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Chapel Valley Blog

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.

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.

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.

ChapelValleyWinterMeeting2016

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.

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.

how a landscape lighting designer can impact the look of your property

If you are looking to make a big impact on your home or business, you should consider employing a landscape lighting designer. And when you do, there are many factors to consider to have the lighting not only be functional but beautiful as well. 

What you should consider

When a professional lighting designer evaluates your landscape, they will examine and consider several key factors. First, whether you are working with a residential or commercial property, you need to think about what it looks like from the inside. If you want a picturesque view from every window in the house, that is a key consideration. Additionally, you'll want to know if you are looking to highlight parts of the landscape or if you are going with more of an ambient lighting look.

Lighting can also be used to either create focal points or depth. No matter what you are looking for, with clever and tasteful lighting you'll be able to create the look that you desire.

Common Types of lighting

There are several types of lighting that a lighting designer can use to enhance your landscaping. They will choose from downlighting, uplighting, and crosslighting. Downlighting means exactly that; the light shines down from above. This, in turn, means that light can be affixed to trees or even your home to illuminate the landscaping below. This lighting can be a softer, more diffused use of lighting.

Uplighting, on the other hand, is a bolder way of using light. When you use uplighting you'll be able to create stronger angles, contrast between light and shadow, and even highlight architectural structures on a building or in your landscape. Finally, crosslighting is a way of lighting up landscape on both sides. This helps to reduce shadows created, creating a softer look.

Areas to Light

When you have a lighting designer come to evaluate your space, they will want to highlight certain features within that space. These features can be anything from a walkway, to trees, architectural features, water features, and any other part of the landscape that could benefit from emphasis.

Adding light to your landscape will allow you to highlight the features you'd like to be seen, even (or especially) in the dark. Additionally, lighting is very important for creating a mood or atmosphere. So if you have an outside space in which you spend a great deal of time, outdoor lighting can help to create a nice ambiance for you and others to enjoy. 

Benefits of landscape lighting

Anytime you add lights to your landscape you are not only adding beauty, but functionality as well. A lighting consistent scheme throughout your landscape helps to make it safer, by alleviating the risk of tripping or falling. In other words, your new illuminated area will be more than just a visual feature that others can enjoy. Finally, if you have beautiful landscape, landscape lighting design enables you to enjoy that piece of property during the day as well as at night.

Why get a landscape lighting designer?

It's important to consult a professional, because they will be able to not only give you ideas, but also bring your own ideas into fruition. When using a professional, you'll benefit from their experience and expertise to help guide you through the process toward getting the most beautiful and appropriate lighting design possible for your outdoor space.

Light is an important part of your landscape, allowing you to create shadows, diffused lighting, or even just highlight a particular feature of your landscape. If you are thinking about how you can improve your landscaping and what skilled professionals you should use to create a unique landscaping lighting concept, please contact us.

10 ifs to tell if your property needs commercial snow and ice removal services

During winter, commercial properties and businesses need commercial snow removal services. Just ask anyone who has handled the issue themselves -- it's difficult to do business without a clean and clear parking lot or drive.

But, as a commercial property owner and operator, how do you know if your property needs a commercial snow and ice removal service?

In this post, we'll provide you with ten "Ifs" to tell if your commercial property needs professional snow removal services -- proving to many that snow removal services are key to conducting business during winter.

1. If you have customers or visitors of any kind, you need commercial snow removal services. A clean and clear parking lot is essential to the safety of your guests and visitors.

2. If you lack any professional snow and ice removal tools, like plows and snow blowers, you need a snow and ice removal service. Plain and simple, your back doesn't deserve the abuse from removing heavy snow from your commercial or business lot.

3. If your commercial parking lot is large enough to park more than ten cars (or even less, sometimes), commercial snow removal is a priority. The last thing that you want for your visitors is to lose the ability to come or go because of heavy, accumulating snow and ice.

4. If you receive deliveries via your parking lot or driveway, a lot free from snow and ice is crucial for delivery vehicles. Larger vehicles, like delivery trucks, often have trouble in the snow. A commercial snow removal company can fix this problem (almost literally) as soon as it happens.

5. If you don't ever want to worry about removing snow and ice from your commercial property or business, hiring a commercial snow removal company is all that you need for peace of mind during bad weather.

6. If you are often under time constraints due to business responsibilities, commercial snow and ice removal can save you all the time that you need. Start your new day without the worry of inclement weather; spend more time doing the things that you want.

7. If your commercial property is located next to a busy road or intersection, there's a chance that built-up snow (thanks to local plow trucks) can make entering your parking lot difficult. Hiring a commercial snow and ice management company remedies this problem before it becomes one.

8. If you never want to worry about legal troubles related to snow and ice, a professional snow and ice management company will remove all worry from your mind. Never again will snow and ice cause concern for you and your commercial property.

9. If you want to protect your parking lot from destruction and dangerous ice removal chemicals, a commercial snow removal company has your best interest in mind. Our professional plow truck drivers can gently and effectively remove snow and ice from your property -- providing the greatest concern for your lot and sidewalk's structural integrity. 

10. If you want to save money in snow removal costs this year, hire a professional to do the heavy lifting for you, instead. When you take the necessary step of contacting a professional snow and ice management company for your commercial property, you'll get a hefty return on your investment -- ultimately saving you money in the process.

Don't let winter dictate how you run your business; contact a professional and experienced snow and ice management company now.

Chapel Valley Landscape Company offers unparalleled design, installation and maintenance for both residential and commercial properties. We provide residential and commercial landscape services in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions to meet the specific needs of our clients.

For additional information on how we can help you with your commercial or residential property, please feel free to contact us today.

Photo Courtesy of torange.us

prevent problems with snow plowing services for your vacation rental property

Snow is not that difficult to handle when you are there to clean it up after a long snowfall, but it does become an issue when you have a vacation rental property that you do not live at full-time. Although you might live in the property for a decent portion of the year, as soon as the snow starts to hit the ground, you may have a home in a different state that you live at temporarily for avoiding the snowy season. When you expect to keep your vacation rental booked up, you need to find a solution for eliminating the snow. An effective way to accomplish this goal is with seasonal snow plowing services.

Make Sure Your Guests Have a Clear Pathway

One of the most important parts of being a high-quality host, even if you are not present at the vacation rental, is providing them with a clear pathway to and from the property on a consistent basis. It is not fair for your guests to struggle in getting to their temporary residence because of snow. Since you will not be around to shovel the snow on your own, professional snow plowing is the most reliable solution.

Prevent Their Cars from Getting Trapped

Along with the fact that you want to provide your guests with a clear walkway to your vacation home, you also want to prevent their vehicles from getting stuck in your driveway. Although some snowstorms will force your guests to wait it out before they can use their car, the snow can get removed in most cases.

Avoid Moisture Issues from Melting

When you allow the snow to accumulate on your property, you could experience a situation where you have moisture issues that lead to serious problems with the foundation, structure, or garage. It is best to get rid of the snow on your property, especially when it has accumulated in large amounts as you do not want it to cause any issues that would force you to spend money on professional repairs.

Keep the Landscape Healthy

A blanket of snow is not good for your landscape, especially when it is susceptible to winter-related damage. While you should create a plan to protect your landscape during the snowy season, you should make sure to get the snow removed on a consistent basis to prevent snow build-up. When snow is allowed to smother your lawn and plants, you put them at risk of long-term damage.

Maintain Property Value

With a vacation rental, you will want to charge a certain amount per day to your guests. However, if you do a poor job of maintaining your property, especially when it comes to snow removal, you will have a tough time charging this amount as potential guests will find better and more affordable alternatives.

Entice Great Reviews

When you go out of your way to make sure that your guests are completely happy with their experience, you will naturally entice them to give you a positive review when they get back home. These reviews are imperative to the growth and success of your vacation rental business. Most travelers, especially those who are new to staying in a residential property want to read reviews before making a final decision. Fortunately, your willingness to prevent snow from being a problem is key in getting superb reviews.

Scheduling snow plowing services for the entire season is the best way to handle your vacation rental property as it prevents you from having to worry about snow removal. If you have any questions about the services that we can provide, feel free to contact us at any time.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

sidewalk snow removal having a plan in place

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

Why use a professional?

It is important to use a professional to help with your snow and ice maintenance, because they will be able to set up a plan. Including professionals means that not only will they have experience dealing with snow, but they will use the best products, tools, and methods available.

When working with a company, you should always make sure they understand what chemicals work best, what products you'd like them to use, and how to effectively and safely clear your sidewalks. Doing so, you'll get trusted professionals that understand your needs, and can offer you advice and a strategy on how to combat the harsh winter months. Additionally, using professionals will help to save you labor during the winter months.

Another point that you should not ignore is that instead of you having yourself or your staff out there clearing the sidewalks, you are using a professional third party. Removing the threat of you or your employees possibly falling or getting injured during this time is not only beneficial to you, but also to your business.

Why you should have snow removed

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

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

Having a Plan

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

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia 

3 top benefits of wintertime commercial landscaping in atlanta

When you think about commercial landscaping in Atlanta, you might think about having your commercial property landscaped during the spring and summer months. However, it's even a good idea to use the services of a commercial landscaping company in the winter months. These are a few reasons why.

1. Keep it Pretty and Green

Even in the warmer temperatures here in Atlanta, it's pretty common to see, brown, dead lawns during the fall and winter months. However, this doesn't make for the best outdoor appearance for your business. If your commercial property looks dead and brown, it's not going to be very appealing for your potential customers.

Luckily, there is something that you can do about it, and you don't have to wait until the springtime months to enjoy a pretty, green, well-landscaped lawn.

If you hire a good commercial landscaper -- such as the professionals at Chapel Valley Landscape Company -- you can find out more about adding plants that will look pretty and green during the winter months. For example, you can have beautiful green shrubs and other evergreens planted on your property. You can also have your lawn accented with seasonal plants that will thrive during the winter months and add a dash of seasonal cheer.

2. Deal With Seasonal Yard Work

During the cooler months, there is actually a lot of yard work that you have to worry about. You might not have to worry about cutting your grass or pruning your trees like you do during the spring and summer, but you do have to worry about things like getting rid of the dead leaves that have been falling on your property.

If you hire Chapel Valley Landscape Company, however, you will have a team of professionals to help you with seasonal yard work, such as raking and blowing leaves. This will help keep your property looking nice and clean all year long. Plus, Chapel Valley Landscape Company can even help you with scraping away snow and ice if the need arises, which is important for both aesthetic and safety reasons.

3. Prepare for Spring

You might already be looking forward to the greener and warmer months of spring and summer. You might think that it's too soon to start thinking about these warmer months, but this isn't the case. If you want your commercial property to look its best during the spring and summer, it's best to start planning now.

This is because there may be preparation work that needs to be done to your property before your plants are planted. Some plants might also need to be planted early in the season so that they will be ready in time for spring, such as daffodils.

There is no reason to wait until the last minute to start planning for your spring and summer landscaping. Instead, if you hire the professionals at Chapel Valley Landscape Company, you can start focusing on making these plans now. For example, someone from Chapel Valley Landscape Company can sit down with you and talk to you about your plans for the spring and summer. You can decide which plants will be relatively easy to take care of and which ones you really want to see. Then, your commercial landscaper can focus on preparing your commercial lawn for these plans and otherwise planning for the landscaping that you want to enjoy during the warmer weather.

As you can see, wintertime commercial landscaping can be highly beneficial for any business owner. If you are interested in these services, contact us at Chapel Valley Landscape Company to find out more about landscaping for your commercial property during the winter and all year long.