chirp of tree frogs or be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a cottontail scamper across the path ahead.

Water Features:

There is no arguing about the fact that water belongs in every garden. No matter what a garden theme may be, a skilled landscape architect will integrate a water feature that perfectly complements the design. Perhaps a classic water fountain as a focal piece or a waterfall as a woodland component. Winding streams with curved bridges to pass over and gaze at the water below are a favorite that hearken back to ancient Japan.

Alcoves & Hide-Away's:

Pergolas, gazebos and arbors are all favorite places in any garden. When the sun is shining bright and hot it is nice to slip into the coolness of the shade of an open shelter that permits a cool breeze and full view. Protected alcoves are snug and cozy outdoor hide-away's for communing with nature during inclement weather. There is no need to expect such shelters to seem out of place, unnatural eyesores in an outdoor environment attempting to mimic the wilds of forest and meadow. A landscape architect understands how to blend the silhouette of a man-made structure with the line and hue of the surrounding landscape.

Grand Entries: The visual impact of entry into the garden, or to direct focus on a specific feature, takes the skill and talent of an experienced professional. Such wow-factors don't happen by chance. Doorways, gates and turns in the path should all beckon the spectator, urging them onward to further exploration in the garden. Framing entries and pathways in such a way titillates the observer, leaving them with a feeling of expectation, wondering what the next curve in the path will reveal, what unknown delight is hidden beyond. And there should be vistas that are absolutely breathtaking.

Relationship:

When selecting a landscape architect to manage a design and transformation project, consider that such a project is perpetual. Gardens and landscape environments are works of art unlike paintings and statuettes. Whereas the visual art that hangs upon walls or adorns pillars and pedestals will only require a bit of dusting from time to time, the visual art of nature requires routine maintenance and specialized care. Who better to maintain every component and element of your outdoor gallery than the company that designed and created it? When you partner with a professional landscape company to beautify the outdoor environment of your home, you are entering into a long-term relationship. Choose wisely. Choose a company with a reputation not only for expertise but also for strong, on-going support of their clients' needs.

If your grounds are in need of a transformation or skilled management, please contact us. Our award-winning designs speak for the talent and skill of our landscape professionals. Let us design, create and maintain your personal oasis that is as near as your own back door.

Schedule a consultation today!

how hiring a landscape architect could actually save you money

Many of us have an idea of what we'd like our yard to look like. If we just buy some plants that we like and set them in the ground, maybe with some advice from a clerk at the local garden shop, we will have a magazine-worthy outdoor space built with our own two hands.

The reality is a bit different. Unless you are truly an expert in horticulture and design, your outcome may vastly differ from your expectations. In the end, hiring a Landscape Architect could actually save you money.

A Landscape Architect will help you avoid costly mistakes and spot potential issues, like slow drainage or problematic sunlight patterns, before you start planting. They know the best plants for your area and conditions and how they would work with other features in your yard. They can also protect your investment by avoiding plants that may not thrive in your particular soil or sun conditions.

Their vast knowledge will come in handy not only in choosing the right vegetation, but the right structural enhancements like retaining walls. An experienced Landscape Architect may have connections in the industry and negotiating know-how to get you the best price on plants and design elements such as paving stones or a fountain. They also have the experience to know what truly makes your space the most convenient and functional for your family and it is their job to make sure to stay on budget.

Ultimately, the right Landscape Architect can provide you with a beautifully designed outdoor space that you can enjoy for years to come while saving you money, time, and aggravation. If you'd like to discuss how our designers can help you, please contact us today.

Schedule a consultation today!

how to hire a landscape architect

For those looking to complete a landscaping project on their property, hiring the right professional architect for the job can often be challenging. Aspects such as budgetary restraints, experience and the type of project can all have an impact on finding the most qualified landscape architect to employ.

Analyze your Own Values

Your own values can have a major impact on the type of landscape design you choose as well as how you would like to see it implemented. Hiring a landscape architect who has similar values often leads to the production and completion of the project you had originally visioned and more. According to houzz, "What do you value? Get clarity on your values so you can find a landscape architect who shares them and has an aligned design philosophy. Do you value high-end design and upscale materials? Native plants and drought-tolerant gardens? Edible landscapes? A funky, playful garden space for your family? There is a landscape architect out there who specializes in what you value, and your best bet is to find that person or company."

Interview Several Possible Candidates

Put together a short list of potential candidates and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your project in person on-site. In this meeting discuss the scope of the project and aspects which may qualify them for the project. Qualifications may include experience with a similar type of project in the past, references from previous clients and their overall portfolio. Another method of narrowing down candidates is to ask for a reference from a friend, family member or co-worker who has hired a landscape architect in the past.

Be sure to contact us at Chapel Valley Landscape Company should you have any questions about hiring the right landscape architect for your project.

Schedule a consultation today!

grand illumination 2016 in richmond vaThis year, check out the event Grand Illumination 2016, being held at the James Center in Richmond, VA on Friday, December 2nd from 5:55 to 7 p.m.

Start off the holiday season with a bang by seeing the downtown office buildings light up! Also, be sure to check out the brand new 46 foot tall LED tree that will be featured this year.

Family entertainment will include:

  • The RockNRoll Chorus
  • VCU’s Pep Band: The Peppas
  • Richmond Boys Choir
  • The American Youth Harp Ensemble
  • And Much More!

Check out full details on the James Center website and also on the Richmond Time-Dispatch.

Hope to see you there!

winter landscaping preparations to make

Save yourself the agony of defeat come next spring with these helpful ideas to prepare your landscape for the winter season.

The following tips below will have your yard ready for the warmer weather following this winter:

  1. Overseed Lawn
  2. Compost Leaves in Yard
  3. Remove Annuals
  4. Mulch Perennials
  5. Prepare & Monitor Compost Pile

Check out the full article here on winter landscape prep.

Schedule a consultation today!

three winter landscaping architect green ideas

The Washington D.C. area is known for mild winters with little snow, and redirecting storm water from southern hurricane weather can be an ongoing reason to hire a landscape architect. However, if you think that the only other thing a landscape architect is working during the winter is an elaborate holiday lighted displays, prepare to be surprised. In this article, there are three green projects conducted by landscape architects that are ideal to start in the fall or winter instead of summer or spring.

Why winter is the best time for certain green ideas that involve landscape architects

Landscape architects are specialists in making your property’s outdoor area run optimally. For example, when you have a septic tank on your property, it is important that you do not plant certain types of trees or shrubs too close their drainage pipes, and a landscape architect helps facilitate gardening projects like these. In addition, landscape architects are pros at helping with various types of environmentally friendly landscaping projects, and this has gained a focus because America is becoming more savvy about reducing their carbon footprint. Interestingly, in the winter, it is easier for landscape architects to undertake certain types of drainage and water-saving projects.

Why you need to go green by directing storm water

If you want your home to be a solid investment for the next century, paying attention to the foundation is crucial. Naturally, if the foundation of your home starts to lose integrity, the roof and walls could collapse. Thankfully, the solution to this issue usually involves getting some gutters installed on the roof, but where that excess water goes after it is no longer threatening the foundation of your home is becoming a focus that requires a landscape architect.

What to do with extra storm water in winter

When you already have a set of gutters in place around your home, the conversion to collecting storm water is easiest. In many cases, a landscape architect can help you figure out the best place on your property to install a cistern or rain barrels. It is important to work with a professional landscape architect for the rain water collection project especially if you have a homeowner’s association or limited space. Once the rain barrels are installed, property owners can later use the water for outdoor plants in the summer. On top of this, there are often rebates available for homeowners that keep water out of the storm drains.

"Well done Chapel Valley Landscape Company making world beautiful & natural"

Why collecting storm water is in vogue

You may have heard that there is a rebate program for some homeowners that install rain water collecting units. The reasons these programs are so incredibly popular in certain communities and not others points to a city sewer issue. Instead of paying to upgrade or expand sewers, municipalities save money by paying homeowners to keep as much storm water out of the drains as possible. With the help of a landscaping architect signing off on all of the required paperwork, grading terrain and creating a holding space for excess rain water will often give homeowners access to rebate programs.

Starting a turf-free lawn project in winter

Another project that is ideal for landscape architects to begin in the winter is drastically changing the surface of your current lawn. For example, you may have learned about the new turf-free lawns and how they save water. There are also programs popping up in urban areas throughout America that want property owners to remove excess concrete to allow the ground to absorb storm water (instead of sending it rushing into the city’s ill-equipped storm drains).

Reducing the “heat island” effect

One of the latest green ideas is to reduce the overall heat of a city by getting property owners to help combat the “heat island” effect. The key way to do this is to remove black top. The second idea is to not replace it or add something lighter-colored that is porous like white quartz gravel. Of course, landscape architects are ideal for these types of projects since buildings can shift if concrete is removed without supervision. Along these lines, a landscape architect can spend time in the winter ensuring your home has practical curb appeal with the right renovations after the concrete or black top is taken away.

Let us help your landscape go green

At Chapel Valley, we have helped business property owners and homeowners throughout the Washington D.C. area have a landscape they can be proud of. Whether you are looking for drainage solutions, masonry, fountains, green lawn ideas, or simple maintenance services, we are the landscapers you need on your side. Thank you in advance for choosing us for your commercial and residential landscaping services, and we look forward to meeting you.

Schedule a consultation today!

6 considerations when choosing a landscape architect

Landscaping will enhance any property and choosing the right landscaping to give it just the right look takes a bit of creativity and landscaping savvy. Choosing the right landscape architect is essential for any building project, whether it is a new project or an update or revival to an existing project.

Let’s discuss six things to consider when choosing a landscape architect.

1. When to Hire a Landscape Architect: A landscape architect is necessary when the project must comply with municipal or state rules, regulations and ordinances. Typically, a landscape architect will be necessary when a drawing endorsed by a licensed landscape architect is a requirement. If retaining walls are part of the landscape design, the walls will need to be designed and approved by a landscape architect or civil or structural engineer, depending on the type and height of the wall.

Sensitive Design Issues: A site that has sensitive issues such as working in a floodplain or protected wetlands or perhaps altering a public right of way may require a plan with a landscape architects endorsement. Regulations that go along with such design intricacies will often be more stringent.

2. Experience: It is important to choose a landscape architect that has local experience, especially if municipal zoning, planning and construction regulations are involved. Quite often, the landscape architect will have to work with municipal officials in the permitting process and the process will be more efficient if the landscape architect has a working knowledge of the regulations. It is important their experience includes working on projects similar to yours. A landscape architect will always have a portfolio of their work to show perspective clients and they will be willing to provide references upon request. Review the portfolio with the landscape architect and ask about design features that may be eye-catching or similar in-goal to yours.

3. Professional Licensing: Always choose a landscape architect that holds a valid and professional license in landscape architecture. That assures clients they have the necessary education and experience to do the job. They have demonstrated their knowhow and expertise about landscape architecture including selection, installation and management of landscape materials.

4. Good Communication: A sign of a good landscape architect is they listen to your desires for the project. Their input will prove invaluable when it comes to the final design, as they will be able to translate your ideas into a project that is manageable, within budget and construction worthy. The nicest landscape design in the world is useless if construction proves to be difficult.

5. Initial Meeting: Meeting the landscape architect in person is essential in the choice process. Ask the landscape to describe their work and philosophy behind their design methods, as well as their background. That will give you an idea of their approach to landscape design. This type of conversation will help establish trust between the client and landscape architect.

Site Meeting: It is important the landscape architect visit the site for an initial site inspection and discussion about the goals for the project. It is at this meeting where the landscape architect will be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing the landscape architect. It is important both sides be flexible to some degree to help establish a positive working relationship.

6. Budget: Be realistic about the landscaping budget and put that number on the table during the initial discussion. Most reliable landscape architects will be candid about your budget and the design features they can include for the cost. A reliable landscape architect will never try to up sell the project for a bigger slice of the pie.

For more information about landscape construction and working with a landscape architect, please contact us and speak with one of our landscape professionals.

Schedule a consultation today!

how a landscape lighting designer can help you design the outdoor lighting for your business

If you have never thought about hiring a landscape lighting designer to assist you in planning the outdoor lighting for your place of business, it's something that you should consider. Although you might have never really thought about the importance of your outdoor lighting, it can have more of an effect than you probably think. These are some of the reasons to consider hiring a pro to assist you in your outdoor lighting design.

Minimize Energy Use While Maximizing Lighting

As a responsible business owner, you might always be looking for ways to reduce energy usage within your business. Not only can this save your company money, but it can also help you operate a more sustainable business.

Outdoor lights can use a lot more energy than you probably think, but a professional can help you maximize lighting while reducing energy use. For example, you can find out how to use solar lights whenever possible and how to position your lights so that you don't need as many of them but can maximize the lighting that you and your customers can enjoy.

Make Your Business Look Its Best

No matter what type of business you operate or what your property might look like, proper lighting can help it look its best. Carefully-placed lights can make the outside of your building really shine and can also put a spotlight on things like your signage, your landscaping and more. It's the perfect way to give people a much better impression of your business when they drive by or pull up.

Think About Safety and Security

As you might already know, having ample lighting on your property can have a big impact on the safety and security that you, your employees and your customers can enjoy. Ensuring that there is ample lighting near the entrances to your building can help prevent break-ins, vandalism and other crimes.

Ample lighting on your walkways and near your parking area can also have an impact because they can make employees and customers feel a lot safer and more secure when they are entering or leaving your business.

Enjoy State of the Art Lighting

There is a good chance that you don't know about all of the outdoor lighting options that are available for you at your place of business. However, working with a professional can help you take things up a notch past your traditional motion lights and spotlights so that you can enjoy state of the art, beautiful and modern lighting for your business.

Make Lawn Care Easier

Cutting your grass, getting rid of weeds and otherwise taking care of your landscaping can be hard work. If you don't place your lights properly, it can make it that much harder for you -- or your landscaping crew -- to take care of your property.

If you work with professionals who are accustomed to both lawn care and outdoor lighting, however, you can get ideas of how to place your lighting so that it does not get in the way when you or your crew are taking care of your property.

If you are like many business owners, you might not think much about the lighting outside of your place of business. However, you should consider putting a little more thought into it. Even though it might have never crossed your mind to hire a professional to help you with your outdoor lighting planning and placement, it can be worthwhile to do so for these reasons and more. If you would like to hire a professional to help you, contact us at Chapel Valley Landscape Company. We can also help you with your other commercial landscaping needs as well.

Schedule a consultation today!

consider a natural curve for your landscape design

Nature is filled with many natural curves. These curves can benefit your landscape design ranging from patios, walkways, retaining walls, flowers, shrubbery, and tree placement.

There are many great ways to design a yard. One should use the natural curves of their existing landscape to their advantage. Your landscaping will appear natural and not "forced."

More ideads regarding natural curves can be found on Houzz's article.

 

Schedule a consultation today!

bio swales and their place in your water management system

Have you found stagnant puddles breeding bugs on the grounds of your business? Does your parking lot empty its stormwater runoff directly in to a storm sewer that backs up and dumps oily water right back on your customers? Or maybe you bought property for your new commercial establishment and want to start your water management system out right? You will find that you have many ways of dealing with stormwater runoff, but not all of them are right for your property. Bio-swales, however, just might be a good choice.

What Is A Bio-Swale?

A 'swale' can have four meanings, but they all have to do with depressions in the ground that catch water. The type of swale we're talking about here is shallow ditch that is made to carry stormwater runoff and snow melt away from places like parking lots. A bio-swale (sometimes called a vegetated swale) has sides that slope gently and plants, compost and/or rocks filling it. It catches pollutants from the water and either neutralizes them or holds them out of the sewage system. This protects the local watershed and mimics the natural filtering actions of the environment, which is why it is considered a low-impact development.

Benefits

We are big fans of bio-swales. They improve the local water, give natural habitats to wildlife, and stabilize stream flows from runoff. You can also find them beneficial to your business.

1. They're pretty. Whether you are running a hotel, a housing community or a store, your customers will appreciate the vision of natural beauty on your grounds. It makes parks, resorts and hotels welcoming, and encourages shoppers to slow down and enjoy your goods.

2. Reduces money spent on infrastructure. If you run a park or similar enterprise, you will appreciate that bio-swales cost less than underground pipes. They reduce the cost of grading and clearing your land, and they cut down on the erosion that stormwater causes. We can make them out of existing drainage ditches, and they are easy to install from scratch.

3. They are incredibly easy to maintain. They need no fertilizer, only seasonal trimming and very little watering. You should check the soil infiltration yearly, but the really important act as far as maintenance goes is monitoring the amount of debris and silt that the bio-swale is catching. We can clean it out for you, and you will find it easy to clean out yourself.

Designing Your Bio-Swale

When we put in bio-swales, we have quite a few things to consider in order to make it really fit with your property. The most important are:

1. Slope. The National Resource Conservation Department recommends a side slope no steeper than 3:1, or less than 5 percent. This keeps the water flowing at a reasonably slow rate that won't uproot the filling in the swale and encourages the water to filter through the soil at more than one-half inch per hour.

2. Size. A bio-swale's biggest contribution to cleaning runoff is its ability to deal with all the little rains throughout the year, but it needs to be able to deal with big storms, too. You have to make sure it is big enough to handle 4.3 inches in a day.

3. Filling. Generally, native plants are hardy enough to suck up pollutants such as fertilizer runoff, pathogens, and lead. Thick, heavy grasses are particularly good for filtering. This doesn't dismiss the beauty and utility of gravel and compost fillers, mind. It's just that deep-rooted native plants are the preferred way to go.

4. Shape and Placement. The swale will ultimately empty out somewhere. We want to make sure it starts in the right spot in the treatment train and ends somewhere far away from your buildings.

We would also need to take into account the soil type, groundwater table, and the dimensions of your property. Bio-swales don't work well where the groundwater table is high since the soil won't absorb the stormwater, and they really work best in areas that are less than 10 acres. If you have a really large property, we can put in more than one.

Chapel Valley Landscape Company prides itself on its holistic approach to water management, and we would love to see if a bio-swale is right for your property. If your think your business could use one, let us know and we'll come out to check for you.

Schedule a consultation today!

Chapel Valley Donates Landscaping Services to The Salvation Army

Chapel Valley donated landscaping material and services to the Salvation Army, in support of BOMA’s (Building Owners and Managers Association) Baltimore’s Annual Day of Service.

The Salvation Army requested assistance in converting a boarding home into a women’s shelter. The home was in need of extensive landscaping; Chapel Valley provided the design, plant material, mulch, stone, and initial clearing to prepare the property for the Annual Day of Service.

On Friday morning, July 18th members of BOMA Baltimore were led by the Chapel Valley team to perform basic grounds maintenance, install plants, and remove trash.

After several hours of hard work, the exterior of the woman’s shelter was completely renovated. "Chapel Valley provided the plants, labor, and went above and beyond our expectations,” said Eric Mueck, Executive Director of Regional Resource Development & Marketing. “What they accomplished in just a few hours will last for many, many years.” 

is a rain garden right for your commercial establishment woodbine md chapel valley

Water management for a commercial establishment requires a holistic approach. You want it to do more than introduce water where it is needed and take it out of places where it isn't. It should give your business a classy look and save you from dealing with stormwater runoff.

A commercial irrigation technique we like to use for dealing with stormwater runoff is creating a rain garden. It's catching on in urban areas as a means of preventing flooding and giving businesses a lush, relaxed look. It adds water to local aquifers, too, and that aids everyone. If you are interested in adding one to your business landscape, read on.

What Is A Rain Garden?

Rain gardens are planted depressions that are designed to absorb rainfall and stormwater runoff, along with the excess nutrients that come with them. In the US, the EPA calls them a 'low impact development,' and encourages them as a good way to deal with runoff. An entire yard can act as a rain garden if you have it made with water runoff in mind. Landscapers plant them with perennials and native plants that can withstand extra moisture and will act as natural filters for all the water it collects.

Planning Basics

We have done quite a few rain gardens, and we know each business has different requirements. Some of the commercial irrigation basics we will be considering are:

1. Location, location, location. Just as with real estate, picking the right spot for your rain garden can make or break a landscape. You need to place it in a sunny spot where it will catch the most runoff, but not too close to foot traffic or your building. You will want to place your garden away from utilities, building foundations, and septic systems.

The biggest factor in all this is how well the soil on your property drains. If your yard doesn't have anywhere with good, permeable soil, some of it will need replacing with a mix of compost, topsoil and sand.

Another point about location is its placement on a slope and the drainability of the soil. Slope affects how well a place drains and the direction the water, not to mention how it looks.

2. Size. You will frequently see rain gardens with a surface size about 5 to 10 percent of the impervious surface that is generating the runoff. This is just a guideline, though. Each landscape has its own demands when it comes to size, and we would want to survey your whole property before deciding on your sizing needs.

3. Depth. Most rain gardens need to be about 4 to 8 inches deep in order to deal with the storms we get in Virginia. The depth really depends on the surface area, though. The idea is to get rain water to spread out in a thin layer so that the ground absorbs the water evenly.

What Plants Will Go In The Garden?

Any variety of native and perennial plant that can handle moisture extremes will go in your rain garden. The grasses and flowers will give your lawn a dazzling beauty mark if you pick them right. Some good suggestions made by the National Resources Conservation Service:

  • Columbine
  • Canada goldenrod
  • Bluewestern goldenrod
  • Nodding onion

Will It Require Maintenance?

You have a business to run, so you probably don't want to spend hours taking care of a rain garden. We can do the heavy lifting for you, and they don't really require much work anyway. After the first year, the plants won't need any watering, and the only addition to the garden anyone needs to make is shredded wood mulch to keep out weeds and retain moisture.

If a rain garden sounds like a good addition to your commercial property, contact us. We have a highly-trained staff that will answer any questions about rain gardens and their impacts on water management.