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Chapel Valley Landscape Company has partnered with The Congressional Schools of Virginia located in Falls Church to install their new "Giant's Reading Garden". The project included the design and installation of new landscaping for the area at the school located on Sleepy Hollow Road

The “Giant's Reading Garden” is the first phase of an overall landscape plan for The Outdoor Learning Center and Discovery Trail. Congressional Schools of Virginia considers these areas "A 40- Acre Opportunity... To Learn...  To Play...To Grow" for the students which range in age from pre-school to 8th grade. 

The project was coordinated by Chapel Valley’s Virginia regional office in Sterling. Heading the project for Chapel Valley were Residential Sales Executive, Shannon Reed and Landscape Architect, Anna Buczkowska. They met with members of the Congressional Schools’ staff to review the objective, analyze the site area, and to create a plan to spark imagination through the creation of a natural learning environment for the students and staff.  Anna’s design achieved that goal while still providing safe, child friendly plant material that complemented the area and will draw the student’s interest. 


“Since our founding in 1968, we have been actively involved in the communities we serve, supporting organizations, including educational institutions, as part of our community service programs. We were especially pleased to partner with The Congressional Schools to create an interactive garden to stimulate students and enrich their experience,” said James Reeve, President and Chief Executive Officer.


The Giant’s Reading Garden and Chair Area, a small fenced rectangular area attached to one of the school buildings is designed to create an outdoor book reading and educational space with a wooden chair large enough for a giant.  The large chair was donated by a family whose children attend the school.

The location of the chair in the far end corner allows a design of an oval-shape mulched area with the tree stump seats, and a meandering, mulched path that leads to the reading corner. All plants used in the design are child friendly and are encouraged to be touched.  The experience of moving through the landscape to the reading area is altered by using the large leaved plants, with various varieties, textures and scents to give draw interest from students.  Chapel Valley used plants such as Hosta, and Fingerleaf Flower (Rodgersia sp.), along with the other shade loving perennials, such as Astilbe, Coral Bells, and Geranium.  

The garden location allowed Chapel Valley to use a wider variety of plant material.   In more sunny area kids can find charm and friendly Shasta Daisies, colorful Spireas, and tall Joe Pye Weeds (Eupatorium sp.), that are a great magnet for butterflies and birds adding to the educational experience of the garden.  In addition to the perennials and shrub plantings, there are also two Native Eastern Redbuds; these are spring blooming trees that produce full clusters of purple spring flowers.  The path is planted Mazus around them, this a fast-spreading carpet groundcover with bright colors and blooming flowers that can handle the little foot traffic.

The garden provides a soft, colorful, and sheltered environment, which allows kids entering to experience the magical world of trees, shrubs and perennials as well as books.   


Founded in 1968, Chapel Valley is the 30th largest full-service landscape contractor in the U.S. serving the residential and commercial markets. Chapel Valley’s provides a full range of services including design/build, installation, comprehensive maintenance and land care, irrigation/water management, hardscaping, lighting, green roof technology, and snow removal. J. Landon Reeve IV is founder and chairman and James Reeve serves as president and chief executive officer.


The company’s corporate headquarters are located in Woodbine, MD with a full-service regional office in Sterling, VA. Additionally, there are six maintenance branches: Richmond, Sterling, and Alexandria in Virginia; Baltimore and two branches in Woodbine in Maryland.


For more information about Chapel Valley Landscape Company please visit www.chapelvalley.com

Chapel Valley Landscape recently received two National Awards at the Green Industry Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. The awards were present by PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network, an international association serving lawn care professionals, exterior maintenance contractors, installation/design/build professionals, and interiorscapers.

Since our founding in 1968 Chapel Valley has received over 250 Awards for our work with design, installation, and maintenance.

We were awarded a National Award in the category of Residential Design/Build for a Private Residence in St. Michaels, Maryland. We would like to thank all employees involved in the project for their hard work. You can view the photos of the award winning site below. 

Photography by Chapel Valley Landscape Company

We were also award a National Award in the Residential Landscape Maintenance category for a Private Residence in Baltimore, Maryland. We would like to once again thank all employees involved in this project for their hard work. Pictures of the award winning site can be viewed below. 

Photography by Roger Foley




Juliane Faller has been named a Residential Design Sales Executive for Chapel Valley Landscape Company’s design/build group working in Howard, Baltimore, and Anne Arundel counties. She was formerly a landscape designer for the company’s maintenance group serving both residential and commercial accounts in Maryland.



A native of Fort Recovery, Ohio, she is a graduate of The Ohio State University, with a degree in Landscape Horticulture and Business, Faller has worked in the landscape industry for six years. In her new position she will work with residential clients to develop landscape plans including intricate garden designs, outdoor living areas, extensive site planning, special deck and water features, and dramatic lighting. She is supported by a design team composed of Registered Landscape Architects to create designs that meet the client’s objectives.




We have been working on a residential site in Potomac, MD. The site was designed by one of Chapel Valley's Landscape Architects, Alan Blalack, RLA, ASLA. The site is being installed by  our residential crews lead by Ryan Isherwood and Buenaventura Beza-Caseres. Dave Pezenosky is leading the project management of the site.

By Larry Ott, Service Manager, Plant Health Care

Certified Professional Horticulturist, Certified Pesticide Applicator

Chapel Valley Landscape

In this region we can be exposed to drought conditions. We can’t change the weather, but we can design a landscape plan to ensure optimal plant health and an attractive setting for your residence.


Your Plan 

  1. Determine which landscape features on your property are most important to you.
  2. How do you use your landscape? Is it a children’s play area, a garden, or an aesthetic feature that enhances your home?
  3. What are your water resources? Can you water the plantings that most need supplemental attention?

Your Lawn 

During drought conditions, you have a choice: if you want a green lawn throughout the drought you will need to water frequently. However, if you want to conserve water you can choose not to water your lawn, which will cause it to become dormant. When cooler, wetter weather arrives, it will recover its growth and color. A lawn only needs to be watered during the establishment phase or after renovation work such as seeding. By watering your lawn less, you can give that saved water to the more expensive plantings in your yard. Remember, the replacement cost for a lawn is relatively low, and most lawns in our region need to be renovated periodically for the best growth and attractiveness.


Your Plants

Focus on perennials rather than annuals because they represent a larger investment. Spot water those that need extra water and try to group them in the perennial border by their water needs. Trees and shrubs planted within the last two years will require watering. Exceptions are shallow-rooted trees and shrubs like Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and Dogwoods, which need a monthly drink, and those that are prone to drought-related diseases and pests, like Colorado Blue Spruce, Pines, Leyland Cypress, Japanese Maples, and Flowering Cherries.


Watering your Landscape

Overhead sprinklers are inexpensive and highly portable, but they waste enormous quantities of water due to evaporation and poor distribution.

Soaker hoses are a relatively inexpensive, durable, and distribute water evenly. Be sure to have enough soaker hoses to distribute water to all plants in a selected area, depending on the density of the soil. They do require monitoring to be effective.

Irrigation systems are initially more expensive but are one of the best investments for your home. A professionally designed and installed system provides greater control in managing the amount of water distributed to a given area, keeps your landscape attractive year round, and conserves water. Many systems have moisture-sensing devices that will automatically turn off your system when it rains.


Choosing Your Plants Wisely

You can’t control the weather but you can control your property’s plant material and watering needs. Incorporate a greater number of plants that have minimal water requirements. Replace landscape features that require a lot of water. Your landscape professional can help select plant material that is indigenous to this region and recommend an irrigation system to keep your plants healthy and attractive.







Chapel Valley Landscape Company, headquartered in Woodbine, Maryland, recently partnered with the Tuerk House, a non- profit substance abuse treatment provider, in Baltimore, Maryland, to transform and enhance the appearance of the main campus. The $35,000 in-kind gift project included the design and installation of new landscaping at the Tuerk House facility located at 730 Ashburton Street in West Baltimore. 


Founder and Chairman, J. Landon Reeve IV and Chapel Valley landscape architect, Anna Buczkowska, met with the management of the Tuerk House to create a plan to breathe new life into the exterior of facility. Anna achieved the concept goal of the design by planting groups of large deciduous trees; the growing tree canopies will reduce the heat and provide desirable shade for the Tuerk House clients and staff. The tree canopies will become the strong, structural elements of the overall landscape composition.



The design also focuses attention on the planting bed located between a pair of arched steps that lead to the main entrance. The plant selection includes shrub groups and flowering perennials along with spring flowering cherry trees. It highlights and refines the representative style of the main entrance area. Plantings along the building walls are combined groupings of evergreen foundation shrubs, understory deciduous trees, and flowering plants that will create a pleasant and welcoming look of the designed area.


“Since its inception in 1968, Chapel Valley has been committed to supporting a variety of non-profit organizations in the markets we serve. We were especially impressed with the opportunity to include the residents of the Open Doors program in the installation process, working in a “buddy-system” with our employees to provide them training in both installation and safety practices,” said Mr. Reeve.




Chapel Valley installed the new landscape with the help of Open Doors, a program that offers Tuerk House clients an opportunity to clean up the environment and urban spaces in which they live while they are rehabilitating their own lives. The clients at Open Doors typically focus on landscape maintenance, but in conjunction with Chapel Valley, the men were able to broaden their skill sets by assisting in the installation of the new landscape around the Tuerk House.


The installation of the landscape took place over three days and Open Doors was involved from start to finish. The men learned new skill sets involving bed prep, tree, shrub, and perennial installation, staking and guying, and mulching. Chapel Valley’s Dave Pezenosky, Project Manager, lead a safety meeting before installation began. All of the men working on site were provided with safety vests and instructed on the property way to lift materials and stay safe while on site.



“Tuerk House has received an overwhelming number of positive comments from neighbors, board members, clients and staff about the recent landscaping project.  It has transformed the exterior face of Tuerk House from a drab institutional structure to an attractive neighborhood centerpiece that sits on the crest of a hill surrounded by trees, shrubbery and a variety of plant materials,” said Valerie Wilson, Development Director for Tuerk House.”


“The new landscape will benefit Tuerk House by presenting a more friendly welcoming appearance to the public, whether they are neighbors, volunteers, or prospective clients and/or their families. The exterior of the property has been so enhanced that people will tend to have a more favorable impression of the organization and its work. Staff are developing more pride about the place in which they work and clients react more favorably to a treatment venue that has beautiful surroundings,” she added.


Chapel Valley Landscape Company is a full service exterior landscape company that services Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. They were founded in 1968 and are the 30th  largest landscape company in the nation. Chapel Valley’s services include design/build, installation, comprehensive maintenance and landcare, irrigation/water  management, hardscaping, lighting, green roof technology, and snow removal.













We are currently working on a residential project in McLean, VA.  Below are some of the before and after pictures of the site. Be sure to check out our residential portfolio to see more after pictures of this job.











*Here is a sneak peak at a few more after pictures-make sure you check out the residential portfolio (the first job listed under McLean, VA) for more great pictures.

It all started a few years ago when I decided to attend a Career Fair for students in the College of Agriculture at Penn State. My goal was to make some connections and explore what opportunities were available after graduating college. At this time I realized I was lacking in physical, hands on experience in the landscape field. It was odd; I was working to complete a degree in Landscape Contracting, having never worked in the field. That was when I knew I needed to get to work; I needed to participate in an internship program.

My first choice was to intern with a company that would place me in a rotational internship situation. Since I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do I figured this would be the best way to experience the many facets of landscape contracting.  I was selected for a summer internship with Chapel Valley Landscape Company, a full-service landscape contractor in the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia corridor. The internship was a 12-week program enabling me to gain a real world perspective of both residential and commercial installation, maintenance, and irrigation, as well as corporate support functions.

My internship experience enabled me to learn a lot about myself, such as I prefer commercial work over residential and installation over maintenance. I determined that estimating wasn’t right for me, marketing made sense, and that I could navigate roads larger than two lanes (I’m originally from a small town). I was able to spend time working in the shop learning how to change oil and rotate tires. I worked on green roofs and large estates. I helped fix broken irrigation systems and install new ones. I helped lay down hardscapes and layout designs. My plant identification skills expanded with each job I worked and my Spanish skills were growing every day. My internship helped me narrow down my interests and hone in on what I enjoyed and what I was good at.

Internships are one of the best ways to help a student grow. They provide hands on training for the real world, working on real jobs. Interning with Chapel Valley gave me a chance to figure out what I wanted to do after college. I was able to define my strengths, and become more familiar and confident in the landscape field. 

Now is the prime time to explore internship programs, don’t let this opportunity pass you by, take advantage of the summer and see what is out there for you.

Check out more information on Chapel Valley’s Internship Program, including our mentorship program, rotational schedule, and benefits. 

For additional information or questions regarding the article contact info@chapelvalley.com

by Leslie McGuire, managing editor Landscape Contractor

J. Landon Reeve IV, Founder, Chapel Valley Landscape Company.

Landon Reeve is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chapel Valley Landscape Company, an exterior design/build/manage landscape firm serving Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.

As an entrepreneur committed to landscape excellence, Reeve actively worked with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), now PLANET, and Landscape Contractors Association MD-DC-VA (LCA) to improve industry training and set higher standards of professional excellence.

This job in Potomac, Md., was a challenge because all of the hardscape we provided tied into existing structures. We had to match the building materials and designs just right to make the walkways and walls look as if they had been there since the house was first built. Here the area with the sundial was an existing element, we tied in the walkway and raised planters.

Describing the source of his love for landscaping, Reeve says, ''I grew up in Baltimore county and had a part time job for four years in high school working for a wholesale perennial nursery. That sparked my interest. My grandpa had a farm, so my interest in landscaping was a natural extension of my history. Although my father was the postmaster, mine was definitely an agricultural background. I liked plants and I liked working outside.''

After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in horticulture, Reeve worked for a company that had a little garden center.

''They did installation and planting, but no maintenance. In 1964, the center manager and I decided to start a small business of our own. In 1968, I decided to start out on my own with just a landscape company that had no nursery. My wife helped out, and, of course, we had no money, but I learned what to do and what not to do. I had the opportunity to run a business, learning by trial and error. However, the largest part of my education came from going to trade shows and taking seminars.''

We revamped this perennial garden for a client helping to create a place of relaxation. With the rest of the home having a more formal feel, the owners were looking for a more relaxed garden. Our designers took to the challenge and created a unique perennial garden to satisfy the homeowners.

Learning by Listening

''Even though we struggled for a few years, now the company has 350 employees -- 300 of which are full time -- and multiple locations. I found that it is important to always be searching for information and listening to what experienced people have to say. To that end, I became very involved in different associations. In the process, I got to know many people who were willing to share critical information. I always say, 'If you don't have the answer, go ask someone who does.' That goes for everything from the financial, sales, business and production ends. After all, it's not just planting -- it's everything. When you are running a landscaping business, you have many of the same issues as any business. It's not magic, it's just day to day.''

The Vietnam Memorial was a very exciting and challenging project, but it had a lot of problems because it was so unique. An amazing number of people were involved. People also came by during the installation and were often very emotional. We installed all the plantings, all the sod and did the planting in the grove while coordinating with the general contractor.

The Jones Day Building project in Washington, DC was an early leader in green roof technology. The landscape was designed to provide a space for relaxation for the employees of the building. The breathtaking view of the capital adds to its grandeur, creating a wonderful place to view the city. Photo courtesy of Richard Anderson

The Overarching Philosophy

States Reeve, ''My overarching philosophy is you must be fair, be honest and treat your employees and your customers right. There are two little things I always say: 'Do it right the first time, and do what you say you're going to do.' If people just did that in their lives there would be a lot fewer problems. It is very simple and very basic, but very hard to do. If you do that in your business, you'll have a great business.''

''My overarching philosophy is you must be fair, be honest and treat your employees and your customers right.''

We partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to create Ava's Garden. Ava was having trouble maneuvering outside of her home in her wheelchair due to the uneven walkway. We replaced the old walkway with a new one, leading to a new play area which included a natural playhouse composed of raised planters and a wood and wire structure to support climbing plants that she could touch and watch grow. Courtesy of Chapel Valley Landscape Company


''We do a fair amount of work in DC and it's a big challenge working in an urban setting because of what it is and where it is-downtown. It's a collection of simple things like finding a parking spot. You can't store anything so you spend more time coordinating and trying to get around. You can't leave things anywhere and you're always coordinating with other contractors. Working downtown is more than planting plants because access is very difficult.''

''My favorite project, and the one I worked the hardest on personally, was the corporate headquarters of Lockheed Martin. It was our first large project. It took us three months to negotiate getting the job, which was on multiple levels with different planting areas both inside and outside. Right after that, we had the worst, coldest winter in 100 years. Many cold hardy plants died, but we worked through that as well. I call it learning by doing. We have done the maintenance on the site ever since. For me it was a great experience and I was particularly pleased we were able to work it out.''

The maintenance we do at Stony Point Mall is interesting. We have to work through scheduling conflicts due to the heavy traffic of the shoppers. Our crews not only have to maintain their own safety, but always be aware of their surroundings in an effort to protect the high volume of consumers. Photo courtesy of Roger Foley

Keep Your Customers

''We've done a lot of residences and each one has it's own uniqueness. Working on residential properties is more personal. I still have relationships with the owners, and try to keep in touch with them, because sometimes we're called back to do additional work or ongoing maintenance. Finding a customer and keeping them for life feels good. We keep good relationships for a long time. We also have repeat customers over the 41 years as people move and call us to work on their new property. We even work for the children of people we worked for originally. That's a big compliment.''

The University of Maryland-Moxley Gardens were provided as a donation to the University of Maryland to enhance campus life and create a relaxing place for students and alumni to take solace in. We installed the gardens and still provide the maintenance for them. Photo courtesy of Roger Foley

Full Service Landscaping

''We provide a fairly broad range of services-commercial installation, maintenance and contracting. In residential we provide maintenance along with design/build, and negotiate/build for landscape architectural firms. We also have four landscape architects on staff as well as irrigation and lighting experts. We have also installed about 10 to 15 green roofs, and every one of them is different. They range from a couple of acres in size to very small ones.''

''The green emphasis, which has developed over the last five years, has driven more and more people and businesses to install them on their buildings. It's certainly a growing industry and the technology is constantly changing and getting better. The industry is in its starting stages and not a mature industry yet. With the LEED requirement, most of the emphasis is on buildings themselves, not the green roof. We're learning as we go because each installation is different. Different materials are available and each building has different load and drainage issues. Some of our green roofs have been in place for four or five years now and they're doing pretty well.''

The entire garden for this residence was constructed around this statue. The homeowners wanted their own secret garden that would lead to the magnificent statue at the center. We worked to create a formal setting for the piece in a secluded area that allowed the homeowners to enjoy its beauty in privacy. Photo courtesy of Richard Anderson

The Good News and the Bad News

''No question, the economy is challenging. If you look at the big picture, it's quite severe world wide, and that filters down to our business. However in the Baltimore and Washington DC Metro areas, we're better off than in some areas of the country. Our company has a stable market, but we are definitely being impacted. People are buying less and being more conservative. The result is less available business while pricing is getting more and more competitive.''

Reeve keeps in continuous contact with both local and national associations, keeping his finger on the pulse of the industry. Currently he is on the American Horticultural Society, Executive Board. He was president of the PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation from 2007 to 2008, ALCA, National Association President in 1984 and the Maryland Nursery Association President from 1977 to 1979. ''People attending the summer meeting of the Maryland Nursery Association report are just trying to get through their year and make the best of it,'' says Reeve. ''We are taking steps to reduce costs and downsize because of less business during a challenging year. We're doing a lot of things differently than a year ago, and as my neighbor said the other day, 'We see the country changing so we're going to have to learn to live differently.'''

In preparation for the Pope's visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC in April of 2009, we planted 4,000 flowers, 10 trees and 40 shrubs using 100 yards of mulch. We had employees on site every day, up until the visit, pruning, weeding, trimming and mowing. Photo courtesy of Richard Anderson

Getting it Right

''The current green focus means more opportunities for our company because more green roofs are being built. But I don't think it's going be a great ground swell of opportunity. When I started out 50 years ago, the environmental issues weren't even on the radar screen, but in the last 20 years, there's been a huge awareness of how we affect our environment and how things we do impact the planet. The green focus is on how we're going to take care of our world and our property. The chemicals, products and mowers that used to be fine aren't anymore. Employees didn't have protective gear such as goggles, and now they do. This evolution is wonderful, but unfortunately we are being rushed into it because we didn't do it right the first time.''

''And that, of course, brings me back to my overarching philosophy-Do it right the first time and do what you say you're going to do. Those two things are the key to a great business that grows and lasts.''

Handling Plants, Shrubs and Trees Damaged By Snow and Ice

With the record setting snowfall that the Baltimore-Washington region has received, there has been a lot of damage to plants, shrubs and trees in the area. Mark Dougherty, CPH (Certified Professional Horticulturist), CLP (Certified Landscape Professional) offers some suggestions on how to deal with landscape that has been impacted by snow and ice. Mark has been Chapel Valley Landscape Company’s Maryland Purchasing Manager for 26 years. He advises the company’s design build staff as well as many of the leading landscape architects in the region in evaluating, selecting and securing plant material for design and installation projects.

His first recommendation is that you need to wait for snow and ice to melt naturally before attempting to dig up or remove plant material. “You can do more damage to plant materials when you attempt to remove snow or ice, or attempt to dig them up,” he said. “The branches are obviously very cold and fragile and have the potential to break or snap off.”

To determine if a plant needs to be removed or can be saved, he recommends waiting for the snow and ice to melt and then check the branches. “If they are dried and wrinkled, you are dealing with dead plant material,” he said. He recommends that you have a certified landscape professional evaluate your plants, shrubs and trees to determine what can be saved and what may need to be replaced. If a tree is leaning but not completely uprooted, it potentially can be saved,” Mark said. “The tree can be pulled upright and staked into place. It is important that this is done right away or the process may not work,” he added.  “It depends on the type and size of the tree and you should consult a professional to determine what should and could be done,” Mark commented. Regarding replacing plant material, Mark recommends that dead plants are removed early spring once the snow has melted. “Installation of new plants should take place around the same time, before new leaves come out on deciduous plants and new growth starts on evergreens,” he commented.

When choosing replacement plants he recommends considering hardy plants that are grown in more northern environments and are able to withstand snow and ice, to reduce your chances of plant loss in the future. Also, remember to take into account that multi-stemmed evergreens are more susceptible to problems when dealing with heavy snow loads.

Make sure to evaluate your plants once the snow has melted to help keep your landscape beautiful. Now is the time to make the decisions for removal and installation of replacement plants. Spring will be here soon, and it is the optimal time to install plant material to ensure you will be able to enjoy them throughout the remainder of the year.