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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!

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

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

Minimize Energy Use While Maximizing Lighting

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

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

Make Your Business Look Its Best

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

Think About Safety and Security

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

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

Enjoy State of the Art Lighting

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

Make Lawn Care Easier

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

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

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

Schedule a consultation today!

consider a natural curve for your landscape design

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

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

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


Schedule a consultation today!

bio swales and their place in your water management system

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

What Is A Bio-Swale?

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


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

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

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

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

Designing Your Bio-Swale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schedule a consultation today!

Chapel Valley Donates Landscaping Services to The Salvation Army

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is A Rain Garden?

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

Planning Basics

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Plants Will Go In The Garden?

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

  • Columbine
  • Canada goldenrod
  • Bluewestern goldenrod
  • Nodding onion

Will It Require Maintenance?

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

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

Chapel Valley is excited to announce two new hires and two recent promotions! “All four individuals are huge assets to our company with resumes of experience that can’t be topped,” said James Reeve, Chapel Valley’s CEO and President. “Each of them will play an important role to help achieve our vision for new growth and sustainability.”

Bonnie Szabo-CFO

Our new CFO, Bonnie Szabo, brings a wealth of accounting and leadership experience to Chapel Valley. Szabo joined Chapel Valley’s team with an impressive background leading finance teams in the private equity space as well as the service industry with Greystone Corporation and Wachovia Bank. A knowledgeable accountant with fifteen years progressive experience, Bonnie’s repertoire includes solid planning and organizational skills, as well as the ability to manage multiple assignments under pressure. Bonnie graduated from George Washington University with a BS in Business Administration and earned her master’s degree in accounting from the University of Maryland.

Roy Tulloch-Senior Accountant

Roy holds a B.S. in Accounting and comes to us with over 13 years of experience in the Accounting field. In this role, Roy will be working closely with our Accounting team, Branch Operations, and the Executive teams. The key responsibilities that Roy will be taking on are: analyzing financial records and reports, reconciliations, and assisting with financial and tax audits. Roy will also be involved with overseeing inventory counts and purchasing.

Jennifer Giunta- Market Develop Manager

Congratulations to Jennifer Giunta who has been promoted to Market Develop Manager. In her previous role, Jennifer oversaw Chapel Valley’s most profitable maintenance branch in Alexandria, Virginia where she gained an exceptional track record in both sales and operations. As Market Development Manager, Jennifer will oversee sales in Washington D.C, Baltimore, Montgomery County, and Northern Virginia. Giunta graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Horticulture and earned her MBA from the Université Institute of Finance and Management.

Jill Hartkopf- Branch Manager

Recently, Jill Hartkopf was promoted to Branch Manager to fill Giunta’s previous position. Hartkopf, who joined the Chapel Valley Team as a Property Manager in December of 2015, has a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from West Virginia University and practiced for several years before joining the family business on the eastern shore. In this role, Jill was responsible for all operations as well as building and maintaining relationships with exclusive clients. Hartkopf brings considerable experience to Chapel Valley with with skills in account management, estimating, project design, and senior level management.

Chapel Valley is growing every day and we’re excited to have these four as part of our team.

Responsible for the loss of hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America, the Emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) continues to make its way across the country. First discovered in Michigan in 2002, this exotic beetle currently affects: Ontario, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Virginia, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, Iowa, Tennessee, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, New Jersey, Arkansas, Louisiana—and most recently in 2016, Texas and Nebraska.

Native to Asia, the EAB most likely made its way to the United States through transported wood. EAB larvae are considered the primary reason for prolonged tree-loss. During the ‘immature stage’, EAB larvae feed on the inner bark,disrupting the effective flow of nutrients and water throughout the tree..

Over the years, the Emerald Ash Borer has cost property owners millions in tree removal services, pesticides, and research. However, scientists have recently developed a strategy to help keep the infestation under control.

The University of Delaware discovered a parasitic wasp that can combat the EAB and their release has already been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The parasitic wasps use EAB larvae as a host to lay their eggs. Once the wasp eggs hatch, they feed on the EAB larvae. Some wasps have already been released in Connecticut, and the effort was deemed successful.

Due to their success, federal officials are now planning the use of wasps by both governmental and non-governmental agencies. The wasps will not be a threat to humans although there is a chance they could affect other species of insects.

Chapel Valley has officially launched their first company video. Established in 1968, we’ve come a long way however, some things never change— including our reputation for impeccable quality, excellent customer service, and a safe workplace.

In this video, leaders from our company share who Chapel Valley is and what makes our company successful.
Shooting the video was a great experience for the Chapel Valley team. We worked with Freedom Digital Media, a Baltimore-based video production company that we have used in the past for photography. With all the recent rain in the DC metro-area, we were lucky to have beautiful weather over the two days of filming. For our first video, everything went exceptionally well thanks to our production team, video cast, and customers who allowed us to film on their properties.

This video will be posted on our website, shared on social media, and used to help promote our brand and recruit top personnel to our company. 

commercial irrigation alexandria va

Water management is more than just the installation of an irrigation system; it is a holistic assessment of your site to determine watering needs and drainage requirements, slope, exposure, plant needs, and soil type. Our certified commercial landscape irrigation designers and auditors can design, install and service an irrigation system that is custom to your site. This system helps reduce plant stress and loss, lower utility costs, boost chemical performance, and improve turf renovation.

Our storm water services include:

  • Culverts and bio-swales
  • Collection facilities
  • Vertical drainage
  • Rain gardens
  • Permeable paving

Commercial properties we serve:

  • Corporate and Commercial
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Hotels & Resorts
  • Housing Communities
  • Retail
  • Parks

Old Town Alexandria is a bustling center of history, entertainment, dining, shopping, waterfront, and even dog and eco-friendly activities. Situated conveniently a mere 7 miles from Washington, DC, it is still far enough away to have created its own unique epicenter of life. As the place that George Washington called 'home' Old Town is positioned between the George Washington Masonic Memorial on the west and by the Potomac River on the east, providing an all access gateway to the best things in life- according to those who know!

What's in a name? Founded in 1749 by Philip Alexander II and his cousin Captain John Alexander, the city was first named Belhaven after the Scottish patriot John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven and Stenton. There were many changes for the region, including the changing of the name to Alexandria, its inclusion in the District of Columbia in 1791 through ceding, surrender to the British Fleet in the War of 1812, retroceding to Virginia in 1846, military occupation during the American Civil War, and the 1930 annexation to the town of Potomac. These many transitions and acclimations built the foundation for what is now a city that draws both residents and tourists to its cobblestone streets and red brick sidewalks.

National Collegiate Landscape Competition/ Summer Interns

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, an event that brings together landscape industry leaders, students, professors, and potential employers from all over the country. From March 16-19, representatives from Chapel Valley traveled to Mississippi State University to meet with students who are interested in joining our summer internship program.

At Chapel Valley, we look for candidates who are interested in an internship that highlights all of our departments, including: installation, maintenance, water management, estimating, design, sales, and marketing. All play an important role in our company, and it’s fundamental for our interns to know how.

Chapel Valley’s program is designed for students to have a wealth of hands-on experience that allows them to learn proper techniques in a safety-minded, friendly environment. To ensure that our students receive guidance and support throughout their internship experience, each are assigned a Chapel Valley team member as a mentor. This type of exposure is mutually beneficial, refining students’ skill sets for their future careers, as well as providing Chapel Valley with talented hiring options in the future. Here’s a quote from one of our interns from last summer:

“Interning with Chapel Valley was a fun and rewarding experience. It allowed me to use the skills I learned in the classroom and apply them on the field.”
-Josh, Summer 2015 intern from Virginia Tech

Earth Day is approaching. Have you thought about your green efforts?

Every year, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 by people all over the world in an effort to protect the planet and environment. As a landscape industry leader for nearly five decades, it is our responsibility to help preserve our world’s natural resources. One way we contribute is through community service. We strongly believe in helping the community maintain and create landscapes that contribute to the overall well-being of the environment.

Last year, Chapel Valley partnered with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) for an Earth Day project that beautified the Buchanan Gardens Apartments. We cleaned up trash, sprayed poison ivy, and removed dead trees that were hazardous. Next, we spruced up the lot with an assortment of plantings near the management office—these included Knockout Roses, Clematis, Hemerocallis, and Nepeta. This year, we are partnering with APAH again to install a vegetable and cut garden.

Please let Chapel Valley know if you are ever interested in partnering for a community service project– we would love to hear about it!

EARTH DAY FACT: More green space within a city’s boundaries can improve the urban environment.

What are the benefits to adding plants & trees?

  • Decrease pollution by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air
  • Help remove chemicals and bacteria from water in the ground.
  • Absorb sound and help with noise pollutions
  • Reduce energy consumption by countering the warming effects of paved surfaces
  • Hold soil in place, keeping sediment out of lakes, streams, storm drains, and roads
Branding Your Landscape

Did you know that you can brand your property with landscaping? Property branding is one of the most compelling ways to show potential clients what your business is about. It’s also a way for companies to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Imagine bursts of vibrant color in an abundance of planting beds featuring unique plant varieties throughout the year—something that sets this site apart from neighboring sites ordinary landscapes. Adding bright and intentional splashes like this is called “Colorscaping”— an innovative service offered by Chapel Valley that provides optimum seasonal color and creates positive first impressions. Here is what you can expect from Colorscaping:

Color. Bright, diverse color exclusively designed for your property and your specific needs.

Unique varieties. Chapel Valley has proven varieties for you to try and continues to test new varieties, so you’ll never tire of the same planting year after year.

Creativity. We offer innovative suggestions to get the most from your planting area. Our certified color designers will keep year-round interest for your property, helping to increase aesthetic appeal.

Proper Maintenance. We don’t just plant a rotation and hope for the best. A scheduled maintenance plan, including integrated pest management and disease control, horticultural work, fertilization and watering, keeps your beds in top condition. We address issues before they become problems.

Customization. We understand that all sites are unique so we’ll design a plan for the varying conditions of your particular site. There’s no problem with incorporating drought-resistant varieties for those hard-to-water places or for varieties that do well in shade.

Site Evaluation and Consultation. Our evaluation takes into account the site and your specific needs before we make recommendations. We carefully measure beds, test the PH of the soil, examine environmental and site conditions, as well as offer you options. We’re in the business of problem-solving to create beautiful environments.

One of our clients, Post Properties, is known for their beautiful tulip displays in the spring. Even their logo has a tulip in it! For Post Properties, this branding strategy offers differentiation and consistency, and aids in building a positive reputation.

Our clients truly recognize the impact that colorscaping has on their businesses. Here’s a quote from one of our clients who receive colorscaping year-round:
“Chapel Valley has the ability to complement and enhance our properties every season with the professionalism and creativity that the Colorscaping program offers. Our properties present a challenge, as each property differs greatly from the others; yet, Colorscaping rises to the occasion each and every time, providing us with unique and bold seasonal displays.” –Jim Davis, VP of Property Services, Post Properties

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.

rock landscaping contractor who understands the personality of rocks

Do rocks really have personalities? Not really, since they are not alive. But, rocks do have perceived personalities. People have actually conducted research on the emotional perceptions of different types of rocks. They asked a group of people to match personalities with types of rocks. From those responses they determined that when people see certain types of rocks, they automatically have an emotional response.

What the research found about three types of rock was this:

1. Smooth, shiny rocks such as Obsidian are glamorous rocks. Obsidian rock can come in large sizes, or smaller sizes called chips. This type of rock is one you will want to showcase in your landscaping. If you have a fire pit that you want to showcase, Obsidian rock can make it less rustic and more glamorous. If you have a potted plant that is a focal point of your patio, we can add rock chips to showcase that plant and elevate its status on your patio. 

We can add a touch of glamour to a patio by placing small obsidian rocks in between large pavers to create a custom patio design. We can cap your garden retaining wall with Obsidian rock to give a rustic wall a touch of glamour. 

2. Porous rocks such as volcanic rock are sentimental rocks. Volcanic rock is usually a dark red, but can also come in black. It is great to showcase that rose bush someone special gave you, or to surround a bench where you like to sit and talk with friends. If you want to add softer feelings to your landscape, we can help you find a statue or a comfortable bench to add and then showcase that with volcanic rock. 

Volcanic rock is also used as a weed barrier in landscaping. We will add a weed barrier and the rock to give you a weed free area. After all, you don't want to have to weed around that bench or fight weeds around your favorite rose bush. 

3. To give a feeling of independence to your landscaping, you will want to add a few rocks such as Fluorite, Agate, Amethyst, or Quartz. Since some of these rocks can be more expensive than other rocks, we will suggest adding one of two of these as a focal point in your landscaping. These will be great rocks to showcase with low-level lighting since the light will bounce off the dimensions of these rocks.

We also know that laying stones in various angles can make that wall or patio look rustic, very polished, or creative. We also understand you will want a mixture of personalities in your landscape, since some areas are where you relax, and some are where you play. 

So, if you want to give your landscape a specific personality, talk with us, a rock landscaping contractor who understands that the type of rock you use in your landscaping is a reflection on you and your personality. 

We will come to your property and listen to the perception, or emotional response, you want from people. Then we will look at your property and give you suggestions on how you can use rock in your landscaping to enhance your property. We will show you the different types of rocks you can use to build retaining walls, create walkways, section off planting areas, create a rock garden, or create a conversation piece. Our goal is to enhance your current landscaping with rock that adds emotional statements to your landscaping.

So, take some time this week and think about the emotional statement, or personality you want in your landscaping. Then contact us and let's talk.

Beginning March 1, Chapel Valley will have a full-time maintenance branch in Delaware. Why Delaware? For the past three years, Chapel Valley has worked on a construction project for Heritage Shores, a premier living community in southern Delaware. Now that the installation is complete, we have been asked to open a permanent maintenance branch to service the large community.

"With our new branch in place, we can continue to build upon construction and maintenance work, not only for Delaware, but also the Eastern Shore of Maryland,” said Chapel Valley president James Reeve “We have already serviced these areas for more than 10 years and look forward to continued work with existing clients as well as the opportunity to partner with those who are looking for a quality landscape management program.”

Chapel valley landscape company Delaware

BillBenoit SmartCEO website

We are thrilled to announce that our COO, Bill Benoit, has been selected as a winner for SmartCEO’s Washington Executive Management Awards.

The Executive Management Awards program recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of the region’s management all-stars — CFOs, CIOs/CTOs, Chief Legal Officers/General Counsels, Chief Human Resources Officers, and other C-suite executives. These individuals uphold the highest ethics, lead collaboratively and creatively, and enhance and support the organization’s mission. An independent committee of local business leaders reviews the EMA nominations and winners are chosen based on the quality of the nominations submitted.

About Bill Benoit:
A recognized industry leader, Bill joined Chapel Valley in 2000 and has held numerous leadership positions within the company. He has a passion for teaching and leading teams to peak performance. A stickler for quality workmanship, as well as sound horticultural practices, Bill spends many days working in branch offices or out with clients to ensure Chapel Valley remains the landscaper of choice in all of its markets.

Prior to joining Chapel Valley, Bill worked in the public sector as a city manager and in the non-profit sector leading a business improvement district. A Maryland native with two grown progeny, Bill spends his free time with his family in the garden, traveling and competing in triathlons.


On Thursday, January 14th, Chapel Valley held its 2016 Annual Meeting at the Marriott in Greenbelt, Maryland. On the heels of a successful year in 2015, our teams came together to discuss how we can build upon our commitment to safety, quality, and the customer experience. For nearly 50 years, Chapel Valley’s success has been strengthened by listening to and learning from our customers and how our teams’ daily interactions with them help produce unparalleled results. This year was no different as over 180 team members met to review, discuss, and brainstorm ideas that have continued to separate Chapel Valley as an industry leader from Baltimore to Atlanta.

In addition to focusing on our core qualities, we continued to build on how to better interact with our customers through technology, training and continued improvement. Those team members that meet with our valued clients daily, are able to provide input and insights that we can incorporate throughout the company.

As we value our customers’ loyalty and partnership, we extend the same to our vendors and suppliers as they continue to help provide us with quality products, services and pricing, which we are able to share with our customers. This year, we invited our sponsors to do more than simply share their product and service lines to our teams. Instead, in the spirit of building a quality service partner for every one of our customers, we invited our sponsors to attend our meeting to hear firsthand how we learned from yesterday, how we are making a difference today, and our plans for tomorrow.

The power of this meeting is measured by what we learn from you, our current and future customers. We are excited to share the Chapel Valley difference: When Quality Counts.

GOLD Sponsors- Ag Salt, Bartlett Tree, The Capital Group, Chriswell Chevy, Grant County Mulch, Manor View Farms, Montgomery Irrigation, Norris Ford, Organicare, PSA Insurance & Financial Services, Walnut Springs, and CINTAS.

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.