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Incorporating Water Features in Your Landscape

Having a water feature in your garden is one of the most tranquil and relaxing upgrades you can make to your outdoor environment.  The sound of water can transplant you to far away places without ever leaving home.  Whatever you decide to do, it ultimately depends on your taste and the physical characteristics of your yard. You want your water feature to complement your existing landscape, not detract from it.  Niagara Falls is lovely, but not necessarily when it is rushing through your yard. Sunrise Landscape and Design has over 30 years of experience creating beautiful landscapes.  We have an extensive portfolio of landscape designs incorporating water features.  If you are thinking of adding a water feature to your landscape consider the following: A pond can be a beautiful addition to your landscape if the ground conditions are favorable.  Once our experts determine the ground is stable enough to support a pond, you should consider the surrounding landscape and make sure your pond looks organic to your garden.  Selecting the proper edging is key to creating a natural look. If your dream is to have a pond stocked with fish, be sure to select the right location.  The care and maintenance of fish doesn’t necessarily have to take up that much time if you chose a proper location for your pond.  The health of the habitat for your fish depends on the amount of light available, the plant life, feeding and cleaning of the pond.  Fish need shady areas and floating plants can also be a source of shade.  However, the placement of the pond is critical.  Aside from the light considerations, it’s important to avoid low areas of the yard where pesticides and fertilizer

Creating Curb Appeal – It’s All About the Landscaping Plan

Whether you are selling your home or just want to have the most attractive landscape in the neighborhood, creating curb appeal can transform your yard into a beautiful, attractive space.  The most successful landscapes have a well thought out and planned approach to curb appeal.  It can simply be adding color with flower pots and seasonal plantings, or adding character and dimension with walkways and water features.  How simple or complex your curb appeal should be, is up to you.  Either way, a landscaping plan is the most effective way to bring your ideas to life.  When putting together a landscaping plan, consider the following: Hardscape – Curb appeal is ultimately about moving the eye from the street to the front of the house.  An attractive walkway with curves and flower bed accents is a great way to make this a pleasant transition.  Adding a bench creates a separate focal place and provides a spot for additional plantings. Lighting – Simple outdoor lighting can bring your home to life at night.  Use accent lights to highlight architectural or landscaping details.Seasons – When designing for curb appeal, make sure it will look inviting through all seasons.  As spring flowers begin to die down and lose their appeal, shrubs and trees can take over as the dominant features. Maintenance – All good landscaping plans should incorporate maintenance.  Spring and fall clean-ups, pruning, lawn care, weeding, edging and mulching are all important tasks in maximizing curb appeal. Color – Adding color to your landscape can be accomplished in many ways.  Try adding one or two large, uniquely shaped pots and fill with colorful plantings.  Add a splash of color by painting the door or a bench.  Be sure

Landscape Lighting Installation

So you’re thinking about installing a landscape lighting system, great, but how do you do it? Of course you already know that you’ll need electricity to power it, lights, a transformer, etc.  Your landscape lighting plan will dictate how many low voltage lights are needed and where they should be placed. Typically landscape lighting includes spot and accent lights, pathway lights, flood lights and deck lights. But how do you design and install a system so that it looks professional? First, you need your system, which usually includes; fixtures, a transformer, wire and wire nuts, hub or junction boxes, a light sensor and timer. Next, you’ll need tools like wire cutters and strippers, pliers, a trenching shovel, a multimeter, a drill w/ concrete bits, and screws.  Assuming you’ve already calculated the load of the system based on the length of wire and wattage draw of the fixtures you’ve planned, you’re ready to get started! Install the transformer in a location that’s inconspicuous while still allowing you to plug into a GFCI outlet, usually on your garage electrical circuit. If you don’t have a GFCI outlet available, you’ll need to install one or have an electrician install one for your transformer. Place the fixtures in the practical locations first, like path lights along a garden path, or step lights for your deck steps. Place up lights at the base of focal plantings or trees to make them stand out at night as features in the landscape. Last, place wash lights to create secondary or more subtle accents in the landscape. Run the wiring to each fixture from the transformer, taking care to record where the wires are buried on the plan. Lights should be connected in

Keeping Your Ghosts and Goblins Safe this Halloween

Creating the perfect Halloween Haunted House can be a spooktacular experience! Remember that ghosts and goblins of all ages will be running through your yard to fill their bags up with treats as they race from house to house. Crafting a scary yet safe environment can mean the difference between a hauntingly good time and someone actually getting hurt.  Lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating a frightening ambiance. A well-lit yard with low voltage LED lights not only can light your walkways and sidewalks, but are economical to install and maintain. Compliment your LED lights with Jack-O-Lanterns that have glow sticks inside or battery powered lights to help illuminate your yard without being a fire hazard. Also check to make sure that your outdoor lights are working including flood or sensor lights.  In addition to setting up lighting, make sure to clean up your yard before the big night. Remove all tripping hazards like children’s toys, hoses, bikes and mark any exposed tree roots to ensure they can be seen by every child in costume; especially those with masks as part of their outfit. Leaves should be raked away from sidewalks and curbs so everyone can identify where the drop off is between sidewalk and street. Pets can be cute dressed up in costume for Halloween but it is best if they are leashed so they do not inadvertently jump or bite someone. Also, some children are highly allergic to dogs and cats so do not let Fido or Kitty help answer the door; especially with little kids that may be frightened of your pet.  Halloween can be a fun night for trick or treaters of all ages. Creating a spooky

Warm Up Your Fall Nights and Enhance Your Hardscape with a Fire Pit

With the chilly nights and early nightfall approaching, now is the perfect time to extend the use of your outdoor living space by installing a custom built fire pit. A fire pit adds warmth and character to every hardcape and is great for entertaining outdoors in the chilly months.   Custom built fire pits generally are designed to match the existing outdoor aesthetic and can be added seamlessly to existing hardscapes. Most fire pits are set in gravel or on a natural, hardscape surface as stone, brick or slate. Installing a portable or permanent fire pit on a wood surface is not recommended as embers can fly; causing a major fire hazard.   Photo by Phillip Nobile The majority of fire pits are constructed of natural stone, brick or slate and can be installed as a wood burning fire pit or one that uses propane. Many homeowners love the traditional smell of a wood burning pit, but this is more labor intensive as you need to continually handle the wood to keep the flames alive.   For those that chose the propane option, you are giving up that fall, fire smell but can relax and enjoy the warmth from the fire pit with just the flick of a switch.   With every installation of a fire pit, it is important to know the county or town regulations on installation and if your homeowner’s association or insurance company will allow them. Generally, it is good practice to install a custom built fire pit a minimum of 10 feet away from your home, your neighbor’s home and any existing structure such as a shed. Remember to clear low hanging branches away from where the fire

Benefits of Adding Hardscaping to Your Yard

With this period of cool mornings and warm afternoons, there is still time left to enjoy your yard before we hunker down for the cold winter ahead. A great way to continue to enjoy your yard, as well as create a beautiful space to enjoy your morning cup of Joe, is to add hardscaping elements to your landscape. What is hardscaping? Hardscaping is adding permanent design elements to your landscaping and gardens such as paved walkways, a fire pit, patios, pools, water features and retaining walls. Different materials can be used in creating hardscaping for your yard. The most common materials used in creating a beautiful and lasting hardscape depend on the area you live in. For Northern Virginia, we recommend using:   Pavers – For use in driveways, patios and walkways. It is durable and can withstand the freeze - thaw cycles we go thru in this region. There are many different colors and styles to allow for great and interesting designs. Stone – Strong, natural, regal and long lasting stone such as flagstone and Carderock are recommended for longevity and for an elegant look. Brick – Great for walkways, patios and is used for a classic look. There are several reasons to add hardscape to your yard. Creating a backyard oasis adds value to your home, correcting a landscaping issue or increasing outdoor space for entertaining friends and family. If you have uneven or sloping land throughout your property, adding hardscape such as a retaining wall can even out your yard as well as address any drainage issues you may have. Whether you are looking to increase your outdoor living space, add a patio with an outdoor kitchen or create a place for

Looking back – The Sunrise Story

Sunrise Landscape + Design have been part of the Northern Virginia community for over 27 years. Originally formed in 1986 as Sunrise Lawn and Landscaping Services in a small shop in Reston, the company has grown to over 40 employees and an assortment of equipment and vehicles. The Sunrise name has been synonymous with the owner, Joe Markell's family for over 60 years. Sun Rise Dairy, located in Reston, was owned by Joe's great grandparents and Sunrise Amoco located off Baron Cameron Avenue, was owned by his father and grandfather. As Northern Virginia developed and changed, Sunrise Lawn and Landscaping Services evolved into Sunrise Landscape + Design. However, the commitment to deliver quality products, timely service and provide an outstanding experience for each client has remained the same for all of these years. The” Sunrise Way” is built on the principles of honesty and integrity. Just like a handshake was a contract and your word was a bond, Sunrise Landscape + Design stand behind their products, promises and service. Being a leader in their industry, Sunrise focuses on sustainable landscape solutions for both residential and commercial clients.  When creating landscape designs, they use plantings that are native and thrive in the climate and soil of Northern Virginia. They also focus on being "green" by recycling material used at each installation, install LED lights in their holiday and outdoor lighting systems and use and install water runoff systems to maximize rain water. Being earth friendly is another component of the "Sunrise Way" to reduce their carbon footprint and create environmentally friendly landscaping systems. Their commitment to their community, environment and clients are the reasons Sunrise Landscape + Design have been part of Northern Virginia for over

Enhance your Landscape Design with Hardscape

True to form, March came in like a lion and hopefully will go out like a lamb. With the one two punch of sleet and snow last week, we can safely say that it is time to start planning for the upcoming warm weather. As important as it is to prepare your lawn, trees and plants for the arrival of spring, it is just as important to start thinking about what you want your outdoor living space to look like. If you are planning on entertaining friends and family outside in the warm sunshine, ask yourself this; do I have the look and functionality of a great outdoor living space to host the ultimate BBQ? If your answer is no, it is time to add hardscapes and structures to your home in Loudoun or Fairfax Counties. Creating an outdoor living space can be done in any size yard. It is as simple as incorporating structures and features that blend seamlessly into your existing landscape to create the look that it has always been there. Adding a new patio with pergola that gently holds draping will provide a place to sit and drink your morning coffee, enjoy dinner al fresco and offers shade from the hot summer sun. Gaze up at the stars while listening to music with friends in a custom constructed gazebo that contains wireless speakers and a peekaboo roof. For the ultimate grill master, constructing an outdoor kitchen with a built in grill on a patio with enough room to entertain your friends and family will have you be the envy of your neighborhood. Add stone or brick pavers to create a walkway or path around your backyard oasis to easily navigate through

Spring Cleaning – To Prune or Not To Prune? That is the Question..

March is right around the corner and with that comes thoughts of baseball season, March Madness and of warm, spring weather. Its’ our time to come out of hibernation; replace our snow boots for flip flops (maybe) and assess how things look as the winter thaw subsides. What this means for you, that it is time for spring cleaning both inside and outside your home. Your yard, trees, plants, bushes and remnants of your garden, all take a beating during the winter months. In order to have golf course type lawns this summer, you must start preparing your property now. The first thing we recommend is to take inventory of what your turf, trees, bushes and all plants look like. Do you have dead spots throughout your turf, tree limbs hanging down and broken, damage to shrubs and plants; what areas do you need to focus on? Next, eliminate dead turf and turn over your yard and add new soil and seed. Water the area daily to promote growth. During this process you will see downed tree limbs, loose dirt and leaves. Remove these items from your lawn so they do not hinder new growth. During the spring cleaning process, it is also important to prune bushes and cut back trees to encourage progress. However, specific species should be pruned at different times, so do your homework before becoming Edward Scissor Hands on your plants. Pull weeds from your garden and flower beds and prepare the area with new soil by turning it over just as you did your lawn. Sketch out a flower design for your beds; one in which the colors compliment the exterior of your home or attract certain types of butterflies

Increase the Value of Your Home

Maybe you are hopeful that with the housing market improving you will be able to sell your home to upgrade or relocate in the less-than-distant future. How much impact will that patio or hedge you’ve been considering have on your ultimate home value? More than you think! There are many elements that can impact home sales and values. The Northern Virginia area has a somewhat unique set of circumstances that contribute to the end result. The overall economy has changed conditions somewhat over the last few years. That being said, there is some data that indicates how important it is to have an attractive lawn and landscape to maximize your investment in your home. The Washington, D.C.-based American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) suggests you should invest 5 percent to 10 percent of your home’s value on landscaping over the course of time you live in your home.  There is good reason to believe that you will recuperate most if not all of that investment when you sell. A study reported by the Horticulture Department of Auburn University stated that there was a consistent increase of 5-11% in perceived home value when homes with good landscaping versus comparable homes with nonexistent, fair, and poor landscaping. These results were consistent through seven different states included in this study. Design sophistication, the type that only seasoned landscape professionals consistently provide, and appropriate plant size were named as two of the most important elements that affected potential buyers’ opinion of a home’s worth. It isn’t just the actual price of the home that is impacted, but the amount of interested potential home-buyers, bids, and the speed of the sale. If two homes on the same street are in