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

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

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

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

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

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

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three reasons you may need a landscape architect

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


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

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

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

Commercial or Residential Experience (or both)?

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

Help with Back-End Services Available?

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

Regional Expertise?

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

Schedule a consultation today!

“Three Reasons You May Need a Landscape Architect”

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

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

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

There’s Too Much

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

Too Plain

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

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

You Are Not Sure What Grows Best

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

Black-Eyed Susan

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

Trumpet Honeysuckle

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

Wild Hydrangea

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

Schedule a consultation today!

“Entrust Your Outdoor Kitchen to a Landscape Architect”

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

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

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

Technology:

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

Surface Safety:

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

Privacy:

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

Patio Layout:

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

Kitchen Garden:

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

Lighting:

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

Simplicity:

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

Enjoyment:

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

Winterization:

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

Schedule a consultation today!

“Working with a Landscape Architect on your Important Renovation”

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

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

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

Implement Your Vision

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

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

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

Working With Our Architects

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

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

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

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

The Craft 

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

The Maze 

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

Cottage Garden: 

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

Water Features:

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

Alcoves & Hide-Away's:

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

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

Relationship:

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

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

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how hiring a landscape architect could actually save you money

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

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

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

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

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

Schedule a consultation today!

how to hire a landscape architect

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

Analyze your Own Values

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

Interview Several Possible Candidates

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

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

Schedule a consultation today!

three winter landscaping architect green ideas

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

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

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

Why you need to go green by directing storm water

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

What to do with extra storm water in winter

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

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

Why collecting storm water is in vogue

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

Starting a turf-free lawn project in winter

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

Reducing the “heat island” effect

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

Let us help your landscape go green

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

Schedule a consultation today!

6 considerations when choosing a landscape architect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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maryland native plants used by landscape designer

When you walk through your landscaping, do you see just plants? Or do you see plants that have history and stories? If all you see are plants, why not add plants to your landscape that are native to Maryland, and have a story to tell? Think about the conversations you can have as your guests walk through your landscape or sit on your patio and you point out plants declared the focus of the year for Maryland. If you have children, think about the historical perspective you are adding to your landscape.

What are we suggesting? We are suggesting creating a timeline of native plants in your landscaping. As your landscape designer we will come to your property, and not only help you plan how to incorporate these plants into your existing landscape, but we will also help you plan for future plants. Or, if you prefer, we will start from scratch and help you plan a whole new landscape using native Maryland plants.

We use the Maryland Native Plant Society as our guide. They list plants as a focus for each year. They also give a detailed list of the plants you can download, or you can just ask us and we will have that list for you as we talk.

2016. The Conifer is the plant for 2016 and the Native Plant Society lists twenty-three Conifers native to Maryland, and four of those are endangered or threatened. Conifers provide green throughout the year and are great for windbreaks. There are Conifers that will grow large and tall, and there are others that are smaller. The larger ones will be great for outlining the perimeter of your landscape and the smaller ones are great set in rock gardens, as short borders for walkways, or as a focal point to walk around.

2015. Vines are the plant for 2015 and the society lists a multitude of vines that can create arbors and decorating fences. If you want to incorporate a shed, pool storage, or other type of building, vines are great for covering that building so it is not seen.

2014. This is the year of the rose. There are many varieties that thrive in Maryland. We would suggest a small rose garden with a variety, or an area close to a walkway with two or three bushes. Planting a rose-bush by a bench or patio provides a breeze with the slight scent of the rose.

2013. The Heath is the focus of 2013. When we add Heaths to your landscaping we will be looking for the perfect place to plant Trailing Arbutus or Wild Azaleas. The Wild Azalea will provide splashes of color wherever you want in your landscaping. You could even plant a ring of Wild Azaleas around your new Conifer.

2012. This is the year of the Oak. There are several Oaks that are native to Maryland and we would be looking for the perfect place to plant an Oak tree with a bench underneath so you can enjoy the shade during the summer months.

2011. The Fern is the focus of this year. Ferns give a soft, or delicate, look to your landscaping and are great for bordering a patio or in pots on the patio. Mix ferns and Wild Azaleas for a wispy, colorful focal point. Ferns will also look great mixed with flowers around your new Oak tree and around benches near your walkways.

We are hoping the idea of planting a timeline of native Maryland plants intrigues you. If it does, contact us, and let us start talking about the possibilities. We can also talk about maintaining your new landscaping. As always, we want to find what works best for you and for your lifestyle.

reduce energy costs with a landscape designer

The United States Department of Energy projects that energy costs will increase slightly in 2016. 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 landscaping 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.

AC 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 six 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 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 landscaping 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 timing of planting new trees, flowers, and shrubs so your new landscape thrives. So why wait, call us and let's get started today.

landscape designer specializing in plants that repel bugs

You have probably noticed the weather this winter is mild. Mild weather can mean more bugs in the springtime. Nobody wants more bugs in their yard and near their house since that means more bug spray on our skin and on our plants. No need to worry with a landscape designer that understands bug problems. At Chapel Valley Landscape we not only specialize in making your landscape look great, we also specialize in knowing what plants will work best in your yard. This includes plants that repel bugs.

What does this mean for you? It means that if you contact us now we will come to your house and first listen to your dreams for your yard. Then we will listen to your concerns about bugs this spring. Our second step will be to look at your property and give you ideas on how to enhance your current landscaping and an estimate.

Some of the plants we might recommend will be these known for repelling bugs.

  1. Catnip repels ants, Japanese beetles, and cockroaches. Catnip plants can grow as high as three feet and have small white or lilac flowers. There are several varieties of Catnip. Some varieties attract cats more than others. So, one thing you would need to decide is if you want a plant that attracts cats. If you have a fenced yard and cats, this is a plant they will enjoy having in your yard.
  2. Chamomile repels flying insects. Chamomile will add small flowers that look like daisies to your landscape design and usually grows to about two feet tall. If you are allergic to Ragweed, let us know since we will not want to plant Chamomile since it might aggravate your allergies.
  3. Chrysanthemums are flowers that repel roaches, ants, Japanese beetles, ticks, fleas, and silverfish. Ticks are one of the bugs that thrive in warm weather and the mild winter means there will be more ticks this spring. Chrysanthemums are a great addition to your landscape. This plant comes in multiple colors and is easy to grow.
  4. Citronella grass is known to repel many insects including mosquitos. One thing you need to know is that cats do not like Citronella grass, so if you have cats, this probably is not the plant to add to your landscape. This grass grows in clumps and is a great ornamental grass to add as a border for walkways or patios.
  5. Lavender, when added to your landscaping, repels moths, fleas, flies, and mosquitos. This plant will add purple flowers to your landscape, and if you prefer, we can plant the variety that will give you blue flowers. The Lavender plant is also a great plant to include in flower arrangements for your house and to give to others.
  6. Lemon Thyme and Lemon Balm repel mosquitos. These plants are great to have around your patio. They will add a nice subtle lemony smell and at the same time help keep the mosquitos away. Lemon balm can grow as high as three feet and the leaves are used to brew tea, in salads, or to season fish.

All of these plants will easily blend into your existing landscape and will add flowers and different shapes of green leaves. After we look at your yard, we will show you how we can add these plants to not just enhance your landscape, but to also help with the spring bugs. We will discuss a schedule to add these plants so they thrive in your landscape. You will be able to relax this winter knowing your spring landscaping plans are already made. So, why wait. While you are enjoying the mild winter weather, contact us and schedule an appointment.

5 tips for finding the right landscape designer

If you're looking for a way to improve the appearance of your home, increase your enjoyment of the outdoors, and even raise your home's property value, landscaping is the way to go. A well-landscaped yard not only looks great, but a custom design will make your home more comfortable and enjoyable as well.

However, landscaping is a big project that you can't do by yourself, and the idea of finding the right landscape designer to take on such an important job can feel overwhelming. If you're currently looking for the right landscaper but don't know where to start, here are 5 tips to help make the search a little easier:

1. Know What You're Looking For

The first thing that you will need to do is to have a clear idea of what you're landscaping goals are. Not everyone wants the same things out of their landscaping projects. Maybe you want to have a large garden area for growing your own fruits and vegetables, or maybe you want something solely decorative. You may want to have a pool or fountain, or just a comfortable outdoor patio for entertaining. Because there are so many options, you should try to find a designer who specializes in, or at least has experience in, the type of project you have in mind.

2. Do Your Research

It's important to find a landscape designer who is trustworthy, and the best way to do that is to research. A few things to keep in mind are:

  • Search for companies that have experience and, compare customer ratings and reviews when you can find them.
  • If possible, get in touch with your local Business Bureau and check up on the company's records.
  • Before you hire any particular company, ask to see a portfolio. This way you can see the kind of finished products they produce, and get an idea of what you can expect if you decide to use their services.
  • Look at their pricing. If a certain company has prices that are way below the average, don't risk hiring them. Many shoddy landscaping companies will try to undersell the competition, but if you want your job done well, don't take the bait. 

3. Ask Around

Word of mouth can be extremely helpful when it comes to narrowing down the companies you want to work for you. If you know someone who has had a landscaping job done recently, ask them about their experience. The more information  you can get from real customers, the better you'll be able to decide what designer is right for you.

4. Look For Experienced Professionals

Experience is a big plus when it comes to hiring professional contractors. A company that has been around for a long time is much more likely to know the ins and outs of the business, and you'll have a better chance of your project being done well and finished on time without running into obstacles.

5. Communication Is Key

One of the most important things to look for in your landscaping designer is their ability to communicate. Working on a project is a two-way communication; your landscaper has to be able to listen to you and your desires, and you need to consider any professional advice or new ideas he gives. A professional designer will know a lot more about landscaping than you do, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't care about what you want. A good landscaper will be creative and open to new ideas, and will work with you to create a design you love that works with the space you have.

If you haven't found the right landscaping designer for your project yet, contact us today. With over 45 years of experience in both corporate and residential landscaping design, our professional team is here to help you create the outdoor space you've always dreamed of.