Category Archives: Landscaping

Achieve a Low Maintenance Landscape

You could do it yourself; you could go to the garden store, plant a few flowers, and call it a day. But what you have in mind is a little, shall we say, lower maintenance. Plants and shrubs, a fresh mowed lawn: You'd be amazed at what a little landscaping can do for your curb appeal. There's more to it than that (and this may appeal to the Manassas VA homeowners among us without green thumbs).Vegetation is important, but it’s only one piece of a larger landscaping puzzle.We're talking about hardscaping. Where flowers and bushes are considered softscaping, hardscaping has to do with the non-living elements of landscaping design, including paved walkways, walls, patios, features, and rocks. It is these hardscape elements that make up the foundation and anchor of any good residential landscape.The expert Grigg Design and build team knows just the way to enhance the appearance of your yard, with just the right mix of design elements. Subtle hardscapes provide fluid continuity that carries through from the second you step out the door, on to the yard, and beyond, to the surrounding wild: A solid, and permanent fixture, contrasted against an ever-changing natural backdrop.From flagstone walkways, to fire pits, Grigg Design is northern Virginia's premier landscape builder, serving the needs of clients in Fairfax, Arlington, Manassas, and beyond for 25 years: Hire our expert team to install a single feature such as a garden installation, patio, walkway, retaining wall, etc.; or to manage a project with many facets.Go ahead:

Turn up the dial on your curb appeal, and your landscape dreams into reality.

When All You Want for Christmas is a Manassas VA Landscape Contractor You Can Trust, Call Grigg Design

All you want for Christmas is a brand new backyard to enjoy when summer comes back ‘round. So that’s what will be. Instead of exchanging gifts this season, you’ve decided to undertake a landscaping project, to build the patio and fire pit you’ve always wanted.Setting specific goals will help determine what type of professional service provider is best suited to meet your needs. Whether that’s a space designed for recreation, function, or a little of both, the decision to renovate your backyard is an endeavor that should be undertaken with the utmost care. Do your due diligence to ensure you hire a Manassas VA landscape contractor you know you can trust.

Ask around.

Talk to friends and family whose backyards you covet, or visit your local garden center to ask for referrals. There is no better gauge of a Manassas VA landscape contractor’s skills and ability than from its customers. Take these recommendations and develop a list of possible candidates to vet and interview.

Do your research.

Before contacting any company you are considering to hire for home renovation services, check the Better Business Bureau and consult the latest regional consumer surveys that study and rank professional landscaping companies based on price, confidence, and reliability. This sort of background research will better enable you to make an informed investment.Contact your favorites and the most highly recommended with a thorough list of questions: Are you fully bonded and insured? Can I count on you to see my project from conception to completion? Will you provide an artist’s rendering of the plans we develop together? What kind of guarantee do you offer on your products and services? Ask, too, for a portfolio of past projects — and to see them personally if possible.

Trust your instincts.

Creativity and business acumen are two important factors to consider when hiring a Manassas VA landscape contractor, but so too are courtesy and communication. It is not easy; in fact it’s nearly impossible to work with someone whom you’re not comfortable around. A good working relationship is crucial, and so it’s important to ask yourself to which company you’d feel most comfortable entrusting your home, your yard, and your money.And so soon you will see the answer is clear:

Hire Manassas VA’s most trusted landscape contractor.

Grigg Design develops more than exceptional landscapes; the family owned landscape and hardscape design contractor has the experience and capability to bring the visions of Manassas VA homeowners to life, and the dedication to customer service. Get started today to beat the spring rush; call Grigg Design at (703) 368-7539 to schedule your landscaping consultation.

Protect Your Garden from that First Fairfax Frost

The days are shorter and colder, and soon everything will freeze. Everything except your plants, you hope. Protecting your garden from the frost is as simple as covering and keeping it warm, but also a complex task that begins with a proactive effort:

Select the location for your garden with care.

It’s important to consider elevation, soil properties, cover, as well as the proximity of hardscape structures and other plants when planning your garden. Cold-sensitive greenery should not be planted in open areas, or in the low lying spots where cold air settles; instead, plant them near a south- or west-facing retaining wall. Fences and shrubs can serve the same purpose to absorb light and heat.

Keep these thoughts in mind as you begin to plan your spring garden, and in the meantime, take the necessary defensive measures to see your plants through the frost.

Keep up with the watering.

Wet soil retains heat far better than dry soil, and so regular watering during the winter months will keep your plants’ roots safe and warm.

Cover the most vulnerable.

Bed sheets, plastic sheets, drop cloths, and even blankets can be used to cover and protect your plants most vulnerable to the cold. Use a protective covering overnight or on especially frigid days, but then be sure to take it off again when temperatures rise. (Mulch, straw, or composted leaves can be used in a pinch, when a quick cold snap strikes.

Gather together your container plants.

Think of this as when people huddle together for warmth; the concept is the same. Provide protection from the elements, and shelter. If possible, bring container plants inside.

Keep in mind that succulents require special care.

Some succulents thrive in cold weather, while others are more sensitive. In Fairfax and surrounding areas, where winter temperatures drop and stay below freezing, Grigg Design recommends planting succulents in pots so they can be relocated when necessary; not overwatering; and leaving damaged leaves in place to protect lower foliage.Perhaps most important to remember is this: Plants are resilient. If at any point you see signs of frost damage, don’t overreact. Wait a while, as it’s not until the weather begins to warm again in March that plants will grow healthy and new, or succumb to the frost.

Fall is for Fairfax Landscaping

Fall is For Fairfax LandscapingIf there’s a time to start a landscaping project in Fairfax, it’s right now. In the fall. Just ask any professional: The plants will endure less stress, and do quite well as they lie dormant all winter. Come spring, these same plants will have become accustomed to the cold, and will thrive as the short, cold days grow longer and warmer.And that’s not even to mention the spring rush as everyone hurriedly prepares their homes and themselves for summer’s first hurrah in May. When you call Grigg Design to have your landscape and hardscaping projects started today, you’ll be ready to entertain — no waiting, no construction, just menu planning. (Maybe you’ll even get lucky: Hope for a mild winter, and you might be able to enjoy your new patio, sitting wall or fire pit right through the cooler months.Looking for a little inspiration?Take a glimpse at a few of our current projects:      For a beautiful lawn in the spring, start your Fairfax landscaping project now.Call Grigg Design at 703-368-7539 to discuss your ideas; we are northern Virginia’s landscaping and hardscaping experts, proudly serving the counties of Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Loudoun, and surrounding areas.

Location and site selection are key to having a successful landscape

Location, Location, Location!So you just had your Father’s Day cookout, and realized your yard wasn’t nearly as attractive as you remembered. There’s crispy perennials in the hot sun, spindly shrubs in the shade, and that overgrown tree 5 feet from your house. You water the flowers every day, load the shrubs with fertilizer, and trim the tree every year, but nothing helps. What gives?!Location and site selection of the plant material you use are key to having a successful landscape.Site selection can go beyond a shady location and a sunny spot. There are many factors to consider when designing your landscape. Here are just a few.-Soil: Get a soil test kit from any Fairfax County Library. (There is a small fee of $10.00) You can analyze the soil composition, and pinpoint exactly what you need for specific plants. Beyond the chemical composition, you should look at the physical composition as well. Is it compacted clay with poor drainage with little oxygen, or is it sandy/rocky with great drainage? Certain plants can tolerate wet roots, others will not.-Mature Size: How large will the plant be at full maturity? It’s important you check the size a plant will be once it is fully established, so it doesn’t overtake the plants around it. Simply pruning a plant every year to maintain a certain size is time consuming, and detrimental to the health of the plant. (Unless your plan is for a Bonsai Garden)-Sheltered: Are you planting in a location that is sheltered from strong winds? Even on a cloudy day, your plants can lose water through transpiration when there is a constant and strong breeze. If you are landscaping in a windy location, try using plants that are drought resistant. Look for leaves with waxy cuticle, typically characteristic of a rigid shiny leaf. Plants that have smaller or less leaves also help, because the decreased surface area reduces water loss.There are several more factors that go into a proper landscape, but we will discuss those later.For now, keep these in mind and it will limit the maintenance of your landscape, as well as increase its overall health. Healthy plants are better at fending off and surviving infections and insect attack.  Less maintenance means more time to enjoy life!If you want an established professional to do the work for you, contact Grigg Design of Northern Virginia at (703)368-7539 to design and install your landscape!

Increase the Value of your Northern VA Home with Landscaping

An excellent landscape design/installation that combines a nice selection of nursery grade plants and expertly installed hardscapes can add 5.5 % to 12.7 % to a home’s value, according to research done by Virginia Tech.Are you unsuccessfully trying to sell your home or thinking of selling your home soon? Spring and Summer can be a tough as there are more homes for sale now than any other time during the year. You need something that will make your home stand-out and justify the price you are asking for.  This differentiator can be well maintained, professional landscape.A well thought-out design that complements your home, and has been well maintained over the years are two items that will draw in potential home buyers. People can tell the difference between a landscape that had a professional design and installation, versus a few small flowers and shrubs planted just to “spruce things up”.Having a professional landscape your exterior is one of the few home improvements that will continue to add value to your property as the plants age and mature. Large shade trees that have been properly placed will cool a house in the summer and help to warm the house in the winter.Not only will professional landscaping increase the value of your home, a well maintained turf area of around 5000 sqft can produce enough oxygen for a family of 4 for a year!  Plus, it can help to reduce erosion and water runoff.Finally, don’t forget that a newly installed professional landscape will give a homeowner “immediate gratification” and years of personal enjoyment with their family.  Whether you are cooking out or playing catch with your kids, some of the best memories are made in your yard.So start your landscape design build project ASAP so you can enjoy it now and receive and excellent return on your investment.

Experience & Knowledge Trumps Low Prices

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for--and you expect to pay more for experience and knowledge. For instance, companies pay employees who have 15 years of experience more than a recent college graduate.  This same pay scale applies when selecting a landscape design company in Northern Virginia; you would expect to pay more for a company who's been in business for 30 years as opposed to a company only a few years old.Companies like Grigg Design know which trees to plant, stones to use and designs to incorporate just for your home!  We’ve seen just about every landscape and we use our experience to create a custom solution that fits within your budget.When selecting any professional to work with, you need to do your homework to ensure you are hiring the best.  When it comes to implementing your project, every minor detail matters. When trying to determine value and quality of the professional you are working with, here are some questions to ask:
  • Is the company/person properly licensed?
  • Do they have adequate insurance?
  • Are they using their own employees or subcontracting?
  • How long have the employees been with the company?
  • Are the trucks marked as company trucks and are the employees in uniforms?
  • How much training have the employees had?
  • Do they wear the proper safety equipment for the task at hand? Have they been properly trained on the equipment and well versed in its use?
  • Is the job site kept clean and well organized? Is Safety the number 1 job on a project?
These are all landmarks of a well-run and trained company and employees. Sure, somebody can do any project or task for less. This is true in any Industry/Profession. However, the question that experienced consumers will ask is “How much does a low price project really cost me? “Grigg Design is one of Northern Virginia’s premier landscape design & build companies. Established in 1986 we have been providing award winning landscape designs and installations for over 30 years to clients in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Prince William County and the surrounding areas. We pride ourselves on the fact that a high percentage of our work is repeat business from our clients and referrals.If you need a Retaining Wall, Patio, Stone Fireplace, stamped concrete or any other hardscape projects, we’re the company you can trust from the design to implementation.  Give us a call today at 703-368-7539 for a free estimate.

4 Ways to Perk Up Your Outdoor Spaces With Color

Houzz is a great resource for backyard landscape design ideas. Many of our clients find inspiration from pictures they see on our Houzz page and then call us to design and build.Established in 1986 we have been providing award winning designs and installations for over twenty-nine years to clients in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Prince William and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (703)368-7539 to discuss transforming your landscape or hardscape ideas into reality.

Spring Has All But Begun — And So Too Should the Spring Yard Cleanup

Will March bring snow to our region, or cherry blossoms that bloom ahead of schedule? The ever unpredictable third month offers something different, but this year, northern Virginia homeowners are rejoicing in the pleasant temperatures, the renewing rains. They’re removing burlap from trees and shrubs shrouded from winter’s cold; pruning branches to make room for new growth; cutting back spent perennials, and pulling up old annuals; and perhaps most exciting of all: beginning to plan their big spring landscaping projects.But first — before the garden can be laid in, and before the plans for that new flagstone patio can be drawn up, there’s cleanup work to be done.

Prune dead and damaged branches.

Snow and wind (and especially a good strong blizzard) can do a number on tree and shrub branches. Now that the weather has cleared, and for good, prune those that are dead or damaged back to live stems. Use a handsaw for anything larger than a half-inch in diameter, and hand pruners instead of electric shears to shape hedges. (A note: summer-flowering shrubs can be pruned before buds appear, but forsythia and other such spring bloomers should not be pruned until they flower.)

Clean up around plants.

Grab the rake and rid the garden of fallen leaves and other dead foliage that can smother plans and foster disease. Pull up any spent annuals, and remove existing mulch to begin prepping the beds for fertilizer and spring planting.

Compost yard waste.

Those leaves and last year’s mulch, don’t just throw all that away. Compost it! It’s easy to do with a three-foot square of wire fence or even a sturdy plastic bin. Leaves and chip branches larger than a half-inch in diameter should be shredded to accelerate decomposition. Keep the pile moist; aerate every couple of weeks; and voila: ready made fertilizer. Just don’t add any early spring weeds that have gone to seed, because they might not decompose, but sprout instead.

Ensure existing hardscape surfaces are neat and tidy.

Gravel… travels. Rake any that’s escaped back into walkways and patios, and consider ordering more to fill any large gaps. Refill joints between flagstones by sweeping in new sand or stone dust; water with a hose to set it, then repeat. And then break out the pressure washer to rid the surfaces of slippery algae spots or leaf stains.Now, with a yard free of mess and debris:

It’s time to call Grigg Design to discuss the fire pit, the water feature, the landscaping project that will be the talk of the neighborhood all spring and summer long.

What a Weird, Warm Winter: Protect Your Northern VA Landscape

What a weird, weird winter we’re experiencing. With temperatures in the 50s, the 60s, and even the 70s the week of Christmas, many northern Virginians are rejoicing over the unseasonably warm temperatures, but landscape designers and garden enthusiasts are growing a little concerned about how such unusual conditions might affect the landscape’s survival.

How a warm winter affects your lawn, and what you can do about it:

Lawns go dormant in the wintertime; grass remains alive, but does not actively grow like it does in the spring and summer months. When the winter is warm, things change. Things continue to grow, but will likely grow weak due to a lack of a real chance to rest. This can be incredibly stressful for your lawn, and to prevent your precious grass from dying or falling subject to a lawn diseases, consider the following care tips.
  • Water your lawn once a week (applying at least a half-inch of moisture) when a warm winter sends temperatures into the 50–70 degree range. (But make sure to check the weather forecast for freezing temperatures.)
  • Do not mow your lawn unless you notice the grass is starting grow, and if it does grow, keep the blades below three inches in height. A lawn that grows too tall during the winter months can trap moisture and spread fungal diseases.

How a warm winter affects your plants, and what you can do about it:

Plants respond to temperature and light, both of which are generally in low supply during the winter months. But not so this year. When the temperature rises and plants get more sunshine than they are used to in winter, they can’t help but think it’s springtime and start to bloom or grow. Poor confused plants just won’t react well once the cold weather returns.It’s nearly impossible to predict when the temperatures will shift, and so it’s hard to know exactly how to prepare your plants for this kind of uncertainty because of all the factors involved. But there are a few things you can do to help keep your northern VA landscape looking lush and pleasant.
  • Lay mulch or leaves in your garden to help your plants survive whatever winter brings. Mulching helps keep your plants warm and moisture in the ground.
  • Make sure to water your plants during the warm period. They’ll have a better chance of bouncing back when spring comes.
  • Bring outdoor potted plants indoors, but make sure to water and provide plenty of sunlight.

How a warm winter affects your bushes, and what you can do about it:

Shrubs and bushes remain relatively unaffected no matter the type of winter northern Virginia sees. Why? Because they usually set their bulbs in the spring.The exception here is if flowering bushes attempt to flower; the cold air takes away valuable moisture and warmth from the buds and dries them out causing them to die, so you may simply have fewer blooms in the springtime. And there’s sadly not much you can do about that.

Have questions about how to care for your northern VA landscape this winter?

Contact the landscape and hardscape design experts; contact Grigg Design.Find us on the Digital Marketing Spotlight Blog by Conversion Pipeline