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Keeping your Irrigation System Healthy

Spring has sprung, your lawn looks lush and green and beautiful, your plants and flowers are thriving, and you've been savvy enough to have an irrigation system installed to ensure that your investment stays healthy through the drier months.   So far, so good, but it’s important to remember that the most critical step is now ensuring that your irrigation system works as it should.  Once installed, it is tempting to forget about it, but the possibility that it isn't working efficiently is a risk you don't want to take when you've invested the time and money to make your garden beautiful. A malfunctioning irrigation system can quickly create more issues instead of solve them, and it involves a lot more than simply repairing obvious problems, such as broken pipes or sprinkler heads.  There are variables that can be hard to account for unless you have an expert on your side.   Things to consider:   Overwatering can be just as damaging as "under"watering, and only a maintenance professional can make sure you're not doing either.   An expert can adjust your system based on features of your landscape such as slopes (prevent run-off), amount of shade, location of bushes/trees and other obstacles that might impact water coverage. The wrong sprinkler head can end up watering your sidewalk or your neighbor's property.  Different sprinkler heads are available to water as much or as little square footage as needed.  Trust your maintenance expert to be able to optimize coverage. Routine inspections of your irrigation system are imperative to maximum system performance. Inspections will identify clogged heads, broken water lines and other issues that can wreak havoc on your landscape and cause your water bill to soar. Irrigation maintenance services

The Dirt on Dirt: It’s Not All Created Equal

Dirt is arguably the most crucial factor when it comes to growing plants and grass. While fertilizers, water, and sunlight are important, dirt serves as the foundation for all growth. Not all dirt can sustain life; if you choose the wrong dirt or don’t know what’s in your own yard, you’ll be wasting your time and money trying to grow something where it simply cannot grow. By knowing what kind of soil you have, you can ensure that your spring planting turns into a full year of vibrant, healthy plants.  Sunrise Landscape and Design understands dirt and has over 30 years of experience in creating thriving Northern Virginia landscapes – contact us to get the info on your dirt! What is Dirt? Dirt is soil. It consists of organic material that has decomposed, organic material that is still decomposing, broken down rocks, metals, minerals, and even fossils. The composition of dirt varies from area to area, and particle sizes vary based on the primary component in the soil.   Why is Dirt so important to your lawn and garden? The basic function of dirt is to anchor plants by holding roots and storing nutrients and water that are essential for plant growth. The ability of these plants to thrive in a landscape depends on certain characteristics of the soil. A soil test can provide the necessary information for proper fertilization.  When the proper amount of fertilization is applied at the appropriate time, nutrient runoff is minimized, money saved and plant health is optimized.   What is a soil test? A soil test is an analysis of the nutrient content, composition, and other characteristics of soil, such as the acidity or pH level. Tests are performed

Choose Your Landscape Company Wisely

Choose Your Landscape Company Wisely - 30 Characteristics of Professional Landscape Company As we roll into fall, many businesses and homeowners begin to renegotiate their landscape maintenance contracts. Some may start shopping around for a new landscape company, while others are just now thinking about choosing a landscape professional to take care of their lawns. How do you know if a company is "legitimate" and that you're going to get what you pay for?  In celebration of our 30 year anniversary, here are 30 characteristics of an experienced, professional landscape company that you should look for when choosing a landscape company to take care of your property: Every employee is wearing a uniform. A professional uniform with the company logo makes the landscaping team easily identifiable. There is no doubt who is on your property taking care of your landscape. Trucks and equipment are clearly marked, clean, and well-kept. There are no unmarked pickups or lawn mowers, and all equipment runs properly. The company performs background checks on its employees. Your safety and security and that of your property are important.  Background checks help eliminate security risks. Phone calls are answered promptly and courteously. Someone is always there to address your questions and concerns. Your calls get returned within minutes. If you do reach a voicemail or have a difficult to answer, someone calls you back almost immediately. The company has a professional website. You can tell that they have invested in their business and are sincere about what they do. The company can provide references. If you want to hear some testimonials from current clients, the landscaper has no problems locating customers to whom you can speak. They are fully licensed, bonded, and insured.

30 Things You Could Be Doing Other Than Yard Work

What could you be doing if you didn’t have to battle the heat and bugs to keep your landscape looking well maintained and beautiful? We’ve compiled a list of 30 things you could be doing when you leave the yard work and landscape maintenance to us.   You could be… 1…antiquing. We live in an area full of antiques! Try Leesburg, Fredericksburg, Winchester, or Frederick, MD for some good finds. 2… having a water gun fight. With or without kids, there’s nothing better to beat the summer heat than an old fashioned water gun showdown. 3… reading a good book. Did you know that there are 600,000 to 1,000,000 new books published in the United States every year? 4… trying out a new recipe. Cucumber salad? Yes, please. 5… visiting the zoo. Have you seen Bei Bei, the new Giant Panda cub? How about Jetty, the sea lion? If you haven’t been out to the National Zoo lately, it’s worth the trip. 6… taking a nap. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.” 7… writing an old friend. Bring back the lost art of writing. Think of how thrilled one of your friends would be to find an actual handwritten letter from you in their mailbox! 8… trying a new restaurant. Maybe you’ll find a po-boy made of burnt ends (Sweet Nola’s in Winchester) or Whiskey Duck Nachos (Monocacy Crossing in Frederick) – whatever it is, it’ll be worth the drive. 9… riding roller coasters at Kings Dominion. Another kid favorite, sometimes it’s easy to forget that we live so close to an amusement park. If rides aren’t your thing, check out

Seven Core Areas of Lawn Maintenance

If you want a lush, green lawn, it’s not necessarily as simple as mowing and watering. Lawn care can actually be very complicated. To help you out, here are our Seven Core Areas of Lawn Maintenance: Soil testing – Sometimes the most important step is the one most often overlooked. Testing your soil for its pH level and nitrogen and phosphorus content will actually save you a lot of headaches in the long-run. Once you know your soil makeup, you’ll be able to figure out what types of fertilizers (and what quantities) your lawn really needs. Fertilizing – At a minimum, you should fertilize every spring and fall. There’s ammonium sulfate and numerous all-purpose fertilizers to choose from. Make sure to use caution, though. Too much fertilizer can burn your lawn, and ammonium sulfate only provides a short green boost to it. Your lawn needs a balanced diet of nutrients in order to stay green and healthy. Watering – The frequency and amount of time you need to water your lawn is going to vary based upon your grass variety and location. Most of the time, watering deeply once a week will do the job. Deep watering encourages the grass to grow deeper roots, which helps the overall health of your lawn. If you step on your grass and it springs back up, you know that you’re on the right track moisture-wise. Mowing – Mowing is a calculated effort. The more thought and planning you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Make sure you remove any debris from your yard before you fire up your mower. Debris is not only a safety hazard, but sticks and rocks will dull your