Yearly Archives: 2013


Deer Salad

More often than not these days, my plant palette is affected to some degree by the presence of deer in our area. It’s hard to believe, but a little more than a hundred years ago, deer were on the verge of extinction. Now, as winter approaches, as other sources become scarce, a good number of the plants on your property will become very appealing as deer ‘salad’. What can we do about this problem? Deer fencing is an option although a height of 7’-8’ is needed to be effective. Deer repellants are another option and often make sense in in a few selected areas. There are also sound, water and lighting devices designed to scare the deer away. Perhaps the best solution presents itself at the design stage. While it has been said that no plants are deer-proof, there is plant material that is less desirable and through an original design incorporating these choices the deer will often look elsewhere for their dinner. I have collected many deer-resistant plant lists over the years and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension has an easy to use website for this purpose as well. Sunrise landscape + design has professional and reliable personnel that will install deer fencing or apply deer repellant for you, as well as creative designers who can develop landscape plans with deer in mind. So, if you've grown tired of feeding the deer, give us a call at 703-544-0028 and we can work together to find a solution to your problem.

Should I Build a Patio or Deck?

Limited space and the demand for efficiency are usually the primary reasons to build a deck. Town homes and Condominiums almost always utilize decks because building a patio takes up too much yard space. If you are in a single family home, however, a patio is a great way to create a warm, welcoming place to entertain and dine. Patios have several advantages to decks, the first being long term maintenance. Most patios that are properly installed require almost no maintenance in the long term. Decks require routine maintenance in the form of pressure washing, staining, and replacing rotted or warped boards. Patios allow the living space to be integrated into the landscape more elegantly compared to decks. Decks are separated from the landscape because of their square shape, railings, color and height. Patios can be curvaceous, organic, and crafted from natural stone to blend into the surroundings. Normally, patios are built at ground/grade level; decks are usually above grade level and leave the people using the deck more exposed to the elements and prying neighbors. By being built on the ground level, patios are easily integrated into the landscape by the use of adapted shrubs and perennials. A ceiling can easily be implemented by planting trees nearby for shade and visual enclosure. To create a truly comfortable outdoor room, patios offer the warmth of an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Combine the fireplace with a patio, a nice set of outdoor furniture, a soft landscape surround, and you’ll have an outdoor addition to your home to enjoy year round. Sunrise has a team of Landscape Designers who can meet with you to discuss your landscape needs and dreams. Any of our experienced designers will

A Landscape Consultation

When I meet with a potential new client to discuss a project that they may have in mind for their residence, whether it be hardscape, landscaping, a water feature, lighting or a combination the appointment often falls into two distinctly different experiences. Often the homeowner will quickly come outside moving around the property pointing out various locations and issues and then ask when they could expect an estimate. While this might work for a small, quick proposal, there is another version of this appointment that I prefer. Many of my best new, and previous, clients will invite me inside and we will begin with some small talk to get to know each other and see if Sunrise might be a good fit for the work. There could be neighborhood restrictions, family interests or concerns, or even the family pet to consider before we get down to the nitty gritty of the proposal. I often share a picture book filled with various jobs Sunrise has completed and catalogs that have examples of the materials Sunrise often uses in their jobs. I encourage and welcome the opportunity to see any pictures or ideas the homeowner has saved on their tablet or gathered from magazines. I can then get a sense of their tastes and find out how they envision the space or areas being used. It is then much easier developing a program and maybe even involving them in the design process. By working together, we can best serve our Sunrise landscape + design customers. Our ultimate goal is for the client to be so pleased with the installation and experience that they will not consider calling anyone else when the next project is being considered and

Just Because You Have a Knife …

does that make you a surgeon? I am amazed and embarrassed by certain companies that call themselves landscapers.  It makes it difficult for consumers to understand what constitutes a reputable company vs some guy who bought a mower and says he is a landscaper. There are a few things that can help determine the value of the company that the consumer can hire such as the following: -Does the company have any certifications? -How long has the company been in business? -What are the employee's qualifications? -Is their website informative and does it give a good perspective of the company? -Are there online reviews that add insight to the companies professionalism? -Do they answer the phone and/or return calls in a timely manner? -Do they have the proper insurance, business licenses and credentials? While this may sound like a lot of information to consider I think it is crucial for protecting the biggest investment most of us have, our home. Landscaping done poorly, or wrong, can cost you a lot in the end. Poor plant choices can damage structures and create excessive maintenance costs along with actually bringing down your properties value.  Conversely good quality craftsmanship and planning can actually greatly improve the value and desirability of your home when you go to sell. It can also add to years of enjoyment, family bonding and usefulness of your property. So, I repeat my question do you want a true surgeon to operate on you or just some guy with a knife?                 Call Sunrise 703-544-0028

How to Design a Nice Back Yard

First, make a list of things you like or would like to do outside. Which areas of the yard would you like to use, the back yard, front, sides? Then think of ways to accommodate those activities. Maybe you have a few younger children who will appreciate a nice lawn to play in; you’ll need to make a way for the sun to grow a good stand of grass, or even start with a fresh sod installation. Another great way to provide wholesome outdoor exercise is to install a play set. Most of the time, it’s ideal to build a wooden frame surrounding the play set and fill the inside with soft, cushiony play mulch. Since the average backyard isn’t perfectly level, it will be necessary to build a retaining wall to have a flat, level area for the play set. Sunrise can help you design and build this. Most families enjoy grilling, bonfires and eating outside. The most common way to address these needs is to build a patio or deck. Patios for entertaining or dining should then be designed for the specific use that they will provide, like seating people at a table, or centering the guests around a cozy fire pit. Trees provide benefits like privacy, shade and screening into the design and make the space more comfortable. Pergolas provide partial shade and create a sense of enclosure by the overhead beams of wood, which act as a ceiling visually. But privacy doesn’t necessarily mean planting a tightly spaced row of Green Giant Arborvitae trees either, along your property line. By simply guiding the eye away from distractions with a partial screening, you can accomplish the same thing. All that

Watering of Plants

As a designer I am constantly asked about installing a “low maintenance” landscape.  For some reason I really get a kick out of this as people think that a living, growing landscape can look beautiful without any effort.  Landscapes like people need care and nuturing for them to be good looking and successful.  Water is vital to the survival of most living things.  Plants are no exception.  I would even dare to say that one of the main contributing factors to the death of a plant is water, either not enough or too much.  It has been proven that plants that are irrigated properly (either with an irrigation system or manually) will grow at a faster rate and will have more health and vigor than plants that are left alone and let mother nature do the work.  Bottom line; irrigation of plants is critical to the success and vigor of your landscape.

Pruning Your Landscape

Correct pruning is an essential maintenance practice for trees and shrubs in the home landscape. Pruning is not difficult if you understand the basics of how to prune. Trees and shrubs should be examined annually for pruning requirements. Too often, pruning is ignored for several years and become overgrown and often weak plants which often times will require drastic pruning in order to bring the plant to a manageable level.   We recently were performing a landscape renovation much of the landscape was over grown and had not been pruned in several years.  During the renovation there were Euonymus Alta, ‘Burning Bush’, that were completely over grown, covering the customer’s garage windows.  During our evaluation we also noticed that the plant had a lot of deadwood in the center which needed to be removed.   Our Supervisor professionally pruned the plant to a manageable level by reducing it below the garage window. During the process he found that there was another layer of plants growing underneath these monster plants which could not be seen prior to reducing them.  By reducing the plants it gave a fresh appearance to the front of the house providing sunlight to the garage.   Scheduled pruning can prevent a plant from overgrowing its space in the landscape and eliminates the need for drastic cutting of crowded, overgrown plants. It can allow for growth of plants under or adjacent to the pruned plant. Pruning can encourage plant vigor through the removal of weak, overcrowded growth. Such thinning often improves the visual balance or symmetry of the plant and provides a neat and clean appearance to your home.   Notice the vigor of these Burning Bushes upon renewal pruning.  SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!!!!  

Build it Right the First Time …

It will cost you less in the long run. One of the best ways to expand your home’s outdoor living space is to provide a hard surface for seating and entertaining. Patios can provide space to do almost anything you would want to do indoors, but also provide an opportunity for grilling, toasting marshmallows over a fire pit, or enjoying the fresh air and nature around you. They keep your home cleaner by preventing mud, grass and other plant debris from being tracked into the house. A patio also adds value to your home, not only by its added utility, but also to your home’s re-sale value by up to 10%. With all of these benefits, a patio can be a very desirable addition to your landscape. However, when many homeowners look into building a patio themselves, they realize the amount of time and hard work that is involved in the construction process is far greater than they realized. They then call various landscape companies for cost estimates, and end up choosing the lowest priced proposal. The problem with choosing the lowest priced bid is that you usually get what you pay for. Generally, you can gauge the quality of a product by its price; think Mercedes versus Kia.  Both products may get the job done, but only one will continue to work well for 15 years or more. The same is true when comparing building methods of patios. One estimate may be $2,500, another $4,500, while the other is $5,000, most likely, the higher priced patios are going to maintain their integrity for a longer period of time. You should also know beforehand how the patio will be built, not just what it will

Tree Planting at Sycolin Creek Elementary School

Sunrise Landscape and Design donated and planted a Star Magnolia tree and 3 holly bushes to celebrate Arbor day and Earth Day at Sycolin Creek Elementary School in Leesburg, Va on April 26th. The planting this year adds to a partnership celebrated during Arbor Day that was started 4 years ago when Sunrise owners Joe and Allison Markell’s children entered the elementary school. Sydney Dunlap's third grade class was the group that was able to witness the planting, and even help by planting the new tree. The Star Magnolia was planted along the front entrance of the school and joins a Red Maple, three Saucer Magnolias and two Kwansan Cherries planted in previous years. Several children in the class have been able to participate in, and learn from, the tree planting since they were in Kindergarten in 2010. The class was able to help mulch the Magnolia and learn about protective maintenance of trees once they are planted. Sunrise hopes that by providing this service to the school it will not only improve the aesthetics of the school and the school's footprint, but will also encourage the students to be more aware of their impact on their environment and hopefully pass the knowledge they gained about proper planting to their parents and families.  Sycolin Creek Elementary Principal, Derek Racino was also in attendance.

The Cicadas Are Coming

While there are cicadas every year this is the year that we will see the most. It happens every 17 years with this brood. These insects look very menacing, but that’s where the terror ends. In fact they don't bite or sting. Once the soil temperatures reach 65 degrees they will begin to emerge and begin their mating rituals which creates a lot of noise. There have been recorded decibels of over 110 which equals a lawn mower! Cicadas are food for animals and fish. Dogs even like to eat them. While it is safe for them to be eaten they can be a choking hazard if they eat too many of them. As far as damage to your landscape goes the main thing to protect will be small or young trees. The females will deposit their eggs under the bark on the smaller branches causing damage to the branch which can die or be weakened enough to break off after the eggs hatch and fall to the ground. Young trees can be wrapped in a fine mesh and tied off at the trunk to keep the cicadas from getting to any of the branches. Dogwoods are probably the most susceptible. Spraying really has no effect as their numbers are so large and they can travel very easily. The timeframe for the hatch is usually May and lasts for about 6 weeks, so by the end of June the numbers start to wind down and by July they are gone. There may be other broods of dog day cicadas that come every year but are not usually in great numbers so they are insignificant compared to the 17 year cicadas. If you have young ornamental