Chapel Valley Designs & Installs A Natural Learning Garden at the Congressional Schools of Virginia

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 complimented 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 are 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 the 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 to enter 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 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 the 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