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Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits – Loudoun & Fairfax, VA

backyard patio and fire pit fireplace loudoun va

Fall is a time abundant with warm and cozy associations.  Do you see yourself bundled up in a sweater with a warm mug of something delicious, enjoying the cool and crisp air?  Chances are this image includes an outdoor fire.  Whether you imagine an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit, there are several factors to consider in the planning and, as in most things landscape, location is first on the list.

Place your fireplace or fire pit

How trafficked is the area in which you are planning to place your fireplace/pit?  Should it be on a deck or patio adjacent to your home?  An outdoor fireplace or fire pit will extend your home’s living space, making it an area you can enjoy almost year-round, and increase your home’s property value.

Thinking about how you like to entertain will help you pick the best placement for either a permanent structure or a portable one.  For example, if you have a pool you might want to consider placing the fireplace or fire pit nearby; your friends and family will gravitate towards it after a dip.  On the other hand, if you have smaller yard, you might want to put it closer to your house and let the surrounding landscape be a strong supporting player.  Whatever you decide, size and scale is always important.  Sunrise Landscape and Design has lots of ideas and we are happy to help you pick the best location for what you want.

Decide how you will use your fireplace / fire pit

It’s also important to really think about how you will use your fireplace / fire pit.  An outdoor fireplace or fire pit will immediately become the focal point of your landscape.  The warm glow of a fire is always inviting.  Don’t forget to think about furniture placement around it, if you intend to create an area for lounging.  If you are considering an outdoor fireplace that can be used for cooking, remember to leave enough space for a dining table and chairs. Space requirements could affect the placement of the structure.  This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised to know how many people find themselves so excited by the idea of construction that they forget to  think about the additional space that will be needed for the outdoor seating area.

Design your fireplace or fire pit

The design process is often the fun part.  If you’re considering a fireplace, you can opt for a “built in” style, attaching it to the side of the home or another adjacent wall in the outdoor space.  Stand-alone options are also available.  Materials can range from brick, to different kinds of stones or marble.  A fireplace is often a permanent structure with a firebox and a chimney.  It can be the traditional rectangle, or it can be a square, round, or oval.  The essential element is a fireproof firebox that is large enough to fit the wood in comfortably.

The exterior can be entirely designed up to your specifications, in harmony with the rest of your home, but the style of your outdoor space should harmonize with the rest of your landscape.  For example, brick gives a timeless appeal and character, and there are brick veneers that are easy to work with.  Stone and rocks, such as river rock and flagstone, can offer a stunning and organic look.  Bear in mind, if your home is a brick colonial, you might not want to consider stucco. Though it’s a much more inexpensive material, stucco is a better complement to a Southwestern style home.  Consistency in style is important from an aesthetic perspective as well as a practical one.  The more harmonious all parts of your landscaping are, the more cohesive the look. A cohesive look translates into increased property value.

Contact our experts at Sunrise

Sunrise Landscape and Design has built many different fireplace/fire pit structures with a wide variety of materials. We will work with you to design the perfect fireplace/fire pit to fit in seamlessly with your landscape and provide the perfect space for entertaining and enjoying the cool fall evenings. Our experts have all of this in hand, so relax, you don’t have to put on your Fire Marshall hat when considering a fireplace or fire pit for your fall and winter enjoyment.  We can do it for you.  Contact Sunrise Landscape and Design to get started!

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Core Aeration and Overseeding – Fall Lawn Care

Fall core aeration and overseeding lawn care

Fall is coming! After a hot and humid summer and predictions of a very cold winter, it’s time to create your game plan for putting your yard to bed. Fertilization, core aeration, overseeding, and pruning are all crucial ares of fall lawn care to include on your checklist.

Fertilize

Summer may have created burn or brown marks throughout your lawn due to the high heat and humidity. Fall is the perfect time to feed your lawn to give it a healthy start for next spring. Fertilizing during September and October preserves your lawn’s roots while replacing nutrients that were depleted this summer.

Core Aeration and Overseeding

Along with fertilization, core aeration allows nutrients, water, and air to reach the grass roots by piercing the soil with small holes and removing soil plugs. Core aeration is done during these first fall months to help the grass roots produce a robust yard in the spring. Typically the best time to aerate in Northern Virginia is mid-August to mid-October.

Overseeding is the spreading of grass seed onto existing lawn. This introduces new species of grass seed that are more drought tolerant, disease resistant, or more aesthetically appealing. The right blend will allow different species to take over when another is struggling, keeping your lawn looking full and healthy through the harsh winter and into next year. This annual seeding is best done in the fall, between mid-August and mid-September.

Pruning

Finally, don’t forget to trim back plants and bushes, and plant fall bulbs such as daffodil and tulips to enjoy next spring. Remember to prune correctly, as you can do more harm than good if it is not done properly.

If you’re ready to tackle your fall checklist, contact us for a range of Northern Virginia fall lawn care services, including core aeration and overseeding, and fall clean-up packages.

For informational videos on pruning and core aeration and overseeding, visit our Educational Videos page.

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Small Yard Design Tips – Leesburg and Ashburn, VA

Small yard design tips Ashburn and Leesburg, VA

Create an outdoor oasis in a small space with our small yard design tips.

Tiny homes and spaces are becoming more popular in a time when people are trading large for small in order to have more money for travel and other life experiences. While Sunrise provides lawn maintenance and design services for yards of all sizes, we recognize that many people in our area are living in retirement communities and communities where large yards are not the focus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create an outdoor oasis even in a small space.

We asked our amazing landscape designer, Alex, to share a few tips with our followers on ways to maximize a small yard and we have shared them below.

  1. Consider how you want to use your space.

    Do you entertain? Do you want a quiet place to read? Do you enjoy gardening? Are you looking for more privacy? All of these questions can be used to help hone in on what your ideal outdoor space should look like, and how it should function. Once you have a clear vision for HOW you want to use your space, the next step is planning.

  2. Make sure you do your homework.

    Small yards tend to have more utility lines running through them, so ALWAYS make sure you have lines marked before starting work and consider challenges such as drainage; watch for downspouts, and your neighbors’ downspouts, so that you can accommodate for how that may impact your small yard design plans.

  3. Plants are your friend.

    Sometimes a fence is not an option, or not in the budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some privacy. Evergreens such as Emerald Green or Degroot Arborvitaes give great, quick privacy screening without a huge permanent footprint. Consider mixing in an evergreen hedge using Laurels or Boxwoods and for a splash of color, sprinkle a flowering tree (such as the Crape Myrtle) into your small yard design plan.

  4. Consider hiring a professional.

    While designing an outdoor space can be enjoyable for some, it can often lead to feeling generally overwhelmed with the number of options that are out there, and the challenge of overload when looking at Pinterest or other design sites. A professional landscape designer can work with you to bring your vision to life by providing helpful drawings for HOA approval, while making suggestions that will maximize your space and budget. Landscaping services don’t have to break the bank and working with a professional can often save you money in the long run with helpful recommendations.

Ready to start creating an oasis in your small Ashburn or Leesburg yard? Contact us for a personalized quote and small yard design from our team of experts.

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Healthy Lawn Maintenance- Loudoun County, VA

Healthy lawn Loudoun County, VA

Soon the weather in Loudoun County, VA will be ideal to establish healthy grass! The second week of August through the third week of October brings cooler night temperatures and more moisture, perfect for growing cool season turf and grass. Whether you’re looking to improve your lawn health or completely renovate with new turf, there are a few things to remember when creating healthy grass.

1) Test your soil.

Test your soil for pH and nitrogen and phosphorus content. Once you know your soil composition, you’ll be able to determine which fertilizers, and in what amounts, your lawn needs.

2) Choose a blend of quality seed.

Most lawns in Loudoun County, and Northern Virginia in general, use cool season grasses, specifically a mix of Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and tall fescue. Here at Sunrise, we recommend a blend of 3 turf type tall fescues with 5-10% bluegrass.

3) Help the seed contact soil.

When overseeding, one of the most critical factors in the success of germination is seed to soil contact. In practice, this means mixing the seed into the soil in some way. Aeration, slitseeding, spiking, or topdressing are all good ways to get the seed to soil contact that is so critical to creating a healthy lawn.

4) Water.

After the seed has been spread into the soil, the next element to a healthy lawn is moisture. Providing adequate water to the seed is crucial to its success. Seed should be watered daily once spread and for the first few weeks after the seed emerges. After this point, keep the soil moist to continue to help it grow.

5) Fertilize.

Nutrition (fertilization) is the final element in maintaining a healthy lawn. Fertilization provides proper nutrition for your turf so it can grow for years to come.

6) Plan Ahead.

If you want to have success in establishing a lawn from seed, you should ideally finish before the end of October. The last week in October is usually too cold for germination to be as effective as earlier planting.

Want a professional hand in bringing your lawn back to life with healthy grass installation and lawn maintenance? Contact Sunrise today for a personalized quote!

Learn more about our lawn aeration and overseeding services, as well as our lawn maintenance packages.

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Landscape Drainage Solutions – Fairfax, VA

Drainage control solutions Fairfax, VA

If you own a home, chances are at some point weather conditions, perhaps too much rain, ice melting, or even wind, have caused drainage and erosion issues on your property. Quality drainage and erosion solutions are especially important during the heavy summer rains we get here in Fairfax, VA and throughout Northern Virginia.

How do you know if you have drainage and erosion issues? Exposed roots, gutted out areas on your lawn, or swampy and puddled sections are a clear sign that it’s time to act and stop the damage from getting worse.

This is where a professional landscaping company can help. It’s crucial to assess the issue as soon as possible to come up with the best plan for preventing further damage. The professionals at Sunrise Landscape and Design can provide an accurate diagnosis of the damage and help you make the right decision, saving you time, money and your landscape.

Add Plants

The easiest and possibly the most cost-effective way to battle an eroding yard is to plant, plant, plant! Flowers and trees act as a shield, lowering the impact of rainfall, ice, and wind that can wash away the soil. These plants and trees also help hold the dirt in place with roots that anchor the soil and soak up excess water. Be sure to plant flowers and trees native to Fairfax and Northern Virginia (we can help with that too) so you can be sure they’ll do well. Wild flowers, herbs, and shrubs are also good for blanketing areas prone to soil erosion.

Once you plant, it’s a good idea to add a layer of mulch and fertilizer. This will help the ground absorb water. Frequent mulching is key, not only because it adds an extra layer of protection and insulation, but also because it contributes higher levels to the PH of the soil.

Redirect the Water

A major hazard to your lawn’s health is when your home is on a slope and has poor drainage. Inadequate pitch or a slope in your yard will allow the water to pool and not be piped away from your property. Find where the issue might REALLY be originating before you dive deep into the solution. The solution might be as simple as redirecting a down spout or running the discharge pipe from your sump pump to a different location.

There are many creative ways to correct Fairfax drainage issues and Sunrise Landscape and Design has the experience and vision to solve the problem and at the same time enhance the beauty of your landscape.  Some of our favorite solutions include retaining walls, rain gardens, and dry creek beds.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can be both aesthetic and functional. While their primary purpose is function, a well-designed retaining wall can be a beautiful element in landscape design. Flower beds, terraces, stone work, and many other options are all creative drainage solutions.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens can be created by covering a low, wet area with water tolerant plants. Perennials and shrubs that tolerate pooling water and can withstand drought are perfect for rain gardens. Make sure to locate the garden at least 10 feet away from the home to prevent water seepage into the basement.

Dry Creek Beds

Dry creek beds are an attractive way to channel water from heavy down pours and prevent those gutted out areas in your landscape. Attractive river rock, 1-1/2 inch in diameter is a great start and can be enhanced with larger decorative rocks.

Contact Us

If you suspect you have any of these issues contact us for a personalized quote. We’ll be happy to come by and help you either prevent any impending damage or stop the progress of existing wear and tear on your valuable landscape investment.

Read more about our Fairfax and Northern Virginia Drainage and Erosion solutions. 

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Summer Garden Care – Ashburn, VA

summer garden planter ashburn virginia

Gardening isn’t just a spring activity, several tasks can still be done in your garden to keep you busy all summer long. Check out our summer garden care tips to keep your Ashburn garden happy and healthy this summer.

Watering

Although we’ve had plenty of rain in Ashburn this season, it’s always a good idea to keep a look out for water stressed plants.  They’ll be the ones with turned down, curled, and limp leaves.  A lawn is dry when you walk across it and the grass blades don’t pop right back up and you can see your footprints.

It’s best to water trees, shrubs, and small plants at ground level whenever possible.  Soaker hoses are great for slowly watering your plants.  It’s better to water heavily once a week than a little every day.  This exposes roots to some dryness which makes the plants tougher and able to withstand the extremes throughout the year.  If you have an irrigation system, now is the time to turn it on and run it on a regular schedule.  Insect populations explode in the summer, especially after rain, so be sure to eliminate standing water in your yard.  This could mean turning over empty plant pots and saucers, but could also involve better drainage around your home.

Pruning and Fertilizing

Rain affects your summer garden care routine even further by causing the growth of shrubs and trees. Most, but not all, shrubs can benefit from summer pruning to reduce the amount of leaves the plant maintains and to help them air out from the center which discourages fungal problems.  Pruning benefits trees by making the leaf canopy thinner and more open to reduce the risk of storm winds pulling down the tree.  Pruning can involve removal of dead flowers which usually results in another round of flowers.  You can fertilize your annuals, herbs, and vegetables just about every time you water to keep them healthy and fed all summer long.

Sunrise Landscape and Design offers summer garden care services in Ashburn and across Northern Virginia, including garden maintenance and visits and tree and shrub care.

Contact us to schedule your summer garden care and maintenance. After all the work, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy your landscape on one of our cooler summer nights!

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Backyard Design – Northern VA

Backyard design outdoor living space Northern Virginia

Summer is coming fast to Northern Virginia and living part of your life outdoors is easy and expected. But have you thought about the fact that outdoor living can be just as welcoming in the fall? If you have visions of you and your family and friends gathered around the fire pit roasting marshmallows in October, now is the time to plan your backyard design and make it happen. Creating beautiful, yet functional outdoor living spaces is an outdoor living trend that can add value to your home and endless options to your evenings through all seasons.

Sunrise Landscape and Design has over 30 years of experience in landscape design, build, and maintenance in Northern Virginia. We work with you through the whole process – from inception to implementation. Before you start, here are some things to consider to make your backyard design a reality!

Purpose

Your yard should be a go-to destination spring, summer, and fall, so start by considering how you really use your yard. If you love to entertain, a fire pit may be a better choice than a fireplace because more people can sit around it. If entertaining on a much smaller scale is your go-to, a fireplace provides that cozy feel that encourages hours of lingering. Making space for an outdoor kitchen can be as simple as building in a small grill, or go all out and install countertops, a fully functional sink, a wet bar, and even a pizza oven.

Size

The size of the outdoor structure should be in direct proportion to the size of your yard. Your outdoor patio or deck can be a big investment, so you want to make sure you have the right size parameters in mind before you begin planning your backyard design.

Design

Your hardscape and landscape choices should match the design of your home. Look at your space objectively, what would you do to make your space better when the seasons change? Keeping the style of your home in mind will make it possible to better select materials that will work for the environment and blend seamlessly with your home.

Plants

While you should always let yourself be inspired by a vacation spot you love and by pictures you’ve seen in magazines, it’s important to choose things that work. You don’t want to fight with your plants all fall, attempting to make things grow that will just not; nothing will disillusion you faster to outdoor living. Choosing plants that will thrive and materials that will resist the Northern Virginia elements is key to maximizing your investment.

Lighting

Outdoor lighting not only highlights architectural and landscape features, it can also extend your living space long after the sun has set, providing additional hours of outdoor enjoyment. Read more about landscape lighting options and benefits on out Landscape Lighting page.

The prospect of crisp fall air has never seemed so appealing, right?  Give us a call. Let’s sit down together, talk year-round outdoor living, and help you make your dreams for s’mores by the fireplace a reality. Contact us today to start planning your Northern Virginia backyard design project.

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Landscape Watering – Leesburg, VA

sprinkler running in the grass landscape watering

The heat of summer is coming and your landscape is feeling it! To keep your Leesburg, VA landscape beautiful throughout the hot summer months it is crucial to water your lawn and gardens appropriately. While your outdoor water usage will rise during the summer months, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Understanding what your landscape needs and practicing smart watering techniques can keep your landscape green and healthy well into the fall. Sunrise Landscape and Design offers the following landscape watering information and tips for your Leesburg or Northern Virginia home.

How Much to Water

Grassy areas need an average of 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week to stay green and lush. This water can come from either irrigation or rainfall, but it is important that your lawn gets a good drink.

Landscaped areas have varying needs when it comes to water, depending on the types of plants and flowers you have. It is essential to learn about your plants and their sunlight and water requirements. For example, turf grasses tend to consume the most water compared to other plants, and newer plants or trees will need more frequent watering than established ones. Shady areas that don’t get much sunlight may not require as much water or frequency. Be sure to incorporate mulch around shrubs and plants to help minimize evaporation, inhibit weed growth, and prevent erosion.

You should provide enough water that the soil isn’t dried out within an hour or two of watering. You also don’t want puddles or extreme sogginess– this means you are over-watering the soil which can be just as bad as under-watering.

Landscape Watering Tips

Take advantage of irrigation systems. Newer automatic irrigation systems or sprinkler sets can help make your watering routine easier and even take care of your lawn while you’re traveling. If you need help maintaining an existing system, Sunrise Landscape and Design can help.

Use mulch! Mulching the surface of flower beds can help reduce evaporation, moderate soil temperature, and prevent erosion. This is important for root development and increasing your water efficiency. Mulch can reduce diseases and slow down weed growth. It also looks great!

Always water in the morning. The best time to water is between 2AM and 10AM, when the winds are calm and the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly.

Water slowly to avoid run-off and let the soil dry out in between each watering session. If you over-water continuously, the plant will not be able to get the proper oxygen, resulting in drowning. It is essential to let the plant have time to breathe so that it stays healthy.

Be efficient. It is important not to waste water, even if your area is not currently in a drought. Be aware of where the water is going. Adjust your system or methods if you notice your sprinklers watering the sidewalk or areas with pooled water. Pay attention to nature. If you recently had downpours in your area, you may not need to water for a while. Being efficient with water saves money and the environment.

Keeping your Leesburg and Northern Virginia landscape lush and beautiful during the hot summer months doesn’t have to be difficult or result in excessive watering bills. Water-smart landscapes and effective watering methods are all you need to enjoy your landscape well into the fall. Sunrise Landscape and Design has over 30 years of experience in maintaining beautiful landscapes in Northern Virginia. Contact us for help in creating and maintaining your landscape! 

Want to kick back this summer? Let us take care of your lawn with our inclusive lawn maintenance packages.

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Pond Design Tips – Herndon, VA

Pond water feature Herndon, VA

Integrating a pond into your Herndon, VA landscape is a large investment. Pond construction requires meticulous planning to ensure proper drainage and filtration. All elements of your pond, such as water lilies and other water plants, as well as goldfish and other small pond fish need to be taken into consideration for all elements of your pond to thrive. If done right, a beautifully designed pond can transform your landscape and create a peaceful retreat for all to enjoy. Below are some pond design tips from Sunrise Landscape and Design.

Choose the right location

Fish ponds need partial sunlight in order for the water plants that the fish feed on to grow. Avoid building your pond under trees. Tree debris can clutter a pond with leaves as well as change the chemical composition of the water which can affect the fish.

Decide on the size

The most important function of size is making sure the pump is strong enough to keep the pond water moving and filtering properly.

Decide on depth

Some features of your pond design may require a specific depth. Fish require a deeper pond to keep them safe from natural predators. The types of water plants will also determine depth. Some plants thrive in deeper water.

Identify garden runoff

Garden runoff from rain or lawn watering often contains fertilizer chemicals, lawn clippings, and other debris that may enter and mix with your pond.  Closely inspect your landscape to ensure that garden runoff into the pond will not be an issue.

Check soil stability

Make sure your soil is stable enough to support a pond in your desired location.  Once the pond is filled with water, it will become very heavy. If the soil is not well compacted, it could damage the pond.

Identify appropriate location for electrical outlet

The pond pump will require a GFCI protected electrical outlet. Make sure to locate your pond with easy accessibility to the outlet.

Enlist the help of Sunrise Landscape and Design

Let us design, build, and maintain your pond and transform your landscape to the water garden of your dreams! Contact us for more information – we’d be happy answer any questions about pond design and construction. You can also visit our Pools and Water Features page to learn more about our pond design and pond installation services in Herndon, VA and throughout Northern Virginia.

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Weed Control – Great Falls, VA

Weed control Great Falls and Northern Virginia landscaping

Weeds are invasive plants that at a minimum can disrupt the appearance of a well-maintained landscape and worst case can destroy or take over your landscape. Protecting your landscape from weeds not only maintains the beauty of your landscape, it also preserves the investment of time and money you may have put into your property. Sunrise Landscape and Design has over 30 years of experience in weed control in Great Falls and Northern Virginia and offers many services to protect your landscape.

Weed Control Services

Pre-emergent Weed Control with Fertilizer: When it comes to controlling weeds, it is always best to stop them before they sprout. Once they have sprouted, their roots are well established and are more difficult to remove. The timing of applying weed control is important. If applied too early, the weather may dilute the pre-emergent and the weeds will grow unencumbered. We apply our pre-emergent weed control with fertilizer twice a season, once in early spring and again in late spring. Combining pre-emergent with fertilizer will help prevent crabgrass and other weed seeds from germinating.

Broadleaf Weed Control: Dandelions and other broadleaf weeds are among the common weed problems in lawns. They are generally easier to treat, have wider leaves, and often flower. They include thistles, dandelions, spurge, and clovers. Most lawns are spot-treated to help reduce the chemicals introduced into the environment, however if the weeds are growing throughout the lawn, then the entire lawn will be treated. If more than 60 percent of a lawn is covered with weeds, then the lawn should be considered for a complete renovation.

Garden Visits: If the thought of maintaining your landscape and controlling weeds throughout the growing seasons is overwhelming, Sunrise offers a full-service landscape care program to take care of the work for you. Garden visits offer a high-level of attention to your landscape that only a professional can provide. We provide services bi-weekly April through October and includes weeding of all mulch beds, roadside gravel areas, and weeds that have grown in the cracks on hard surfaces. These areas may be weeded manually or with the aid of chemicals. In addition to controlling weeds, this service also provides deadheading perennials, separation of different species of plants, and prevention of plants from growing over lights and other structures.

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Whether your lawn and garden has just a couple of weeds or is overrun, the best offense is a good defense. Weeds can be one of the most troublesome issues in preserving the look of a well-maintained landscape. They can be very persistent and will exploit every weakness in your lawn and garden. Sunrise Landscape and Design’s services will help you stay ahead in the game of weed control. We use natural weed killers that are safe for children and pets. Our lawn maintenance programs ensure that your turf gets the proper mowing and fertilizing it needs to grow thick and healthy. By staying on the offensive year-round, Sunrise can help you keep weeds in check and leave you with a vibrant landscape.

For our complete Great Falls and Northern Virginia spring package options, including weed control, mowing, seeding, and more, visit our Spring Services page, or contact us to schedule your free estimate.