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snow removal planIf 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.

There are basically five steps you’ll need to take:

Winter Landscaping Step 1: Snow Removal Plan

It’s good to have a snow removal plan in place now because you’ll get the best pricing and accommodation if your contract is locked down early. Snow and ice removal can be handled in several ways, and you’ll probably want a combination of services. Salting is generally considered the safest and most effective way to clear paths, but you should keep in mind that relying too heavily on salt can damage your landscaping by changing the salinity of the surrounding soil. You don’t want to sabotage yourself for next spring.

Winter Landscaping Step 2: Outdoor Lighting

Make sure your landscape lighting will stand up to snow. That may mean upgrading simple stake lights, or at least supplementing them. People are often going to work and heading home in the dark during winter, so this is a safety issue.

Winter Landscaping Step 3: Hardscapes

Hardscaping such as walkways and patios can be damaged both by the freeze/thaw cycle and by the salt and chemicals used to clear snow and ice in the winter. You can prevent some of this damage by covering concrete or pavers with specialized sealants to minimize chemical burns and water absorption.

Winter Landscaping Step 4: Plant Beds

Annual plants won’t hold up to winter’s chill no matter what you do -- that’s why they’re called annuals. But you can preserve as many perennial plants as possible by ensuring that your plant beds have enough mulch, which will regulate soil temperature over the wintertime.

Winter Landscaping Step 5: Trees

If your trees have any damage, they’re likely to develop frost cracks when it gets cold. You may be able to save them by getting special treatments and wraps that are designed to promote wound healing. It’s worth taking care of your trees in the winter; properly placed landscaping provides windbreaks that can cut down on heating costs.

Have you talked to your commercial or residential landscaping company yet about choosing a snow removal plan and getting your outdoor space ready for winter? Join the discussion in the comments.

is a rain garden right for your commercial establishment woodbine md chapel valleyWater 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. 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 slope placement 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 rainwater 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.

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. Who needs a landscape architecture firm, right?

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 architecture firm 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 also the right structural enhancements like retaining walls. An experienced landscape architecture firm 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 architecture firm 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!

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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 residentiallandscape 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.

Consider Indirect Ambient Lighting

Although some may take pride in lighting up their entire property for the entire world to see, an indirect approach focused on the dim lighting of certain areas on your property can often be much for effective and luxurious. You can take your outdoor lighting beyond simple utilitarianism. Lighting inset into your outside walls can splash color across your home and create ambiance in your nighttime relaxation spot.  You can draw attention to architectural elements on your home with overhead lighting that points down toward them. Or you can give the appearance of moonlighting with hidden lights in your trees or other landscaping features to highlight your landscape flourishes.

Consider Motion Sensor Lights

Motion sensor lights have a number of advantages. This includes security, convenience, and energy efficiency. Lights which are motion activated have an automatic shut off time, preventing a waste of electricity. Also, motion activated lights are perfect for an evening stroll around your property to light the path. As a security measure, motion sensor lights are bound to scare any potential thief and also alert you to their presence. Lights which are meant for security purposes are best placed around the perimeter of your home close to entrances.

Consider Solar Lighting

Solar lights are the easiest type of lighting to install because they don't require connecting a cord to them underground. If you live in an area where sunlight is relatively constant throughout the year, solar lights can provide a reliable source of lighting year round.

plant health care tips for the increasingly warmer weeks ahead baltimore mdIntense sun and hotter air temperatures undoubtedly have an effect on plant health care. So, with the warmer months approaching faster than an outbreak of spring dandelions, we couldn't help but want to share a few plant health care tips with all of our valued, Chapel Valley Landscaping Company’s customers in Maryland and Virginia. Let’s start with a look at one of residential and commercial landscaping's most basic tasks, watering.

As the temperatures heat up, it is important to keep the soil from drying out unnecessarily. Therefore, we often recommend that our customers use potting mixes for potted plants and raised flower beds that have moderate to high moisture retention properties. The amount of moisture needed will clearly depend on plant selection. In our experience, it is also a good idea to water the plants early in the morning to counteract natural evaporation from the wind and sun.

Periodically treat the plants with nutrients too. It will help them make it through stressful periods (e.g. droughts) in much better shape. If you want to go green, consider getting those nutrients from compost or bokashi bins. Most people know what compost bins are but they might not be familiar with bokashi bins. Unlike compost bins, they partially rely on fermented grains to accelerate the breakdown of other organic matter. The fermented grains used in the bins are sold commercially but may be made at home with a mixture of brewing or baking yeasts and water.

Timing is also everything when it comes to lawn mowing, edging, pruning and other activities that involve removing parts of the plant. Doing them at the wrong moment could leave the plants vulnerable to the harmful effects of the elements. To learn more about warm weather plant care and set up a consultation, please contact us 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 into 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 a 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 of a Bio-Swale

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 you think your business could use one, let us know and we'll come out to check for you.

Schedule a consultation today!

The Best Planter Pots on the Block

Large planter pots make quite the statement when placed on sites with little to no space for landscaping. Implementing large containers with an assortment of overflowing flowers is eye-catching and can serve as a great focal point for your commercial site.

Believe it or not, there are rules to designing planter pots. You need to use flowers that look good in a pot (opposed to the ground), thrive under the same conditions, and have a tasteful color palette.Despite how great large planters look, plenty of things can go wrong. Here are some tips for creating the best planter pots on the block.

The right plant material for planter pots

There are a few things we keep in mind when choosing the right plant material for your pots. The most important aspect is environmental conditions; we use plants with the same water, soil, and sunlight requirements. Using plants that are cohesive will ensure a successful pot.

Space is another thing to consider. Plants will change shape as they grow. They will look very different a few months after they are installed. We don't want your planter to look overcrowded, so we choose plants that won’t compete with one another.

Distinct Planter Pot Textures

We use lots of color and texture to make your planter stand out.

Color is huge when it comes to planters; the more, the better! Mixing bright and subtle colors, does an excellent job of attracting people’s attention. Instead of using different hues of one color, we add a variety of colors that work together.

There is a variety of flowers and leaves with textures that are waxy, shiny, fuzzy, or prickly. When we use multiple textures, you won’t have to worry about your plant material blending and looking too much alike.

The planter pot recipe: filler, spiller, and thriller

You will always have an exceptional planter when we use this simple three-ingredient recipe: filler, spiller, and thriller.

Fillers are good for adding mass to the overall composition of the planter, they also add a textural contrast or colorful counterpoint. Examples of filler plants include begonias, coleus, impatiens, Persian shield, plectranthus, heliotrope, and dusty miller.

Spillers are excellent for creating a “waterfall” effect. These plants cascade over the side of the container, softening its edges and giving a more natural look. Some great spillers are: alternantheras, bacopas, golden creeping Jenny, helichrysum, sweet potato vines, or callibrachoa.

Thrillers are the star of the pot; they are tall, drawl the most attention and are typically vertical (upright). These typically have the most outstanding qualities.We often start planter pots with the thriller in the center, and build around it. Examples of exceptional thrillers include: fuschsia, canna, purple fountain grass, taros, calla pennisetum, or phormium.

Self-Watering Planter Pots

Using self-watering planters give your plants a better chance of looking good all season long. They also dissolve issues related to moldy roots or plant disease. Self-watering planters reserve water at the bottom of them, allowing the roots to soak up water when needed. This is very helpful in the summer, when the heat index is high.

dont forget about sprucing up virginia and marylands green roofs in spring richmond va Like all forms of landscaping, green roofs need attention. Some people don't know what work has to be done or even how to maintain their green roof. If you don't know where to start with your green roof or need some advice, check out a few of our tips. 

Green roof Check-Ups

Over time, your green roof needs to be monitored to make sure its living healthy and full. For instance, the beds may be full of dead vegetation and compact soil in desperate need of aeration. It may also be time to add new plants and make soil amendments or replace that rain sensor disk.Take note of the challenges of having a green roof. It's good to notice the issues before they become problems. 

PErform soil tests for your green roof 

Many of our in-house experts like to perform a soil test before taking care of those amendments and plantings we mentioned earlier. It helps to ensure that the green roof’s vegetation will have a fighting chance to survive another rough summer or last until fall. A soil test is the best way for you to know the health of your green roof. 

Spring Cleaning for your Green roof

Spring is also the ideal time to head up on to the roof and perform an inspection of the plants that remain. It’s a great way to root out any plants that didn’t make it through seasonal dormancy without sustaining damage. If you’re looking forward to having a green roof that’s bursting with color, spring is an excellent time to add more sedums. They tend to thrive in rooftop environments and produce a variety of colors in time for summer. Some of the sedums, like the blue spruce, Dragon’s blood, kamtschaticum and immergrunchen will stay colorful all year. 

To have a team of professionals tend to your property’s green roof this spring, please contact us at Chapel Valley Landscaping Company. Our customized maintenance plans cover everything from in-house irrigation, soil conditioning and stabilization to plant selection. Commercial and residential clients are welcome.

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First impressions are powerful. They quickly determine a person's feelings. Think about it for a minute. If there are two people to talk to at a party, do you talk with the one standing in the corner scowling with their arms crossed, or do you talk with the person who is smiling and animatedly talking? The vast majority of us would talk to the more inviting person and not go near the scowling one.

The same is true of businesses. First impressions determine if a person will park in the parking lot, walk into the business, and stay long enough to do business. A business needs commercial landscape management to maintain the appearance of the property. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant, a store, or a church. If the building gives off a first impression similar to a scowling person, then most people will avoid the building.

If you own a business, what can you do to give a great first impression? The first step is to contact a commercial landscape management team like Chapel Valley. We understand the importance of first impressions and are committed to giving your business a great look.

Let us consult you about a renovated look. Our business makeovers are handled by our expert team. See how well we are at commercial landscaping. Not every project is a full-scale remodeling. We can provide simple solutions, such as adding new plants, repairing walkways, and rearranging surrounding objects. Here are a few areas we will focus on:

  1. Parking Lot. A parking lot is the first place where your customers step foot. Let us show you how to improve your lot and make it presentable for everyone stopping by. Our experts love adding low-maintenance plants and decorative pots to help make the parking lot stand out. Our commercial landscape management team is fully equipped to handle any project.
  1. Walkway. Do your walkways have cracks and dents? We don’t want to see your customers trip and fall. Let us use pavers and other stones to create the perfect path for your business. Have your customers walking freely and easily to your front door. Call our commercial landscape management team to get the best results that you won’t regret.
  1. Building space. Make a lasting impression with your business' appearance. Let us create an inviting and appealing look for your professional setting. Stand out from neighboring properties with our bountiful choices of plants and flowers and our wide selection of radiant colors. Create an impression that is both pleasing and slick.
  2. Hiding. Do you have those eye-sores that you can’t get rid of like Dumpsters and gas meters? Keep your appearance looking incredible with help from our team. Look at our fencing options and plants to help conceal those nuisances.

Is your business's exterior not looking how it should? Need some advice on how to make it better? Just contact us and let us have your business looking top notch. Let our experts come by and assist you with tips and tricks on how to make your property eye-catching and inviting. See how well we are at commercial landscape management.

Worried that maintenance will keep you from focusing on your business? No worries! Our management team will have all maintenance covered so you don’t have to. Let us water the plants, keep the soil fertilized, take out the weeds, and more. Keep your business successful while we keep it looking fantastic.  

prevent problems with snow plowing services for your vacation rental property

As a business or commercial property owner, worrying about snow and ice management is likely on the end of your master work list. There are, after all, more pressing matters for you to tend to on a daily basis.

For some business owners, managing snow and ice is only a pressing matter for a few months out of the year. But it's during those few months that their worry should be at its highest. The day that they wake up to 6 inches of snow, and they have no way of removing it, they'll wish they had planned better.

We recommend not being like those unwitting business or property owners. Instead, take an active role, and put a plan in place before winter weather strikes. Trust us, you'll be happy that you did.

Here are 10 reasons to hire and rely on a snow and ice management company this winter.

1. Dependability: Snow today, gone tomorrow. When you put your trust into a snow and ice removal contractor, your worries melt away. A company that you can trust, built on service and integrity, helps you rest easy when it snows. It's service you can rely on.  

2. Health: Snow and ice removal is back-breaking work if you try to do it yourself, even if your property has just a walkway. If you are attempting to remove snow and ice from an entire lot, you better own a truck. Don't own a truck? Hire a professional to do it for you and protect your health.

3. Prioritization: Not worried about half of an inch of snow? Then forget it. Only interested in snow removal if it reaches 2 inches? We can do that. When you hire a snow removal contractor to handle your Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC area business or commercial property, you decide when we help you.

4. Liability: An excess amount of snow to contend with is a dangerous encounter for the average person. When you leave your lot or entrance uncleared, you run the risk of someone falling and filing a lawsuit. Hiring a snow and ice removal management company to remove the snow from your property means less worry for you, and no fear of lawsuits.

5. Experience: There are a lot of companies that offer snow removal service, so it's no wonder that one bad experience can put you off. But when you hire an expert with years of experience removing snow and ice and working with property owners, you will wonder why you waited. 

6. Protection: Concrete and blacktop might appear as tough as nails, but upon closer inspection, you'll discover tiny pores dotting its surface. These pores absorb water, and when the water freezes, it can damage the surface. A professional snow and ice management company can cater to your needs, and use calcium chloride instead of rock salt, saving you money in the long-term.

7. Equipment: The average property owner might have a few items to manage snow and ice, but these things really only work when you have time and can actually manage the workload. When you hire a snow and ice management contractor, they'll come with all the equipment needed to manage even the biggest job.

8. Promptness: If there is snow in the forecast, we'll know it before you do. It is our business to stay on top of any major weather events. It's this promptness that you can rely on when snow hits our area.

9. Time: For the most money-conscious property owners, the concept of hiring someone to do a job doesn't sound like savings when they can do it themselves. But trust us when we say, the time you save not managing what Mother Nature throws at us is time you can spend elsewhere. That's money in the bank.

10. Tranquility: Knowing that someone who you can trust is on the job when the weather acts up, is peace of mind that money can't buy. Hire a snow and ice management company this season and experience a worry-free winter.

Ready to talk more about how we can help you manage the snow and ice this winter? Please contact us today to discuss our rates. 

turn pros snow removal 

With the winter coming, it's important to have a plan in place for sidewalk snow removal. When you own a business, having your sidewalks clean is an important part of winter clean up. You should always have a cleared sidewalk, not only for your own safety, but also for the safety of others. 

WHY USE A PROFESSIONAL?

It is important to use a professional to help with your snow and ice maintenance because they will be able to plan. Professionals will have experience dealing with snow and will use the best products, tools, and methods available.

When working with a company, you should always make sure they understand what chemicals work best, what products you'd like them to use, and how to effectively and safely clear your sidewalks. Additionally, using professionals will help to save you labor during the winter months.

Plus, removing the threat of you or your employees possibly falling or getting injured benefits you and your business.

WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE SNOW REMOVED

Especially in today's day and age, you should always make sure your sidewalks are clear. This is not only beneficial to you, but also to your customers. By keeping your sidewalks clean and your place of business clean and dry, you can help to avoid costly slip and fall accidents.

This is particularly important if your business has an older clientele. Older people are more at risk of falling, and when they do fall, the chances of it being serious and possibly fatal are much higher. These types of accidents can occur no matter what you do. But by keeping your sidewalks clean in the snow, you'll help to lessen the chance of it happening to you, your employees, or your patrons. 

HAVING A PLAN

Additionally, you should use a company with the experience of having a plan in place. This means that they understand the past weather patterns to help move forward, planning all year, finding the best times and days to do snow removal. If, for example, your business doesn't open until the afternoon, it will allow flexibility of getting the job done.

Having a plan also means that when you work with professionals and there is an impending snowstorm, you can work together to develop a strategy on how best to deal with the threat of snow and ice. By having professionals set up a plan, they will use their past experience and knowledge to figure out what works best for you and your individual needs.

No two businesses are alike and therefore, you shouldn't be treated the same regardless of your individual needs. A plan that is developed specifically for you and your needs means that during those winter months, your business will be taken care of.

Using professionals allows you to know that you'll get quality work and service. Additionally, you'll have the best team to help strategize on how to deal with the snow, especially if there are severe winter storms that require additional work. By keeping your sidewalks clear, you will not only make your business safer for you and your employees but also for your customers. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us.

Water ManagementWe’re heading for what’s shaping up to be a wet end of the year. Now’s a great time to assess your water management needs and make decisions for what tactics you’ll pursue for next year. With that in mind, we’ve got a few suggestions for how you can augment your water management strategies.

Pick Your Water Management Tools

Technology has brought a great many improvements to many areas of water management, and one of the upgrades is irrigation systems. Coupled with water-saving measures, such irrigation is beneficial for keeping landscaping bright, lively and colorful with a maximum of efficiency and a minimum of human effort. Irrigation is designed to deliver the proper amount water without waste, which is especially important during drought conditions.

Watering by hand, while effective, will result in about 50 percent water waste through evaporation and runoff. Automatic water management systems can be programmed to run during times when evaporation rates are low. The environment will also benefit from proper watering rather than over-watering to compensate for water loss.

Two types of irrigation systems include drip emitters and spray heads.

Drip Emitter Irrigation Systems

A drip irrigation system directs water into the root system of plants. This water management method eliminates loss of water through runoff and evaporation. This type of commercial irrigation system is facilitated by using drip emitters attached to a water source. The emitters are located on the ground and typically arranged in rows. The drip emitters are connected to a water source by a drip hose or the emitters are built into the hose.

Drip emitters control the volume of water delivered to a plant in a slow and measured manner. Because the emitters are located on the ground and close to the root of the plant, the water will be absorbed into the ground more efficiently and be more effective with its objective. In hot weather, water delivered through drip emitters will be less likely to evaporate before reaching its destination. A well designed and installed drip commercial irrigation system will eliminate water waste because it produces no or very little runoff.

As the area of vegetation grows, additional emitters can be added to the system.

Spray Head Irrigation Systems

The spray head water management system is stationary and sprays a fine mist around the circumference of the head and covers areas between 4 to 15 feet. Spray heads are available in pop-up style and only rise above ground when the system is activated and the designs include rotating and stationary spray heads. The precipitation rate of the spray heads is dependent on the water pressure, spray head spacing, nozzle size and manufacturers specifications.

The spray heads spray the water over the vegetation similar to a portable water sprinkler and each spray head is designed to cover a certain area. The layout of the spray heads can be configured to avoid overlapping areas that result in over watering some vegetation. As the water falls to the soil it is absorbed into the soil and provides hydration to the root system.

Protect Your Water Management System at Night

When most people think of preparing their properties for the colder nights ahead, thoughts of covering plants and rolling up the garden hose come to mind. Although you should certainly do those things, there is much more involved in protecting one’s landscaping and hardscapes from the weather than that. For instance, water management systems must eventually be winterized.

Ideally, water management systems should be winterized before the first light freeze occurs. That’s when temperatures dip down to around 32 degrees Fahrenheit.  Understandably, the date of the first light freeze will vary. However, some parts of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia have a history of experiencing their first light freeze in late September or early October.

To get a better handle on when a particular area is likely to experience its first freeze, consider using The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s First and Last Frost Dates Calculator. It takes all of the existing weather history available for each zip code in America and utilizes it to come up with an estimated date.

The type of water management system that in place will dictate which winterization techniques should be used and how long the entire process will take. One method relies on manual drainage. You can also use automated devices or compressed air equipment.

Once the water is drained out of the entire water management system, take a look at its electrical or battery-operated components. If these aren’t properly protected, frost and other cold weather elements could damage the electrical system or create a fire hazard. To learn more about winterizing irrigation systems and preparing properties for the cold weather ahead, please contact us today.

Add Rain Barrels to Your Water Management

Watering plants does not automatically mean higher water bills, if you use the right 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 rainwater at a time or can be hooked to your gutter downspout to catch gallons at a time.

There are many types of rain barrels that range in price from a few dollars to hundreds 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, 1 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 rainwater 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 manage 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.

Add Rain Sensors to Your Water Management

Are regular rains enough to keep a lawn and garden growing at an acceptable pace? Ask any landscaper, and they’ll likely tell you, “no.” The good news is showers may at least be able to improve your water management plans. The key to making it work rests with rain sensors. Widely considered to be very beneficial, they may be used with either residential or commercial irrigation systems throughout Virginia and Maryland.

Today’s rain sensors are typically either wireless or wired. Both contain special elements that are designed to absorb rainwater. Once the absorption level reaches a certain saturation point, the device overrides an irrigation system’s programming, thereby stopping it from turning on. When the water absorption element dries out, it kicks the water management system’s preset programming back into gear. Consequently, it helps property owners conserve water, save money, protect their plants and live in harmony with the natural environment all at the same time.

Because rain sensors are capable of conserving water, many groups offer financial incentives to those that choose to add the devices to irrigation systems. Some of the incentives are geared towards commercial property owners in Virginia or Maryland and others are just for residential homeowners. It should also be noted that there are often restrictions attached to the offers. For example, it may be necessary to purchase a particular brand of rain sensor or have it installed within a narrow time frame. Either way, the cost savings are generally substantial enough to make adhering to those guidelines worth the trouble for businesses and homeowners alike.

To speak with a rain sensor expert and learn more, contact the Chapel Valley Landscape Company’s team. Our experienced experts have been featured in design magazines and can help ensure that your property’s water management system works perfectly. We can also help estimate how much you’ll save by adding rain sensors to your properties’ irrigation systems.

Landscaping.jpgAs most quickly become aware when they try to tackle a landscaping project on their own, landscaping can be as difficult and confusing as a home remodeling project. And then there’s the maintenance! A multitude of elements go into the design and installation of a new landscape — more than many are prepared for. Many may find themselves in over their heads. Instead of dealing with all the stress involved with landscaping design and maintenance, consider hiring a professional. Here are just a few of the things a landscaping expert can do for you:

Design and Plan Your Landscaping

Many find themselves unprepared for how involved the process is of designing a new landscape. Homeowners and businesses often don’t know the sheer amount of decisions required of them. Furthermore, most have a hard time figuring out which plants looks best together, and in which section of their yard certain plants should be planted. Hiring a landscaping professional from Chapel Valley removes this stress. We’re highly trained in coming up with and executing perfect landscaping design plans that will have your yard looking breathtaking in no time.

Choose the Right Plants for Your Landscaping

Each unique landscaping project depends on the environment surrounding the home or business and the amount of space available. Designing around these parameters requires an in-depth knowledge of plants and ecosystem. You must choose plants that will not overcrowd a yard and that will survive in the climate. Landscaping design professionals have an in-depth knowledge of what plants work best in certain sized yards and in specific climates. This will ensure that your home’s new landscaping is not only beautiful, but also is perfectly proportioned and healthy.

Budget Your Landscaping

Another factor many homeowners or businesses are not aware of is the cost that can be involved with designing a new landscaping project. This is one of the areas in which a professional landscaper can be the most helpful as they will know what can be done for a yard with a specific budget. Based on the amount of money you must spend landscaping your yard, a professional landscape designer will be able to create the perfect budget friendly design for your home.

When landscaping, the decisions that must be made can be overwhelming, particularly for those who do not have much experience. Remove some of this stress by hiring a landscaping pro to design and maintain your yard.

Fall Landscaping Chores

When temperatures cool, you may think that landscaping maintenance comes to a standstill.  While chores aren't as abundant as those of the spring and summer, fall and winter garden tasks are equally important to the health and beauty of your landscape. As long as the soil is workable, you’ve got chores in the autumn and winter garden. Don't worry, though, our landscaping experts are here to help.

Cleanup from summer

Fading plant material must be removed. Pests and disease can thrive in the flowerbed, lawn and garden, reappearing next spring to create an unhealthy situation.

Ready the Soil for Next Season

It’s best to take a soil test instead of guessing what the garden needs and wasting money on unnecessary amendments. Unneeded materials do not improve the health of the garden and in some cases may damage the soil.

Autumn is the best time to amend the soil. Organic compost, sulfur and lime may benefit your beds. Amending the soil now gives the materials a chance to settle in and incorporate before spring plantings. A landscaping expert from Chapel Valley will know exactly what your soil needs this fall.

Mulch

An attractive mulch for vegetable and flower beds helps protect perennials and gives your landscaping a finished and put together look. Mulching protects trees and shrubs from winter freezes that can damage the root system. 

Pre-emergence weed control, applied now, provides a jump-start on eliminating annoying competition for your grass and blooming plants.

Planting and Pruning

If you have a vision of new foliage in the spring, you need to plant new trees and shrubs in autumn. This allows time for a healthy root system to develop while foliage is dormant and not in competition with the roots. We can plant at any time the ground is not frozen.

You’ll also need to prune existing trees and shrubs during the dormant period. We know the plants and we’ll make sure we do not remove the wood on which next year’s flowers and fruits grow.

It’s not too early to design the spring planted garden. Many spring blooming bulbs should be planted in the fall. Our expert designers will create the garden of your dreams.

Leaf management

With fall comes beautiful leaves on the trees and eventually on the ground.

You have three choices with your residential landscaping and those leaves. If you leave them on the ground, your neighbors might be upset as your leaves blow into their yards. Your lawn will start to die because the leaves will hold water and start to create rot. They also block the sun from getting to your grass. You will start to notice bare spots where the leaves were the thickest.

You can rake and dispose of them yourself, but it’s a ton of hard work. You can hire quality landscaping that includes leaf removal. We’ll remove the leaves after the trees are bare. At the same time, we can inspect your lawn and ensure it is healthy.

Fall is coming, and if there are lots of trees in your yard or near your yard, the leaves are coming too. They are beautiful and will be beautiful in your yard.

But, before they fall, contact us and let's talk about the best time to remove those leaves before they start hurting your lawn.

Plan to Protect Your Landscaping for Winter

It’s no secret that Old Man Winter and Mother Nature can really mix it up. When those two have their infamous rows, landscaping in Maryland and Virginia can really suffer the consequences. Good thing there are actions homeowners and businesses can take to help protect their properties’ vegetation. One of them is to invest in some effective, efficient coverings.

We know that many well-meaning newscasters and old-school gardeners often suggest covering plants with bed linens at the first signs of a hard freeze. However, that is not something our landscaping pros recommend businesses do for two reasons. One, it just looks tacky and two, it isn’t always effective. That’s because bed linens are not waterproof. Consequently, they’ll absorb water, which can alter the temperatures around the plants in negative ways.

We should also mention that there are blankets that won’t absorb water but you won’t find them in the bed linen aisle, or even the store that sells bed linens. They’re more likely in stores that sell home improvement, hunting or survival gear. Most people know them as aluminum space blankets. They’re typically made from waterproof or water-resistant materials that have at least one reflective side. The reflective side, if positioned to face towards the plants, may help trap the warmth that inherently gets absorbed by the soil during the daylight hours.

Other people may recommend using clear plastic coverings instead, which could work. However, the plastic must be applied in a certain way. Otherwise, it could cause the plants to freeze in spots thereby leading to irreversible tissue damage. The list of clear plastic covering systems that may work includes, but doesn’t end with, reinforced cold frames and ready-made tunnels. Most of them involve concrete reinforcing mesh, wooden two-by-fours and rolls of thick, polyethylene plastic.

Lastly, we often like to suggest that homeowners and businesses consider using floating row covers to protect areas of their landscaping. The covers are generally best used in areas where there are ground-level or raised flower beds. To learn more about them and other covers that may help protect landscaping throughout the cold months ahead, please contact us today.

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Your choice of commercial landscaping service is critical to how the public sees your business. Your landscaping is the first thing a potential customer sees when entering and the last thing they see when leaving. You want to put your best foot forward, and we’re here to help make that happen.

YOUR COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING SERVICE IS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Job applicants try to make good first impressions. They trim their hair, shine their shoes, wear their best interview outfits, and spend hours prepping for common questions. Similarly, a business must "apply" to the customer for the "job" of their patronage.

First impressions are important. You may spend a fortune selecting the "perfect" color and typeface for a business sign, but are you neglecting your landscaping? Make sure your commercial landscaping service makes the right first impression on your potential clients.

A first impression is not a logic-based decision. An impression is more of a feeling, and it’s a feeling that lasts. As much as we value logic and deduction, all humans make intuitive, emotion-based decisions. If your commercial landscape does not feel welcoming, the client will feel subtly repelled before they even walk through your door.

Landscapes designs fall into three categories: formal, informal or natural. Mixing of styles should be avoided, as it gives a schizophrenic feeling. Plants that are informal (like a weeping willow) do not mesh well with a formal landscape of clipped boxwood hedges.

If yours is an engineering company, a landscape of tidily trimmed hedges reflects your precision. If the business is massage therapy, natural-looking shrubs might be more appealing to the clients you wish to attract. Toy store? Bright colorful flowers will reflect the bright colorful toys inside your store.

No matter what the personality of your business, we hope you will contact us. Here at Chapel Valley Landscape Company, we have the capability and skilled staff to coordinate with your landscape architect and properly install the full scope of your landscape project — from hardscape to plants, including irrigation and landscape lighting systems.

WHAT YOUR COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING SERVICE SAYS TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

As a business owner or manager, you probably spend a great deal of time ensuring that everything is running smoothly, that you're staying within your budget and that your ROI is in line with projections.  But have you ever thought about what your commercial landscaping service is saying to your customers?

Your landscape maintenance could make or break the next sale.  And here's why:

A good landscape maintenance plan will showcase your curb appeal. It's what the customer sees before they ever step foot in your facility. If your property looks sloppy or unkempt, the customer may keep driving and not even give your company a second thought.

If your landscaping looks high quality, it will automatically give your customer the impression that you are a successful, professional company.

Your curb appeal is a testimonial to the quality of work you expect from your contractors and a clear indication to the customer that your expectations for their finished project will be just as high.

Ask yourself these questions:

What does your curb appeal look like from the street to the front door? Step back and look at the big picture. What do you see? Does anything enhance or detract from the look you're trying to convey?

What does your entranceway look like?

Do you have seasonal color in place in the way of annuals and perennials?

Are the tree branches and shrubs pruned away from the walkways and doors?

Are the grounds free of trash, leaves and debris?

Is the lawn turf weed-free and void of any brown patches?

Does your lawn turf look green, evenly cut and well-manicured?

Are the grounds free of grass clippings?

Are the landscape beds well-defined?

A well-planned landscape maintenance program is the first step in making a great impression, and it shows your quality and professionalism as a company.

WHAT TO ASK BEFORE HIRING A COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING SERVICE

Atlanta is a big market for commercial real estate. If you own commercial property in the area — either multi-family dwellings or office/retail space — then how can you set yours apart and get top dollar in rent? Your commercial landscaping service can have a lot to do with your success. How then can you get the best commercial landscaping in Atlanta? Find the right landscape installation service and maintenance company by asking several prospective companies the following questions:

CAN YOU HANDLE ATLANTA’S CLIMATE?

If you’re looking for a commercial landscaping service in Atlanta, the company you choose must really understand the area’s climate and the demands that it puts on plants. Especially given that most commercial landscape plans are intended to look attractive while requiring comparatively little maintenance, you don’t want a company coming in and putting in plants that will be difficult to keep alive.

WHAT DO YOU FACTOR INTO DESIGN?

Low maintenance needs are just one aspect of a great commercial landscaping plan. The top goal, of course, should be to increase your property’s value. It’s difficult to find figures specifically for commercial properties, but it’s well-documented that landscaping can add between 7 percent and 15 percent to a home’s value. You should want to know a little bit more about how a prospective company balances maintenance and looks — and, of course, cost.

DO YOU OFFER YEAR-ROUND SERVICE?

In some areas of the country, year-round service should include both plant maintenance and a snow removal plan. While it does occasionally snow in Atlanta, a company’s background in commercial irrigation is probably the more relevant topic. You want to make sure your plants will be getting sufficient water in the hot summertime.

DO YOU WORK TO BE ECO-FRIENDLY?

Grass shouldn’t be the only part of landscaping that’s green. Working with a company that is eco-conscious can allow you to enjoy beautiful landscapes guilt-free. And, of course, you’ll see some monetary savings if your landscapers create a design that doesn’t need expensive treatments or excessive watering to look good. Great landscaping can even save energy inside buildings; landscaping that shades walls and windows can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent.

HOW’S YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE?

OK, so this might take a little more research than simply asking the company if they’ll offer you a good experience. But the bottom line is that the U.S. landscaping industry includes about 969,257 workers in 474,237 businesses, meaning you have plenty of options and shouldn’t settle for a mediocre customer experience.

WHEN TO HIRE A COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING SERVICE

There’s no doubt that new construction projects of any size involve a lot of planning, but did you know that hiring a commercial landscape management firm should be one of the first line items on your company’s to-do list? There are several reasons why it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Preventing damage to the property’s existing trees is one of them. After all, construction-damaged trees have the potential to destroy valuable heavy equipment, crash through buildings and injure people who may be present during catastrophic events.

With that in mind, our commercial landscaping management team recommends that every new construction project starts with the designation of zone boundaries and an inventory of the property’s existing flora. It’s also a great idea to test the soil and check to see if any drainage or irrigation problems exist. That way, they may be effectively addressed before the construction project gets too far underway.

Once that’s done, it’s vital to determine which flora and trees should be protected and incorporated into the commercial property’s permanent landscape, if any. Afterward, steps should be taken to prevent them from sustaining damage or causing it. For example, digging too close to a tree could permanently damage its roots system. Thus, the tree could uproot during a heavy wind storm or other natural events.

When the construction project is complete, the commercial landscape management firm could then use all of the site knowledge that they gained during the early phases of the project to create an annual maintenance schedule. The schedule would obviously be designed to keep the commercial site looking good through all four seasons, which is vital to attracting customers. 

NOW IS THE TIME TO EVALUATE YOUR COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING SERVICE

With temperatures throughout Maryland slowly starting to cool, our commercial landscaping team’s thoughts are turning towards fall tasks. Are yours? In our experience, it’s a great time to get select plants, shrubs and trees into the ground. Plus, it’s ideal weather for deadheading, transplanting, applying winter mulch, separating perennials and filling landscapes with autumn colors.

If you do decide to change up your commercial landscaping service and add a pop of fall colors, keep in mind that there are different combinations to choose from. Three of the combinations that our commercial landscaping team often recommends are complementary, monochromatic and analogous. In our experience, they tend to be the most appealing to the eyes of passersby.

The first color combination that our commercial landscaping team prefers is rooted in the theory that opposites attract. It involves combining landscaping materials that are on opposite ends of the color wheel. For instance, orange pumpkins may be placed near blue asters and coral bells. Orange-colored hardscapes and blue outdoor lighting could be factored into the commercial establishment’s space as well.

The second previously mentioned combination that our professional landscaping team favors involves sticking with one color and its various hues. For instance, commercial property owners may want to incorporate yellow pine benches and yellow stone crop near their walkways or various shades of red perennials and brick pavers.

The third and final combination of note relies on the use of colors that are adjacent to one another on the wheel. Excellent examples would be businesses that opt to combine red-orange, orange, yellow-orange and yellow flowers into their landscape. The same could be said for autumn displays that have blue, blue-violet, blue-green and violet color schemes.

To learn more about dressing up your commercial landscape in time for the onslaught of autumn customers, please contact us today. We presently provide highly rated landscaping services in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Landscape Contractors

The IBISWorld Landscaping Services Industry Research Report published in March 2017 shows an increase in demand for landscape contractors from residential and nonresidential clients. It reports that the need for landscaping services has grown in the past five years thanks to stronger domestic housing and property markets. In addition, more owners of homes, commercial properties and public spaces want to have green areas, yards, pathways and patios to beautify their properties. 

Who are Landscape contractors?

Research done by the National Gardening Association shows that 74 percent of households in the United States participated in lawn or garden activities in 2016. A large portion of that population maintains their outdoor areas with the help of the services of landscape contractors.

These experts create or refurbish outdoor spaces to turn them into beautiful gardens, attractive lawns, or refreshing and relaxing pockets of green. They cover a wide list of services, including making a plan for the site, planting, maintenance, and constructing hard landscaping features such as decks, fences, paths and patios. These specialists work with both residential and commercial clients who wish to have a customized landscape. 

What can landscape contractors do?

Design and Plan

A landscape contractor can bring their clients’ landscaping ideas to life. They will create a design based on what features and plants a customer has in mind. If you don’t know what to do with your outdoor space, then these professionals can make a plan and present it to you. They will usually check your property to assess the potential of the site and know what landscape styles will work best. Designs are based on several environmental and physical factors, such as the theme of your interiors, the architecture of your building, the topography of the land, and the seasons and climate in your locality. They will also identify which plants and trees will grow best on your soil and location. After they have studied all of these, they design the project. Sometimes, they use software that can show how the finished project will look and how your greenery and flowers can look in several years.

Aside from providing the design, landscape contractors also include plans on what type of materials are going to be used and how much of each are needed. These specialists also determine the kind of services required and estimate the labor costs. They will plan a schedule and sequence of work, too, as well as cover any other budgetary or logistics-related aspects of the project.

Plant

More and more people are taking up gardening as a hobby. However, landscape contractors do more than just dig and sprinkle seeds into a pot. These professionals use their expert knowledge in determining what type of trees, shrubs, grass and flowers should be planted in a certain area of a site. When choosing what to plant, they take note of erosion problems, amount of sunshine and rainfall, irrigation issues, seasons, climates, and soil type. And with their special skills and knowledge, they know the right materials and methods to use to make sure the blooms and greenery are planted correctly.

Construct

Some outdoor spaces require foundational work done by landscape contractors so a design can come to life. The work may include installing irrigation systems, laying drainage or reshaping the landscape. This is usually done when a client wants to have slopes, terraces, ponds, fountains and rock or ornamental gardens included in their landscaping. Other construction work can include building paths, foot bridges, patios, walls, fences, decks, gazebos or sheds.

 

Maintain

Taking care of your outdoor area is a lot of work. There’s mowing, cutting, pruning, trimming, watering, mulching, weeding, replanting, raking, shoveling and so many other tasks. Some landscape service providers include maintenance work for their clients. This way, you have a team of experts who can keep your property beautiful all year round. Contractors can provide care for your garden or lawn on a scheduled basis, depending on your needs.

Benefits of working with landscape contractors

You save time

You may have a green thumb or be enthusiastic about taking care of your own outdoor area. However, you may not always have the luxury of time to tend to your blooms and greenery. With the help of landscaping services, you don’t have to worry about maintenance anymore. You get to devote your weekends and after-work hours to your family or friends. You have more time to do other things you love. And you can enjoy relaxing or entertaining in your professionally maintained garden. 

You can enjoy expert and regular maintenance care

Indeed, landscape contractors provide you with their skills and knowledge on how to properly care for your outdoor area. This can save you a lot of money and sweat, especially when you are faced with erosion, drainage problems, pests or other landscaping problems you may not be familiar with. But with the help of experts, these issues are tackled efficiently and swiftly before they cause great damage and large losses.

You can take advantage of professional services

For some clients, maintenance isn’t their only challenge. There is also the challenge of knowing what sort of design is the best choice. With the specialized knowledge of landscape contractors, all you have to do is approve a plan that makes your ideas a reality and fits your budget. Aside from that, these professionals eliminate the need to experiment on which plants will grow best in your land because they have already that specialized knowledge and have conducted that research. As a result, you avoid wasting a lot of effort and money.

You increase the value and appeal of your property

For homeowners who are looking to sell their residential property in the near future, an attractive and well-maintained garden or lawn increases salability. Real estate experts say that landscaping increases your property’s value to up to tens of thousands of dollars over the years.

As for commercial establishments, an expertly designed and cared for landscape can make your place more appealing to customers. More people are looking for green spots to relax and escape the stress and pollution of cities. So if you have a beautiful, professional-looking outdoor area, your business can be more inviting, thus increasing your chances of attracting customers.

Work with professionals

As with hiring any type of contractor, make sure that you are working with someone you can trust, who has the experience and skill, and who is flexible enough to accommodate your ideas and needs.

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Landscape architecture will enhance any property, and choosing the right landscaping to give your property the perfect look takes a bit of creativity and savvy. But finding the right professional to get that perfect landscape architecture for your big project can often be challenging. Aspects such as budgetary restraints, experience and the type of project can all have an impact on finding the landscape architect that’s right for you.

Here are eight things to consider when choosing a landscape architect.

When to Hire a Landscape Architecture specialist

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 architecture, the walls will need to be designed and approved by an architect or civil or structural engineer, depending on the type and height of the wall.

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 architect’s endorsement. Regulations that go along with such design intricacies will often be more stringent.

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 architect must work with municipal officials in the permitting process and the process will be more efficient if the architect has a working knowledge of the regulations. It is important their landscape architecture experience includes working on projects like yours. An architect will always have a portfolio of their work to show prospective clients, and they will be willing to provide references upon request. Review the portfolio with them and ask about design features that may be eye-catching or similar in goals to yours.

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 know-how and expertise about landscape architecture including selection, installation and management of landscape materials.

Good Communication

A sign of a good landscape architecture specialist 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.

Initial Meeting

Meeting the landscape architect in person is essential in the choice process. Ask them 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 architecture. 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 they will be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. It is important both sides be flexible to some degree to help establish a positive working relationship.

Budget

Be realistic about the landscape architecture 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 architecture specialist will never try to upsell the project for a bigger slice of the pie.

Your values

Your own values can have a major impact on the type of landscape architecture 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 finished product aligning closely to what you had originally envisioned. 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."

Multiple Candidates

Put together a shortlist 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 architecture specialist in the past.

Why go through the arduous selection process? Because good landscape architecture will save you money in the long run.

The Perfect Landscape Architecture Will Save you Money

The United States Department of Energy projects that energy costs will increase slightly by 2019. You have probably already installed low-wattage light bulbs inside and have taken steps to use less energy inside. So, what else can you do? You can call us, your local landscape designer who understands how to reduce energy costs by strategic landscaping.

Will planting the right trees for shade actually change your energy costs? Yes, in fact, here is what the Energy Department tells us.

Savings Pays Off

The Energy Department estimates that strategically planned landscape architecture can reduce energy costs and pay for itself in eight years. When our team meets with you, we will talk about your goals and will talk options that could reduce that eight years so you realize savings even sooner.

A/C Reduced

When our team comes to your property, we will be evaluating where and when the sun hits your building. We will then give you several options of trees that provide shade during the summer months. Strategically planting trees can reduce the temperature of your building by 6  degrees. The Energy Department estimates that air conditioning use is reduced up to 50 percent when trees are used to shade a building. In order for you to have these savings, we will talk about trees that have crowns closer to the ground to protect from afternoon sun or trees that have higher crowns to protect from the mid-morning sun.

As part of our recommendations, we will discuss other plants that can be planted where the hotter winds blow. Having plants in the path of the wind is an easy way to cool the hot wind before it reaches your building. This does not mean you need to cover your building in plants. It means having some strategically placed ground cover to cool the hot winds and some trees to provide shade and breeze.

Heating

While trees can reduce your air conditioning costs in the summer, having the right tree can also help your heating bill. We will discuss the various types of trees that lose their leaves in the fall so you can take advantage of the sun during the fall and winter months. As part of this discussion, we will also talk about how fast trees grow and how high each tree will grow. You do not want to block your business, and you want the right tree to enhance the look of your business landscaping.

If your building is frequently hit by the cold winter winds, we will give you a plan for a wind break. According to the Energy Department, a strategically placed wind break can reduce your winter energy consumption up to 40 percent. The key is planting evergreen trees and shrubs so they block the wind, provide a buffer zone near the building, and block snow from forming drifts around the building.

As you can see, the right landscape architecture can reduce your energy costs. But, you need the right mixture of trees and evergreen and you need these placed so they enhance your landscaping instead of making your building feel closed in and cluttered.

How can you take advantage of trees and reduce your energy costs? Just contact us. What will we do? We will come look at your landscaping and discuss several options that will enhance your landscaping and at the same time help you reduce energy costs. We will also give you a free estimate of the initial cost and will give you an estimate of helping you maintain your landscaping for years to come. Our team will also discuss the timing of planting new trees, flowers, and shrubs so your new landscape thrives. So why wait, call us and let's get started today.

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!