The Benefits of Dog Parks

Dog Parks – Property Amenity

In the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of U.S. households have at least one pet. With dogs continuing to be one of the most popular household pets and this number continuing to increase, dog leash laws are becoming more strict. This may leave dog owners wondering where their dogs can run and play freely. Many developments are adding dog parks as an amenity to attract dog owners and help solve this problem for the growing dog population. Here are a few pros and cons of adding a dog park to your community:

How Does a Dog Park Benefit a Community?
Dog parks make communities safer by having a place for dogs to play and socialize. Rather than running freely in an open field or cul-de-sac, dog parks are enclosed, thus limiting the opportunity for incidents. Dog parks can also help reduce the number of troublesome dog encounters by encouraging owners to socialize their pets.

How Does a Dog Park Benefit the Residents?
Dog parks can also bring the community closer by having a place for dog owners to meet and socialize while creating a dog-friendly network within a community. Dog parks can also benefit older residents and residents with disabilities who may not be able to take their dogs on long walks.

What Are the Disadvantages of Dog Parks?
Like all things, dog parks come with their own set of disadvantages. For one, while we may think we understand our dogs, we can never predict our pets’ behaviors. The potential danger from aggressive dogs and injuries from dog-related incidents are something to consider. Other things to consider are those who leave their dogs unattended or those who do not pick up after their dogs.

All things considered, any additional amenities to a community will boost the property value and attract a wider range of potential residents. As the dog population continues to grow, dog parks are beneficial and something to consider.

 

Curb Appeal

Curb Appeal and Spring Tips

Research shows that people form a first impression within seven seconds of seeing something novel. Whether your concern is to maintain property values, increase occupancy rates or improve the overall experience for visitors/tenants, curb appeal is a critically important element of your success. Below are several ideas to ensure your property always puts its best foot forward.

  1. Pay particular attention to high visibility areas. Street entrance sign monuments, building entrances, and courtyards are the highest visibility areas and offer the best opportunity to make an impression. These are the areas to spend for high-impact items such as annual flowers, planters, and fountains. These areas should always be in immaculate condition. No weeds, debris, trash, or gum on the sidewalks. Remember, you have only seven seconds to impress your guest!
  2. Trees and shrubs should be neatly pruned to eliminate low-hanging branches, crossing branches, and any dead material. Associated beds should be mulched and weed-free.
  3. Turfgrass areas should be lush, deep green, and weed-free. Turfgrass areas should also be properly trimmed and edged to give a clean, crisp appearance.
  4. Does your choice of plant material complement your building structure? Plant shape, texture, and color can all be utilized to enhance the look of your building. While “looser” or “floppy” plants can be excellent choices for residential cottage-style gardens, they may not be the best choice for more formal sites such as office complexes or retail centers.
  5. Don’t forget the night! Just because the sun has set doesn’t mean people stop looking at your property. Consider up-lighting of specimen plants and/or building facades to make your property sizzle at night.

Earth Day

What We Can Do to Help Our Planet

We all know our planet is an amazing place, and now more than ever we must strive to protect and promote the beauty of our one and only planet earth.

Earth Day is an event held every year on April 22nd to raise awareness and bring support to the protection and sustainability of the Earth’s environment.

The first Earth Day occurred in Wisconsin in 1970 and spurred both national and international rallies across the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated by nearly 140 countries that strive to protect our planet from environmental dangers.

Here are some things you can do not just on Earth Day but every day to help reduce your environmental impact:

1. Plant a tree!
2. Pick up litter and recycle when possible
3. Reduce water and electricity usage
4. Minimize single-use plastic bags by using reusable tote bags.

When we all come together, we can make the world a cleaner, healthier place to live.

Turf Care

The Benefits of Adopting a Well-Rounded Turf Care Program

The grass is always greener on the other side…or is it? While the grass may appear greener, it may not actually be grass at all. There is one type of green growth many fail to recognize or consider: turf weeds.

So, what’s the big deal? If all the turf areas on my site are green, all is well, right? Not necessarily. Like grass, many turf weeds are, in fact, green. Some are extremely easy to spot, while others may take a trained eye to point out.

You may wonder if weeds in your turf are really an issue. I’ll keep things simple and give you two main reasons why turf weeds are highly undesirable. The first is this: weeds in the turf “steal” available nutrients and water from the healthy, desirable grass. This can cause the grass to weaken and become more susceptible to bigger issues like drought and disease. Another reason is that many turf weeds are just downright unsightly. There is a reason the expression “growing like a weed” exists. Many weeds grow extremely quickly when fueled by a combination of heat and rain, much faster than the grass grows. This can cause a lack of uniformity and makes the turf look disheveled and unkempt between mowing visits, especially if visits are delayed due to rain. Remember, rain plus heat equals weeds.

Luckily, there are ways to combat those pesky weeds. A good turf care program will accomplish three main things: the prevention of new weeds, the elimination of existing weeds, and the strengthening of the healthy turf.

Firstly, a preemergent herbicide should be applied in the early spring to prevent weeds before they even begin to present themselves. This is by far the most efficient way to control weed issues; however, some weeds are bound to make their way through. Also, preemergent will not kill existing weeds.

For existing weeds or weeds that are able to sneak past the preemergent application, selective herbicides should be used to combat and kill the weeds without harming the healthy grass.
In addition to the various herbicide applications, any well-rounded turf program will include multiple rounds of fertilization. Fertilizer contains macronutrients, like nitrogen, which help condition the soil. In turn, the grass is set up for success. The grass will be able to grow a stronger root system, which directly contributes to more efficient water intake. This helps the lawn to grow much thicker and fuller overall, which is an important factor in crowding out/choking out weeds.

A turf program takes time to be completely effective – it is not an overnight wonder or a miracle cure. However, if followed consistently over time, the change in the appearance of your turf can be night and day. You too can have uniform turf that even golf courses would be proud of. If you have never considered a turf care program, it is never too late to start reaping the benefits.

What is IPM?

What is Integrated Pest Management?

With industry focus continually shifting towards sustainable products and practices, the utilization of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program for pest control and plant health has become increasingly popular in landscape maintenance.

IPM is a way to manage and improve plant health by the prevention of pest activity, suppression of pests, and the preservation of beneficial insects. Additionally, the program focuses not only on insects or animals but diseases and weeds that can also have a detrimental effect on plant health. The program uses today’s most effective organic and non-organic chemicals to provide prevention, repulsion, and mitigation of pests in landscaping.

The IPM approach differs from the standard pest management as the goal is to minimize pest activity and damage while preserving insects or micro-organisms from the landscape, as most insects in our landscapes do not damage the growth or health of our plants. This method takes a more scientific and knowledge-based approach than the chemical-intensive nature of standard pest control methods.

Contact us today to discuss your pest management strategy.

Cherry Laurel

Critical Factors for Choosing a Landscape Contractor

Choosing a Landscape Contractor

Choosing a professional landscape contractor is sometimes a daunting task. There are several things to consider before you make that decision. Be sure you share your reasons for making a change and what you would like to see changed. This will ensure these issues do not continue. It’s important to do some research as most landscape contractors have websites that will tell you about the company and what sets them apart. Landscaping is one of the first things you see when you visit a property and it takes a lot of dedicated work to make sure it looks its best.

A landscape company that has been around a while has done so by making sure they keep their clients happy. Changing names and rebranding could be a sign that they needed to change due to service issues or new management. Look for association affiliations, awards, and horticultural certifications, and make sure they have the proper licenses to provide all landscape services.  

When you receive proposals, it is best to go over them with the landscaper. If you do not provide a scope of work, there are a lot of items to discuss. A good scope of work will help align your goals and clarify what services you require. A good landscape company will be able to assess your property and, based on what you want, they will be able to provide a scope of work to fit your goals.  

It’s necessary to look for companies that put emphasis on safety. Having a company that promotes safety not only keeps them working but it also ensures they are doing the job correctly.  Safety should be about the crews doing the work and it should also be about the crews looking out for the safety of others and your assets.

Be sure to ask for references and visit some of their current jobs. Nothing is better than seeing what kind of work they do than seeing it in person. It is a good idea to ask for similar types of properties. Most landscapers have a variety of work ranging from industrial sites that only need the basic services up to high-end work that requires a full scope of services. Make sure they have a location close to your property. If they are too far away, you may pay more due to traveling and you want a company with ties to the community. Landscaping is all about making your property look its best, and you want someone that takes pride in where they live and how their community looks.  

Asking the right questions, visiting current work, and knowing a little history about the contractors will help you make a good decision when looking for a new landscape contractor. Feel free to call and set up a time to walk around your property, discuss your ideas, and ask for suggestions. A great landscape company wants to build a long-lasting partnership and provide you with amazing curb appeal. 

Aeration and Overseeding

Aeration and Overseeding

It’s that time of year again when we need to get out to aerate your lawn. There are many benefits to performing this service. Your soil can become compacted over time, and the harder your soil becomes, the tougher it is for water to get through the soil, stunting grass growth.  Aerating your lawn breaks up the compacted soil, allowing water, air, nutrients, and fertilizer to easily reach the roots and promote deeper, stronger root growth. We utilize a roller-type core aeration machine with coring tines of ¾” diameter, and try to reach a depth of 1-2”. The holes made by aerating give the new grass seeds an easier place to germinate. Whether you have a fescue or bermudagrass lawn, aerating is beneficial.  

Now we get into overseeding and why you should or should not do this. Overseeding your lawn helps promote a thicker, healthier turf by adding new growth. Bermudagrass lawns are normally overseeded with fescue seed to promote a green lawn over the winter months when it becomes dormant. If you do not mind a tan lawn during the dormant season, this can be skipped. Fescue lawns need to be overseeded to help keep the turf weed-free and increase resistance to insect damage and lawn disease.  Fall is the perfect time to seed your new lawn or overseed your existing lawn. The fall months allow the seeds to germinate and establish their root system, even into the colder months. Warm days, cool nights, and moisture are what the seeds like best. If you try to get seeds to grow in the heat of summer, they will most likely not survive the stress of the heat and lack of water. As far as how much seed to use, we suggest 4 pounds of seed per 1,000sf. If you use too much seed, they will struggle as they compete for sunlight, water, and nutrients. handling landscape irrigation for your property

Here are some steps to follow as you aerate and overseed your lawn.  

  1. Mow your lawn before aeration (a notch lower can enable better soil/seed contact).
  2. Make sure no excessive grass clippings are present.
  3. Aerate and dethatch your lawn.  
  4. Broadcast a good starter fertilizer along with your seed. Check your local area fertilizer laws. 
  5. If you have an irrigation system, set it to water in the new seeds.  If you do not have irrigation, plan to do this a day or two before you are expecting rain.  

Call us today for aerating and overseeding services! 

 

Fall Preparations

PREPARING YOUR OFFICE PARK FOR FALL

The dog days of summer are sadly winding down. Be ahead of the pack and make the transition to fall a smooth one. Taking the time to think about your property’s needs and your own goals for the site in advance will make your life a bit less stressful – and hopefully making some time to seek out a hammock in the shade with a good book and beverage of choice!

First, you’ll want to think about your plan for fall plantings. This would include replacing your summer annuals with a cold-hardy display of pansies or violas. It is a growing trend to also add an installation of tulip and daffodil bulbs at the same time. This creates a huge pop of color in early spring and will really set your property apart. A big advantage of including bulbs in your plan is that they will come up year after year. A lot of bang for your buck!
In addition, now that it is cooling off, it is the perfect time to replace or add any other plantings. Shrubs and trees will thrive with the lowered temperatures and have an opportunity to get established over the upcoming months.

Plan a “walk” with your Account Manager to discuss any other ideas to enhance your landscape. Use their experience and expertise!  If there are projects you want to include, but there are budgetary constraints, it is the perfect time to get these items priced out and included in next year’s budget. Use the following 3 rules while completing your list: Aesthetics – How will this improve the appearance of my property? 
Function – Will this solve a problem? Correcting drainage issues are a perfect example of this.
Safety – Are there areas at your site that potentially will cause a safety issue? Site lines for vehicles, appropriate pathways, and dead or declining trees are examples of situations that could potentially cause harm to a person or property.

Various shrubs and grasses



Next, you’ll want to get aeration and overseeding scheduled for your property. Aeration and overseeding help your turf become stronger and denser. It helps fill in any bare or sparse areas and reduces weed establishment. In conjunction with your turf application program, aeration and overseeding give you the complete program to establish and maintain a beautiful green space.

Last, you’ll want to make sure you have your snow and ice management partner in place. It’s much easier to get these arrangements nailed down and contracts in place before the first ominous weather report! Creating a snow plan should include communicating with your contractor to establish exactly what your expectations are so things will run as smoothly as possible in the upcoming months.

Fall in the mid-Atlantic is a beautiful time. Spend a few minutes getting things together, and enjoy the season!

 

Enhancing Entrances

Planter Installations to Enhance Entrances/High Visibility Areas

The immediate way to provide an eye-catching color is to install planters with annual flowers at the entrance to a property. Whether it’s an office, apartment building, institutional property, or a residential site, visitors and tenants will certainly notice the attractive color. 

Specifically, highly occupied properties will be worth investing in the planters since many tenants pass the entrance each day. If it’s an apartment building or workplace, the tenants and employees will appreciate the attractive place to live and work. It will also provide great curb appeal to prospective tenants and clients, as the entrance will make the first impression. The use of planters with colorful displays can be also a successful tool to use around gathering areas, such as outdoor patios, lounge areas, pool decks, cafeterias, small nook gardens, and other seating areas. Having a work lunch on a restaurant’s patio? Business meeting in the courtyard? Enjoying a pool party? Planters can certainly enhance these areas and provide a pleasant setting. 

The most popular containers are designed for summer display, including lush, tropical plants and flowering plants with bold colors for summer months; however, fall and winter containers can be equally spectacular and provide the seasonal eye-catching interest. For fall months we suggest using Garden Mums, ornamental Kale and Cabbage, Violas, and Pansies mixed with cold-hardy perennials, such as Coral Bells, Sedums, and ornamental grasses. Some fall containers can hold up well through the mild winter, but adding a smaller evergreen shrub will certainly extend the seasonal interest. There is also a number of ways to enhance the winter look of the container. One of our favorite ideas for winter months is to add the branches of Red Twig Dogwood or exfoliating birch branches, along with the winterberries and other greenery from evergreen trees and pine cones to provide the detailed features. specific or broad landscape management

Regardless of the season, the key is to keep the balanced composition in planters and a good proportion between colors and textures. This is especially important when the planters are grouped together. When designing a container combination, we look for a visual balance between each container. The color palette, textures, heights, and shapes of containers will influence both the final design and the unity of the composition. The other important aspect is to follow the recipe “thriller-filler-spiller” – a formula for a successful plant combination. 

Thrillers are focal points, usually the tallest plant, with the most attractive attributes. For example, unique tropicals, tall ornamental grasses, shrubs with interesting flowers, or foliage. We like to use tropical Palms, Banana Leaves, Cordyline, Hibiscus, or Mandevilla as seasonal thrillers. Fillers are medium-size plants that fill the space around the thrillers. They usually have a spreading habit and offer either many clusters of flowers or ornamental foliage. We often use Begonia, Petunia, Verbena, or Lantana as flowering fillers and Coleus, Caladium, or Variegated Ginger as fillers with interesting foliage and contrasting colors. The main role of spillers is to finish and soften the look of the planter combination. They often bring together the composition by including similar colors, or textures as other plants used in the planter. For this purpose, we use the trailing plants, such as Variegated Vinca, Sweet Potato Vine, Bacopa, trailing Petunia, Geranium, Dichondra, and a very popular Creeping Jenny. 

There is no exact template for all planters, as each design is unique and carefully planned for a specific location. While we follow the “thriller-filler-spiller” recipe, we also keep in mind that the plants need to relate to the scale of the planter, location, amount of sun/shade, and watering needs. When designing the planter, we consider all criteria and adjust accordingly to the client’s needs, so the eye-catching planters will accent the landscape throughout the entire season.

Brandscaping

The Relationship Between Effective Landscape Management and Your Brand

In the words of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Have you ever wondered what people are saying about your company when you aren’t around? Have you considered all possible avenues to make the best first impression possible? Chances are there is one thing you haven’t thought too deeply about when considering your brand: landscape management.

I’m sure you’re wondering what landscaping has to do with your brand, right? A brand is really nothing more than a combined set of individual perceptions or opinions – the big picture. There are many small components to building a brand, such as logo design, color schemes, a website, social media presence, and physical environment. When you combine multiple successful factors, in theory, you should achieve a successful brand.

Here’s the thing about effective landscaping: it can positively affect or enhance almost every single branding component. If you have quality landscaping at your company’s physical locations, you are already set up for success. Effective landscaping can be used to direct the eye to strategic signage or logo placements. Colorscaping can be utilized to maintain a sense of brand color consistency across a physical campus. Picturesque landscaping can be used in photographs as content for a website or social media pages.

Landscaping alone can be what sets your brand apart from the competition. Commercial retail sites, office buildings, and multi-family housing brands all have one goal in common: to lease available space. When a potential customer goes to visit various sites in search of a lease, a multitude of variables is at play.

Picture this: two properties are identical in square footage, regional location, lease term, and price. One of those properties is well-manicured with green turf, crisp edges, and pops of color. The other property doesn’t look bad, but it certainly doesn’t have the same visual appeal and attention to detail as the first. Considering all other aspects are identical, at which property would you choose to sign a lease?

A common pitfall is an assumption that a low price means the best deal. The problem with that assumption is this: price does not always equal value. Rather than asking yourself how much you’re paying for quality landscaping, ask yourself what you’re getting for what you’re paying.

When initially designing your visual branding, you probably weren’t searching for the cheapest graphic designer you could find. More likely, you spent time researching and choosing a qualified designer who could deliver an exceptional product. The same should apply to the visual appeal of your company’s landscaping.
When deciding on a landscape management provider, you want to ensure you’re hiring a qualified company that can assist you in achieving a professional appearance. Chapel Valley will provide you with a lively, unique landscaping experience.

For questions or more information about professional landscape management, please visit www.chapelvalley.com.