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Leesburg Leaf Removal: Why is it Important to Rake Leaves?

Leesburg leaf removal services Northern Virginia

It’s the time of year for leaf removal in Leesburg and across Northern Virginia.  Did you know that 75% of our fall waste stream is leaf debris?  Most municipalities and even some private collection stations take this leaf debris and compost if for future use in planting or mulching around trees and shrubs!

Leaf removal is crucial for the health of your landscape.  Below are our top reasons to grab that rake and get moving on your leaf cleanup!

Leaf removal keeps your Leesburg grass happy

Leaf debris can smother turf and even kill some of the new grass that you just planted this year.  Wet matted leaves cut off the air supply to your turf and block the sunlight your grass needs to store energy for growth. Save your yard by keeping it clear of leaves, especially over the winter months.

Leaves can be dangerous

For safety reasons, it’s smart to remove leaves from driveways, sidewalks, and other hard surfaces. As many of you may have found out, leaves are slippery, especially when wet!  Leaves can also mask other hazards such as holes or items that can cause you to trip and fall.

Leaf removal enhances the look of your winter landscape

Removing leaves enhances the aesthetic of your landscape, preparing it for some beautiful Leesburg snow in the winter. Keeping your yard and plant beds free of leaves gives them a clean look and increases your home’s curb appeal. This beauty is even further increased if your pristine Leesburg landscape is surrounded by natural woods or tress.

Collected leaves can be re-purposed for mulching

Leaves can be a great form of insulation around tree and shrub roots over the winter.  The leaves prevent the soil from drying out and keep the roots warm and moist so they can stay healthy.  Over time, the leaves break down and provide nutrients to help the trees and shrubs grow.

As the leaves fall this autumn, make a plan for leaf removal. Our experts at Sunrise Landscape and Design are happy to help! We offer a range of fall services in Leesburg and across Northern Virginia. Contact us for a personalized quote and enjoy the beauty of the season without any of the worry of leaf clean-up!

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Walkways and Patios – Great Falls and Leesburg, VA

Herndon Great Falls Leesburg backyard patio and walkway

A beautiful walkway and a “come stay a while” patio are a wonderful addition to your Great Falls or Leesburg home. They also increase your property value.  Your walkway is the first impression people will have as they approach your home; it should harmonize with the surrounding landscape and serve as a snapshot of your home’s personality.  A patio, on the other hand, is an extension of your living space where you can create an oasis within your property.  Paying attention to the design of both of these elements can pay great long-term dividends.

Walkways

A beautiful, well-maintained front walk increases curb appeal immediately, adds value to your home, and makes coming home each day a more pleasant experience.  Who couldn’t use THAT at the end of a long work day?  Aside from being unsightly, cracked and damaged walkways present an inherent danger to you, your family, and anyone who approaches your front door.  Beauty and safety need to be taken into account when deciding whether to repair or replace your Great Falls or Leesburg walkway.  This is where consulting an expert is critical.  A proper evaluation must be done to weigh the cost of repair versus the need to replace completely based on cracking, chipping, and potential soil erosion.

Replacing Your Walkway

If you decide replacing your walkway is the best option, it’s important to consider the types of materials available.  Crushed stone and gravel are inexpensive and easy to install, though the gravel will scatter and need replenishing from time to time. Be sure to add solid edging to contain the stones. This option, though inexpensive, may require more upkeep than your lifestyle will allow. Also, gravel paths are very difficult to keep clear when it snows, which we get our fair share of in Great Falls, Leesburg, and across Northern Virginia.

Brick, flagstone, and pavers are the longest-lasting option and visually the most striking.  A brick walkway can last over 100 years.  However, because of their longevity and the level of craftsmanship required to lay and prep the site, they can be the most expensive.  However, repair is fairly easy and economical since you can replace individual stones as needed.

You can also kick your walkway up a notch by adding landscape lighting.  Lighting can make a huge impact on curb appeal in addition to providing safety and security.  If you’re not able to use lights that require wiring, you can opt for solar fixtures instead.

Patios

A patio is an extension of your Great Falls or Leesburg living space so location is an important consideration.  How much sun will your patio receive?  How’s your view?  Are there large trees nearby that could suffer root damage or damage the patio?  Is there privacy?  Does sound carry?  If you’re planning to use your patio for outdoor entertaining and dining, you will want to have it close to the house, as it will increase the likelihood that you will use it.

The key is to design a patio that allows for easy flow between the indoors and outdoors.  There are endless design options to explore. You can make the space feel like a room by adding a pergola, use an existing wall of your home as a partial enclosure, wiring it for electricity and gas, etc.  In the planning stage, assisted by your landscape expert, you can play with options, deciding first and foremost, what size and scale will fit your needs and your budget.

All of these options can be explored with the help of a landscape professional at Sunrise Landscape and Design; we can help you plan what you see in your mind’s eye, with our eye towards what is the best suited for your existing landscape and fits within your budget.  With Sunrise Landscape and Design, we can make your vision a reality!

Contact us to get started on planning your perfect Great Falls or Leesburg patio or walkway. See more information on our Northern Virginia patios, walkways, and other hardscape options on our Hardscapes and Structures page.

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Creating a Safe Lawn for Halloween – Fairfax County, VA

fire pit design safe lawn for halloween fairfax va

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. Follow these tips to create a fun and safe lawn for Halloween night.

Light your lawn

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating a frightening ambiance. A well-lit yard with low voltage LED lights can light your walkways and sidewalks, and are economical to install and maintain. Compliment your LED lights with Jack-O-Lanterns with glow sticks inside or use battery powered lights to illuminate your yard without introducing a fire hazard. Also check to make sure that your outdoor lights are working, including flood or sensor lights.

Clean up hazards

In addition to setting up lighting, make sure to clean up your yard before the big night. Clearing potential hazards ensures a safe lawn for Halloween visitors of all ages. Remove all tripping hazards like children’s toys, hoses, and bikes. Mark any exposed tree roots to make sure every child in costume can see them; 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.

Keep pets away from the door

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. Little kids, especially, may be frightened of your pet.

Create a fall clean-up plan

Halloween can be a fun night for trick or treaters of all ages. Creating a spooky yard can be exciting, but remember that keeping the kids safe on your property is your responsibility. Sunrise Landscape and Design can help identify tripping hazards and lighting issues across Fairfax County and Northern Virginia to create a safe lawn for Halloween. Contact us for a personalized quote.

Whether you need landscape design, like fire pit installation, landscape lighting, and patios, or lawn maintenance services such as lawn mowing, fall clean-up, and leaf removal, we will work with you to make your landscape beautiful….even on Halloween!

Check out our fall services to get your lawn ready for this spooky season!

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Hardscaping Benefits – Ashburn and Leesburg, VA

Hardscape Ashburn and Leesburg, VA

With this period of cool mornings and warm afternoons, there’s still time to enjoy your Ashburn or Leesburg yard before we hunker down for the cold Northern Virginia 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. You can use a variety of different materials to create 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, including Ashburn and Leesburg, we recommend using:

Pavers

For use in driveways, patios, and walkways. Pavers are durable and can withstand the freeze/thaw cycles we go through 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

Brick is great for walkways and patios and is used for a classic look.

Benefits of Adding Hardscaping

There are several reasons to add hardscape to your Ashburn or Leesburg yard. Creating a backyard oasis adds value to your home by correcting a landscaping issue or increasing outdoor space for entertaining friends and family. In addition, 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 gathering around a fire pit to roast marshmallows, hardscaping is a great way to enjoy the crisp fall evenings with your loved ones.

Contact a Professional

Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company offering a full range of landscape and hardscape services. Whether you need landscape design, landscape lighting, walkways, and patios or lawn maintenance services such as lawn mowing, fall clean-up and leaf removal, mulching, core aeration and overseeding, we will work with you to make your landscape beautiful! Contact us for a personalized quote.

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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!