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Holiday Decorating Tips Using Your Winter Landscape – Vienna, VA

Winter landscape holiday decorating tips Vienna, VA

Holiday decorating using your winter landscape is a natural, sustainable, and cost-saving way to decorate your Vienna, VA home for the holidays. You already have all of the ingredients! Just follow our DIY holiday decorating tips below to bring the outdoors indoors and create a cozy, festive home this holiday season.

Take Inventory: What Do You Have?

First things first: take a look around your landscape and see what you have that could work indoors. Consider what stands the best chance of surviving indoors. Keep in mind that the heat and lack of humidity of central heating can dry natural decorations out prematurely.

Greenery and Branches

If you have holly, ivy, pine trees or spruce, or magnolia trees around your Vienna home, these make great candidates for holiday decorating using your winter landscape. However, make sure to choose greenery that looks healthy to begin with. Pruning correctly is critical; make sure you cut where they start growing. Keep in mind, it’s not only greenery that can work. Bare branches can look lovely clustered in vases as well, so don’t limit yourself. You might find the perfect vase fillers laying on the ground!

Berries

If you love the look of berries, keep a close eye on whether they shed. Quite a few berries can be poisonous to children and pets. It’s often safer to opt for artificial berries that can be attached with green floral wire to your cut stems or branches.

Keep It Fresh

If you plan on decorating with green cuttings from your Vienna winter landscape, make sure you keep them fresh as long as possible by keeping the ends dipped in tepid water. Inserting them in moist floral foam when displaying them on your mantle and keeping them out of the way of your heating vents will also prolong their life for the holiday season. If you decide to use magnolia cuttings, spraying with metallic spray paint can camouflage the creeping browns when your cuttings are reaching the end of their shelf-life. Spray paint also adds an extra shine to the holiday decorating festivities.

Keep It Safe

Once you have cut and tied your arrangement materials into a wreath, swag, or other display, may sure to place them out of a direct draft from your heating system, to keep the leaves from drying as quickly. Remember to stay safe and never put fresh cut plants anywhere near a fireplace or lit candles, which could fall over and cause your arrangement to catch fire.

Extend Your Decoration’s Lifespan

Consider keeping some of your fresh-cut decorations outside in a cool, protected area out of direct sunlight, and bring them indoors only when needed for special occasions. This works with decorated potted plants such as clipped rosemary topiaries and live Christmas trees as well. Otherwise, regularly check your arrangements for excessive drying out of leaves or berry-dropping; remove or replace what you need to.

Take a Look at Your Landscape

So, take a walk outside, look beyond your front door and get busy decorating with some of the very best nature has to offer. Your landscape can continue to delight you in the winter months in new and unexpected ways, so take advantage and enjoy what you’ve nurtured all year long.

For more holiday-inspired landscaping, read our holiday lighting tips for some outdoor decorating advice. Sunrise also provides Northern Virginia commercial snow removal services for when the winter really hits.

Contact Sunrise Landscape and Design for all of your Vienna and Northern Virginia landscaping and design needs, this season and year-round!

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Leaf Removal Tips- Oakton and Fairfax, VA

leaf removal Oakton and Fairfax, VA

Earlier this month we discussed the importance of removing leaves from your Northern Virginia lawn. This week we’ll give you leaf removal tips for Oakton and Fairfax, VA, but these tips also apply across Northern Virginia and beyond!

While we all enjoy the beauty of a Northern Virginia fall – the brilliant oranges and reds of maples, dogwoods, and oaks – those once-beautiful fall leaves completely cover our lawns when the season ends. It’s important to clean-up those falls leaves to allow your lawn to breathe and prepare for the dormant season.

Sunrise has a number of fall leaf clean-up tips for Oakton, Fairfax, and across Northern Virginia:

Mowing

The use of a mulching lawn mower is very effective in returning nutrients to the soil and providing weed protection. Make sure to insert the mulch plug into the mower and drop the mower to the lowest setting (just above the grass). Then mow as you normally would, with a second pass at an opposite angle to mulch the leaf clippings into the grass.

Leaf Blower

This leaf removal tip is great if you have a large yard. Leaves can be blown into garden beds, providing a natural cover for the winter season or into manageable piles for removal. Make sure to wear ear protection when using a blower – the majority of blowers can be very loud.

Tarps

Tarps can be used in conjunction with a blower or rake. If you live in a community that picks up leaves with vacuum trucks, a tarp is an easy way to transport large piles of leaves to the curb for pick up.

Bagging

Shredded leaves make great mulch or compost. Leaves are naturally rich in trace minerals that are beneficial to your garden and lawn. They are also a great source of carbon which helps to balance the nitrogen in your compost pile. Use the bagging option on your lawn mower to shred the leaves and then simply add to your garden beds for mulch or to your compost pile.

One final leaf removal tip

Make sure to remove leaves when the weather is good. Rain will make the leaves heavy and more difficult to manage.

If your Oakton or Fairfax, VA fall leaf clean-up tasks are too large or you simply don’t have the time, contact Sunrise and we’d be more than happy to help!

Have more to tackle than leaves this fall? Check out our full fall landscaping service offerings in Northern Virginia.

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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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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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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.