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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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Lawn Maintenance – Great Falls, VA

Lawn maintenance in Great Falls, Virginia

April is National Lawn Care Month! Now is the perfect time to bring life back to your Great Falls or Northern Virginia yard. If you want a lush, green lawn, it’s not necessarily as simple as mowing and watering. Lawn care can actually be very complicated. To help you out, here are our Seven Core Areas of Lawn Maintenance:

Soil testing

Sometimes the most important step is the one most often overlooked. Testing your soil for its pH level and nitrogen and phosphorus content will actually save you a lot of headaches in the long-run. Once you know your soil makeup, you’ll be able to figure out what types of fertilizers (and what quantities) your lawn really needs.

Fertilizing

At a minimum, you should fertilize every spring and fall. There’s ammonium sulfate and numerous all-purpose fertilizers to choose from. Make sure to use caution, though; too much fertilizer can burn your lawn, and ammonium sulfate only provides a short green boost to it. Your lawn needs a balanced diet of nutrients in order to stay green and healthy.

Watering

The frequency and amount of time you need to water your lawn is going to vary based upon your grass variety and location. Most of the time with the weather we see in Great Falls and Northern Virginia, watering deeply once a week will do the job. Deep watering encourages the grass to grow deeper roots, which helps the overall health of your lawn. If you step on your grass and it springs back up, you know that you’re on the right track moisture-wise.

Mowing

Mowing is a calculated effort. The more thought and planning you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Make sure you remove any debris from your yard before you fire up your mower. Debris is not only a safety hazard, but sticks and rocks will dull your mower blades, making your mower less effective. During the spring and summer growing seasons, mow only the top third of your grass, keeping it between 3” to 3.5” tall. Taller grass develops a better root structure and blocks out weeds on its own. When the growing season stops this fall, you can cut it back down to a shorter height.

Weeding

Nothing cuts out weeds better than a healthy lawn. Herbicides can be used, but be careful about the chemicals they may contain. Another way to help choke out weeds is to mow often, cutting off the heads of weeds like dandelions before they are able to spread.

Aeration

Those little cylinders of dirt fight soil compaction. The holes allow nutrients, air, and water to penetrate your lawn, helping your grass grow deeper roots.

Seeding

Seeding is all about choosing the right grass – or the right mixture of grass – for what you need. There are literally hundreds of grass varieties to choose from. Depending on the situation, sod may be a better option, too.

Lawn maintenance is definitely more complex than it seems. That’s why companies like Sunrise exist; we’re here to help when you can’t tackle it all on your own. Visit our Spring Lawn Services page to pick the right lawn care maintenance package for your Great Falls or Northern Virginia home. Ready to get started? Contact us today to get a quote and take the first step to a beautiful lawn you can enjoy all summer long!

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Walkways and Patios – Herndon, VA

Herndon backyard patio and walkway

A beautiful walkway and a “come stay a while” patio are a wonderful addition to your Herndon 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 Herndon 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 Herndon and 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 Herndon 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 Herndon 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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The Right Mulch for Your Northern Virginia Landscape

Northern Virginia landscape mulching by Sunrise Landscape and Design

Spring is the perfect time to begin mulching in Northern Virginia. But where to start? It seems like every year there’s a new type of mulch sitting at the home improvement store. From colored varieties to chips and shreds, it can all get very confusing. Each mulch has its benefits and its drawbacks, so it’s best to make an informed decision before you make the investment. Sunrise Landscape and Design’s spring clean-up services include the application of high quality mulch to prepare your landscape for the coming months.

Why is Mulch Important?

Mulch plays many roles in your landscape. Its most crucial features are the ability to hold in heat and moisture, which protects fragile roots from temperature fluctuations throughout the entire year. It also prevents the growth of weeds and helps to inhibit erosion. Without mulch, your garden is completely exposed to the elements – and that is not only bad for your plants, it’s also bad for your curb appeal.

Mulch Types and Details

  • Shredded Hardwood
    1. The most common mulch you’ll find around Northern Virginia is shredded hardwood. It has a natural look and blends well into any landscape. It also works well on slopes.
    2. Shredded hardwood should be spread one to three inches thick and can last up to three years when the beds are refreshed annually.
    3. Colored mulch is a popular trend. Colored versions tend to decompose more slowly than normal mulch.  Be careful of the actual color selected. Some colors clash with the natural landscape and are not appealing to most people.
  • Wood Chip
    1. Wood chips are wonderful at retaining water, and because they break down faster than shredded mulch, they boost the amount of nutrients in your soil.
    2. Wood chip mulch can last up to four years. It is also weed-free and doesn’t blow away easily.
  • Stone
    1. When talking about stone, we are usually speaking about medium to large sizes. Smaller pebbles tend to end up in your lawn, creating a projectile hazard when you mow.
    2. Stone is great for trapping heat into established perennial beds and can essentially last forever. It is also good for controlling erosion in problem areas.
    3. The downside of stone is that because of its ability to trap heat, it also makes water evaporate quicker – which means you may need to water your plants more often.
  • Pumice or Lava Rock
    1. With a vibrant color, many people like that pumice is lighter than regular stone and can retain a lot of water. It can also last forever.
    2. While it doesn’t hold as much heat as stone, it does help somewhat.
    3. Pumice is full of sharp edges, so make sure that it is only placed somewhere that doesn’t require frequent garden attention.
    4. Its weight can be a liability in areas prone to water run-off, so make sure that it’s in a flood-free area.
    5. Because of its ability to trap water, you will need to water a little longer for the water to reach your plants.
  • Living Mulch
    1. Why not use a living mulch instead of a dead one? There are many ground covers that work well as mulch; just remember to add compost to them annually to nourish them.

There are other mulch options, like straw, compost, chopped leaves, and even grass clippings, but these are generally suitable for vegetable gardens and not curb-front landscapes. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t incorporate any mulch into your soil unless it has been thoroughly composted. Importantly, don’t use any mulch that has been treated with herbicides or pesticides on your edible plants.

Mulch Application Tips

The easiest way to tell if you Northern Virginia landscaper knows what they are doing is by looking at how they apply your chosen mulch. You can also follow these mulch application tips when applying mulch yourself.

Mulch should be:

  • Placed against edging that is two to three inches deep
  • Clear of tree trunks or plants. Your mulch shouldn’t be touching your plants directly; this is unhealthy and can actually hurt them. Those “mulch volcanos” that you see around tree trunks are a perfect example of incorrect mulching.
  • Smooth and even, with no large hills
  • Distributed two to three inches deep and free of clumps
  • Treated with a pre-emergent weed controller
  • Applied after cutbacks, leaves, twigs, and debris have been cleared from the area

Contact a Professional for Help

If you’re not sure what kind of mulch to use or how to apply it, contact our Sunrise team today. Our Spring Clean-up services include removing all debris from mulch beds, edging and cultivating beds, applying pre-emergent weed control, and distributing a shredded hardwood bark mulch. We’ll prepare your Northern Virginia landscape to encourage plant growth and keep it looking beautiful throughout the coming seasons. We’d love to give you a landscape that you’re proud of this spring!  Contact us today!

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Spring Landscaping Tips – Great Falls and Northern Virginia

Baby Deer Smelling Spring Landscaping Flower Garden Great Falls

Even though we’re still thinking about snow, it’s a good time to start preparing your Great Falls or Northern Virginia spring landscaping to-do list. You can call it a spring cleanup or simply summer prep, but if you fail to take some action before blooms arrive in a few months, you’ll see that your landscape will quickly get out of control. The more work you get done now, the easier your lawn and garden will be to maintain the rest of the year. Sunrise Landscape and Design’s spring landscaping cleanup services will help prepare your landscape for the spring and summer months.

  1. Strategize.

    Before you move a muscle, you should decide how you want your landscape to look this year. If you need a little inspiration, the internet is full of beautiful and creative ideas. Do you want to make any significant changes to your landscape? If so, decide now so that you can avoid putting effort into areas that you’ll be transforming in a month or two anyway. If you need some assistance, Sunrise’s landscape design professionals are ready to help!

  2. Plan.

    We cannot emphasize enough the importance of planning. If you are adding annuals, new shrubs, or even trees to your yard this year, map out where you want them to go. Keep the size of the plant at its maturity in mind; no one wants a tree growing into the side of their house or a bush covering a beautiful front window. Also, think about plant textures, colors, and heights while plotting out your garden beds. Mixing things up will make your beds more attractive and balanced.

  3. Edge.

    Make your landscape look more polished and refined by creating a strong border between your garden beds and your lawn. It also helps keep grass out of your garden! Once the ground starts to thaw, dig down three inches at a 45-degree angle to establish a solid edge around your beds.

  4. Prune.

    Did you know that many plants can be pruned during the winter? Do a little research, but you may be able to knock out most of your pruning before spring is even in the air. Get rid of the three “D”s when cutting back your perennials: damaged, dead, and diseased. (Make sure you don’t cut off any of the buds that are waiting to blossom. They won’t grow back until next year.)

  5. Clean up.

    After you’ve pruned and edged, now it’s time to rake up all that debris to create a clean slate for spring. Don’t forget to look for toys that may have settled into your lawn over the fall and winter. If you have a compost pile, all those leaves and small branches will make an excellent addition.

  6. Block.

    Put a pre-emergent on your garden bed and lawn to stop weeds before they begin to germinate. However, if you are planning on seeding or installing sod in the spring, skip this step for your lawn. Otherwise, you can apply a pre-emergent up to three times per year to help prevent weed growth. If random weeds still pop up, try a homemade weed killer to wipe them out before they get a chance to spread.

  7. Feed.

    You want your plants to be as healthy and hardy as possible so that they can endure whatever Mother Nature throws at them this year. If you fertilized your lawn in the fall some of that fertilizer is probably still there. You can wait until late spring to apply a slow-release nitrogen to liven up your turf and make it greener.

  8. Mulch.

    After applying your pre-emergent,  add up to three inches of new mulch to your beds and around your trees. Mulch helps block weeds and holds in moisture, so it’s important to get a good layer on before the summer heat hits. If you have some old mulch, consider removing it completely before putting new mulch on top. Old mulch can hide insects and disease, so sometimes it’s best to discard it altogether.

  9. Examine.

    Even if you winterized your lawn mower, now is a good time to take it out and make sure that it’s in good working order. It’s an excellent idea to have your blades sharpened every spring just to make sure that you are cutting your grass shoots and not tearing them. Torn shoots brown at the tips, giving your lawn a sickly appearance. In addition to inspecting your blades, adjust your mower height to a minimum of two-and-a-half inches if you have cool-season grasses. If you have warm-season grasses, you can go as low as half an inch – depending on your variety.

  10. Manage.

    There’s nothing worse than planning the perfect landscape only to have it serve as a buffet to local wildlife. If pests are an issue in your area, implement wire mesh or fencing to make sure all your hard work doesn’t end up in Bambi’s belly. For more information on our special deer control services, visit our DeerPro page.

While you’re trapped inside, avoiding freezing rain or howling winter winds, close your eyes and imagine how you’d like your Great Falls or Northern Virginia landscape to look this year. With a little effort and planning, you can achieve the picture-perfect yard of your dreams in 2019. It’s only a to-do list away.

Contact Sunrise for help with your Great Falls and Northern Virginia spring landscaping tasks.  We can tailor a program that fits your budget and landscape. Preparing your landscape now allows you to enjoy its maximum growth and beauty in the spring and summer.

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The Best Time for Tree Trimming and Pruning

woman trimming pruning plants in Loudoun County

Winter is a great time for tree trimming and pruning in Northern Virginia. Believe it or not, there is a benefit to your trees being bare and desolate this time of year: your dormant trees are gathering up strength to put on a spectacular show when spring finally arrives. Now is the time to lend a helping hand by trimming trees to encourage new growth. Winter is also a good time for tree trimming because bare branches are easier to see and handle, and the harder ground allows for easier access to trees.

When to Trim in Northern Virginia

February through March is the best time for tree trimming. Though you should usually wait until the coldest part of the winter has passed, you can trim outside of this window. For flowering trees, it’s critical that you trim while the tree is still dormant. If you trim after blooms have started to form, you could limit the tree’s blooming potential in the spring. Some species, such as maple, walnuts, and birches may excrete sap. While this is not dangerous to the tree, it can be unsightly, so it’s best to trim or prune when the weather is colder and the sap is not as likely to bleed.

Trim with a Plan

When trimming trees, you should remove every branch for a reason. Each cut has the potential to change the shape of the tree substantially and affect the ability of a flowering tree to bloom, so you should always trim and prune with a plan. Dead, diseased, and damaged branches should be removed as soon as possible, both to prevent the spread of potential disease and for safety. Dead branches can easily fall in the slightest wind and cause personal injury or property damage. Any branches that interfere with visibility on your street or driveway should also be cut. Take time to access where issues will arise once leaves begin to grow again. Have a critical eye as you walk among your trees and determine whether tree trimming is necessary. Remember that thinning for the sake of it does not necessarily improve the health of a tree.

Benefits of Trimming

Trimming isn’t just beneficial in encouraging bloom growth in the spring, it can also save you money and time by managing insects and disease. Removing dead branches can help prevent disease-carrying organisms from entering your branches and spreading disease. Thinning a tree’s canopy can increase the amount of sunlight and air to your tree and landscape, also resulting in less disease.

Professionals at Sunrise Landscape and Design are carefully trained to trim trees according to advanced trimming and pruning techniques, with the uniqueness of each tree species in mind. Hiring Sunrise for your Northern Virginia tree care will leave your trees healthier, structurally sound, and beautiful for years to come!

Contact us for a tree trimming quote or to discuss other Northern Virginia landscaping needs. For more information on our tree trimming and pruning services, visit our Tree Trimming and Shrub Pruning page. 

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Snow Removal Tips

Snow removal Sunrise Northern Virginia landscaping

This last big snow was a good reminder of how harsh winter can be in Northern Virginia. As we continue to clean up, Sunrise Landscape and Design offers the following top ten snow removal tips for safely managing the snow on your property.

1. Stay on top of the snow

When anticipating a large amount of snowfall, it’s best to shovel every 3-5 inches. Don’t wait for the snow to stop falling – keep shoveling every couple of inches, especially when it’s a heavy wet snow. You’ll save time (and your back) by doing a couple of inches at a time.

2. Push, don’t lift, and if you lift, use your legs

This may be seem like traditional advise, however, when it comes to snow removal, this is important. When you push the snow to the side, rather than lifting, you exert less energy and place less stress on your body. If there is too much snow and you need to lift onto snow piles, use your legs and not your back. Using your legs will save your back from injury.

3. Warm-up

Shoveling snow is exercise. It’s important to stretch your arms, legs, and back to prevent injury, especially with heavy snow. Be sure to drink lots of water and take breaks when needed. To reduce fatigue while shoveling, switch off between shoveling left-handed and right-handed so that you work different muscles.

4. Avoid ice picks and other tools

Resist the temptation to use ice picks and other tools to remove snow and ice. These tools can easily destroy your driveway and other landscape features such as walkways and plants.

5. Prepare before the snowfall

Mark off the driveway, walkways, and plant beds with poles, flags, or stakes before the snow storms hits to keep oriented in your snow-covered landscape.

6. Attack ice with salt, sand, or kitty litter

When the shovel just won’t cut through the ice, rock salt can be used to help break it up. Be careful when using rock salt because it can eat away at concrete and damage your driveway. Rock salt is not effective in temperatures under 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Calcium chloride is a great alternative to rock salt. It maintains its ice melting properties in below-zero temperatures. It is also less harmful to the plants in your landscaping and less irritating to pets’ feet. For those areas where the ice or slippery snow just won’t budge, use sand or kitty litter to provide traction.

7. Don’t shovel snow out into the street or walkways

Although you might think the snow plow coming through can handle it or the side walk crew can shovel it, it can actually make the job more difficult and costly when your piled up snow turns to ice. Safely place shoveled snow in grassy areas.

8. Pick the right shovel

High strength plastic shovels are strong, light-weight, and easy to use. They are also less prone to freezing and release the snow better than metal shovels.

9. Take care of your plants

Make sure you don’t bury your plants in snow. When avoidable, try not to shovel or throw snow on your plants. Each time you go out to shovel, take a tour of your landscape. Use a broom to knock snow or ice off of leaves, needles, and branches. If your plants are bent over from heavy snow, shake the snow off when possible. If your shrubs and plants get too loaded down with snow, leave them. You’ll do more damage trying to remove the snow than letting them recover on their own.

10. Pay attention to your surroundings

Don’t get so focused on the task at hand that you don’t pay attention to your surroundings. When shoveling snow near streets, be mindful of traffic – other cars may not be able to see you over the snow piles and may not have enough traction to stop or maneuver safely.

With more snow in the forecast, Sunrise Landscape and Design is ready to help you with your Northern Virginia commercial snow removal. Our snow plow operators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’ll make sure your street, parking lot, driveway, and sidewalks are kept clear of snow and ice. Contact us to discuss your commercial snow removal needs or visit our snow removal page for more information on our Northern Virginia commercial snow removal services.

Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company, offering a full range of landscaping services. Whether you’d like to get a head start on spring landscape planning, landscape design, or landscape maintenance, our expert team is here to help you create the property of your dreams. Contact us today for all of your landscape and lawn care needs!

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Landscape Planning for Spring

tree trimming and ornamental care spring landscaping northern virginia

Winter is the perfect time to begin planning your Northern Virginia spring landscape. During this season, your landscape is clearly visible, for better or for worse. Take a moment now to assess your surroundings and plan for any renovations and additions you might be dreaming about while hunkered down this winter. Get that Pinterest board ready and start collecting ideas!

Your barren trees and less-than-robust bushes and greenery give you the opportunity to really evaluate what changes you’d like to make before spring is in full bloom. After all, our yards are now extensions of our living space and should reflect how we enjoy spending our free time, whether we’re entertaining, designing a cozy space to spend time alone, or creating more room for our kids to play.

Think back to what worked last year and what didn’t. If you love to entertain, did you have enough space on the patio? If you have pets, perhaps they’ve worn a path in your lawn. Is there more mud than there is grass? Have you had drainage issues that may be exacerbated when spring showers start coming our way?

When considering solutions to these issues, keep the style of your house in mind. Do you want to use the same materials as your house to maintain a more cohesive look, or is now the time to try something new?

Think about the colors you’d like to see in your yard. Tying in the color of your hardscape with the surrounding plantings creates a unified look and makes your home seem in harmony with its surroundings.

There is a wealth of materials to choose from if you’re thinking of adding a patio, a water feature, or a new walkway. Knowing the difference between materials as they relate to the surrounding landscape, their longevity, and their cost as it pertains to your budget, requires thoughtful evaluation. The benefit to winter being the “down time” in the landscape design business is that there is plenty of time to discuss and weigh options, and when the weather finally cooperates, your project will be first in the queue.

Another thing to consider if you’re planning on a project that will require digging, is obtaining the appropriate permits from your town or municipality before you’re due to begin the process. Usually, it takes about 4 – 6 weeks to be issued a permit, so making decisions early will allow you to be ready to break ground when the weather finally turns. Sunrise Landscape and Design is familiar with all the permits required in Northern Virginia and can help guide you through this process.

So now is the time to gather your ideas and give us a call. Let’s sit together and plan the spring landscape of your dreams so that you can enjoy your outdoor living space for years to come!

Contact Sunrise Landscape and Design to begin planning your Northern Virginia spring landscape or visit our Winter Landscaping Services page for a full list of our winter landscaping services.

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Northern Virginia Landscape Lighting

outdoor patio with fireplace and lighting great falls

Properly lighting your Northern Virginia landscape is crucial after all of the hard work you’ve put into it. While your landscape may be beautiful during the day, if lit properly in the evenings, your property can boast a stunning wow factor. Landscape lighting involves both artistry and technical knowledge. If your lighting is installed in the right places, it can highlight the architectural features of your home and the different characteristics of your plantings and trees. In addition to adding character, it can add safety as well; a well-lit walkway is as important as having a properly constructed one. Good landscape design should incorporate elements that are functional as well as beautiful any time of day.

Most Northern Virginia landscape lighting is low-voltage because it is less costly to install and much safer to work with. You can achieve a stunning variety of lighting with low-voltage installation. You can, for example, light a tree canopy, cast a glow over a landscape feature, or aim lighting directly at your home.

Every element of lighting design includes factors such as brightness, color, and beam width. The type of bulb, the housing for the bulb, and the cables and stakes used to keep them in place are all technical aspects that determine these factors. You should choose each of these aspects for their most effective usage. Once the proper elements are in place, you can play with the light. For example, when lighting foliage, you should always include the trunk, otherwise it will look like a UFO is hovering around your yard. When aiming light directly at your home, aim for the corners or at specific architectural details you want highlighted.

Lighting a walkway is much more straight-forward. Your lighting should define your path. A nice warm glow that illuminates a walkway is both welcoming and necessary for safety. Placing your lights about 14 inches high gives off a warm glow and provides enough lighting for your family and friends to find their way.

When you’re ready to light up your life, we recommend a consultation with our professionals at Sunrise Landscape and Design. Your home and your landscaping are a big investment, and you will want a professional to offer a realistic and affordable plan for your budget and your needs. Outdoor lighting is as much about vision and aesthetics as it is about technical knowledge. With the long winter nights, now is the time to make your house the one that stands out with beautiful Northern Virginia landscape lighting! Read more about our landscape lighting services, or request a quote now.

Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s top landscaping company, offering a full range of landscaping services. Our landscape and design services include building outdoor living spaces, water features, irrigation and landscape lighting. Our property maintenance services will keep your landscape vibrant year round with mulching, edging, fall turf care, seasonal cleanups, lawn mowing, and tree care. Contact us today for all your landscaping needs!