Yearly Archives: 2011


Fall and Winter Landscapes

Everyone knows how beautiful a spring landscape can be with all of the emerging foliage and flowering that happens. For me I think the Fall and even the winter can display awesome colors, textures and elements that may go unnoticed. Most trees have some sort of fall color that combined with other elements in the landscape that show a different perspective. As landscape designers we look for plants that have at least 3 seasons of interest. That could be flowers, foliage color, texture, fall color, form, bark, berries or some other interesting feature that is unique to that plant or group of plants. Then you have hardscape elements such as boulders, statuary, water features, walls, patios and walkways that add another dimension to the landscape. These all add different interests at different times of the year with elements from season to season. One of my favorite landscape elements is low voltage lighting. It not only is good for safety reasons but it extends the enjoyment of the landscape into the night. Good professionally installed lighting can really add to the interest and enjoyment of a landscape. In the winter when the nights are longer it just shows off your landscape, and if it snows, that just makes it that much better.My whole point is that the Fall and Winter can be of great interest, beauty and enjoyment of the landscape. Don't make your landscape just about the spring flowers! If you think only about the foliage and flowers you may just be missing out! Joe Contact Sunrise Landscape and Design, Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company for all your lawn maintenance needs.  We are a full service landscape contractor serving Northern Virginia's Fairfax County and Loudoun

What is Landscape Sustainability?

Since “green” and “sustainable” have become overly "commoditized" in the recent years, much of the emphasis has been lost when the average person runs across these terms. Companies are adopting these terms in an attempt to set their business apart from the rest of the crowd, but with critical observation, it becomes painfully obvious in some cases that the “greening” of a company is little more than a sleight of hand. However, it should be noted that scores of companies have fully embraced and integrated sustainable and green practices into their business. These companies should be commended for their efforts. At the local level, Loudoun County and the Chamber of Commerce sponsor a competition, the Loudoun Green Business Challenge, a friendly points-based competition and certification process that requires companies to analyze their business operations and its impact on the environment. Click here to learn more about the challenge. Landscape sustainability is a moving objective. It is a principle rather than a condition that can be attained. Just as everyone has personal goals, such as being more caring, more patient, etc., our landscape goals are to design, build, and maintain gardens and lawns in a more sustainable way. This interpretation may be too loose and too far from absolute sustainability for some, but Sunrise encourages all levels of sustainability. It is too easy to be cynical and critical of claims of sustainability. It is much more demanding and favorable to apply sustainable principles to the landscape. While our clients say they want native plants, xeriscaping, and organic turf-care, very few know what this means for their landscape. Is it beneficial to put a sun loving but native plant in a densely shaded area? Is over applying

Sunrise Wins 2011 National Capital Business Ethics Award

The National Capital Business Ethics Awards were established in 2001. The Awards are presented annually by the National Capital Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals in partnership with George Mason University. The award was established to honor companies that demonstrate a firm commitment to ethical business practices in everyday operations, management philosophies, and responses to crisis or challenges. After nominations are placed in January of each year the nominees are contacted and must submit an official Entry Form for consideration. The entries are then evaluated by an independent panel of judges based on the following criteria and also based on site visits: -An illustration of the company's commitment to business ethics as demonstrated by direct communication from the CEO and other senior officers. -Evidence of how ethics are a living part of the company's philosophy, culture and everyday business operations. -A clearly articulated means by which ethical questions, problems or conflicts are brought to the attention of management and a mechanism that ensures the fair and consistent treatment of all parties involved. -Clear evidence that employees throughout the organization understand and agree to follow the company's ethical standards. -Employee and/or customer data which supports the fact that the organization is ethical in its behavior and business practices. -A consistently high quality of products, services, business and production practices including demonstrated awareness of environmental impact, if appropriate. Sunrise is an American dream story of a guy, a truck and hard work morphing into a premier landscape company in the area 25 years later. Joe Markell is the President and sole shareholder of Sunrise Landscape + Design. His local roots and the Sunrise name run deep in Northern Virginia. Sunrise is a family business name

Sunrise Performs Communtiy Service in Leesburg, Virginia

Sycolin Creek Elementary School in Leesburg, VA is in the process of designing and installing Phase II of their playground. When they looked across their student body, with approximately 10% of the student population in the special education program, SCES realized they needed an equally unique playground where all of the students could have fun and experience the joy of inclusive play. Through grants and PTA fundraisers SCES is slowly raising the money to build the playground. They were able to get a local church to build the walls surrounding the playground area but were in need of some sprucing up and shade. Sunrise owner, Joe Markell, whose children attend Sycolin Creek, donated 4 Zelkova trees to plant around the playground area. Sunrise employees donated their time and helped students from the regular education classes alongside students from the special needs classes to plant the 15 foot tall trees. It was a great event which was almost cancelled by the rain but then the sun broke out as well as smiles on everyone's faces. There will be elements in this playground to allow every child to engage in meaningful and appropriate play and now thanks to Sunrise Landscape + Design they'll have lots of shade to play under as well. Please visit Building Bridges if you would like more information on how you could help Sycolin Creek Elementary with their playground campaign. Contact Sunrise Landscape and Design, Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company for all your lawn maintenance needs.  We are a full service landscape contractor serving Northern Virginia's Fairfax County and Loudoun County.  Whether you need landscape design with water features, landscape lighting, walkways and patios or lawn maintenance services such as lawn

Now is the time to establish a healthy turf!

Now is the best time of year to establish a healthy turf! With the cooler night temperatures and more moisture the time is right for growing cool season turf. There are a few things for you to remember in creating a healthy turf. 1) First is to test your soil. Review past article about establishing a healthy turf with soil testing. 2) Choose a blend of quality seed. See VA recommendation of quality seed. I recommend a blend of 3 turf type tall fescues with 5-10% bluegrass. 3) When overseeding one of the most critical thing in the success of germination is seed to soil contact. Essentially it means getting the seed in good contact with the soil actually mixing it into the soil in some way. Aeration, slitseeding, spiking or topdressing are some good ways to get this seed to soil contact that is so critical. 4) After the seed has been spread into the soil the next critical element is moisture. Providing adequate water to the seed while it is down is also critical to it's success. Seed should be watered daily and as it emerges it is important to continue to water daily for the first few weeks and then keep the soil moist to allow for the success of the growth. 5) Nutrition (fertilization) is the final element in keeping a healthy lawn. Fertilization should be done to maintain proper nutrition of the turf so it can grown for years to come. If you want to have any success in establishing a lawn from seed it would ideally be done within the next 2 weeks. Once the last week in October comes it is usually to cool for the seed germination

Celebrating 25 Years in Business

Yes it is hard to believe but Sunrise is celebrating over 25 years in business. If you take the business name of Sun Rise it has been in my family since the 1930’s when my great grandparents were operating Sun Rise Dairy. It is amazing to look at the changes that have occurred since I started back in 1986. A gallon of gas was $.89, a movie ticket was $2.75 and computers were just coming available. We are so much more efficient now than we were back then due to the technology of computers and communications, even mowers are more productive. We have survived 4 (?) recessions, numerous Presidents and several natural disasters (hurricanes, and several 12” snow storms). As with any business we have had our ups and downs, our share of great employees and not so great employees; but our core values have not changed all that much. We have always tried to serve our customers needs and bring value to what we do. Landscaping is a part of everyone’s life; from the parks we visit, the athletic fields we play on, the yards and outdoor living spaces we have at our homes are all areas that have touched our lives and give us great memories. That is what I have of my years in business; great memories and milestones that I am very proud of. We have developed a great facility, great people, quality work and safe equipment, and a base of great customers that we are adding to every day. Sunrise is a company you can trust to be professional, look out for their customer’s interests and deliver the quality that their customers have come to rely on. I

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How to Create a Healthy Lawn!

The first and most important part of establishing a good lawn begins with the soil it will be grown in. If you don’t have good soil it won’t matter how much fertilizer, watering or aeration you do, your grass still will not thrive. Begin by having a soil test done. You can check out: for information on collecting the soil, cost, where and how to send it. I recommend the routine test, along with the organic matter and soluble salts tests. The test(s) will help you determine the pH level, nutrients and percentage of organic material within the soil. The more practical information you know the better decisions you can make.

Buying Local: What it Means to You!

Here’s some information I came across in a recent edition of Lawn and Landscape magazine. I think it’s some excellent information. Boosting the local economy!! Buy local. Though certainly not a new idea, supporting local businesses has received a push from a national movement of independent business owners that have formed Independent We Stand to educate their communities on the benefits of shopping at neighborhood stores. Independent We Stand is funded in part by STIHL.

Sunrise One of Four Companies to Receive Sustainability Award Nationwide

Sunrise Landscape + Design was one of four companies nationwide to receive a “Sustainable Company Award” from the Professional Landcare Network. We were recognized for our efforts to protect and conserve resources, reduce waste, prevent pollution, and promote an ethic of environmental Sustainability and improvement through the use of innovative products and practices.