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Meet Surrounds Landscaping

Why we do what we do.

Inspired by nature, we design, build, and nurture landscapes that inspire you to spend more time living outdoors.

When we began this journey, our company name emerged from the idea that the beauty of nature surrounds us. Why not embrace that?

This is our guiding principle and the reason we are dedicated to enriching lives with outdoor living environments that celebrate the awesome beauty of nature.

Creators of dazzling landscapes that make your heart beat faster slower.

We’ve helped thousands of clients make a beautiful backdrop for life’s best moments with one-of-a-kind designs for outdoor living.

Maybe we could help you achieve that goal, too:

  • Our landscape architects work closely with you to imagine the full scope of possibilities.
  • Our master craftsmen transform concepts into breathtaking reality, infusing artistry into every detail.
  • Our proactive garden management team delivers dynamic service and plant care, so you enjoy beautiful surroundings without a care all year round. 

You don’t need to settle for lackluster landscaping or spend your precious time outdoors on upkeep.

What Clients Say

Award Winning Landscape
Design & Maintenance

We are honored to have won the recognition of our esteemed colleagues in the Landscape Contractors Association (LCA) of Virginia, Maryland & Washington DC.

Professional recognition means a lot to us. It is almost as important as winning the trust and respect of our clients. It is because of our clients’ ambition that these beautiful works were made in the first place. So, we thank them especially for entrusting us with the delightful task of re-imagining their outdoor environments.

Awards won since 2005

Our People

Leadership

Barry Schneider, President

Barry is a partner in one of the most successful landscape architecture and construction firms in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. His long interest in landscaping began during his childhood in Easton, PA, when he discovered a talent for growing plants. While studying landscape design and contracting in Florida, Barry started his own residential design/build landscape company. Wanting more challenges and excitement, Barry relocated to Atlanta to join one of the largest commercial landscaping companies in the Southeast. While there, Barry was given the opportunity to move to the Washington, DC area and head a start-up design/build residential branch. Barry grew this operation into a successful and profitable organization.

In 2002, armed with 25 years of experience which included his collective wisdom from his first solo venture and years with some of the biggest landscape contractors in the country, Barry knew he was ready to go out on his own again. Partnering with Howard Cohen, Registered Landscape Architect, they founded Surrounds. “Our goal at Surrounds,” Barry says, “is to turn all of our clients into raving fans.” Barry oversees the business end of Surrounds but still keeps in touch with his landscaping roots by regularly visiting the various job sites to ensure the work is completed with the high-quality standard that is the Surrounds signature.

Barry has three daughters and is an avid sailor and snowboarder.

Thomas Strange, Operations Manager

Growing up in a rural part of the eastern shore of Maryland, Thomas was introduced to horticulture at an early age. He spent his summers working on tree and shrub farms where he learned how to care for plants from propagation to maturity. Using his base in horticulture and education in business management, Thomas went to work for a nationally recognized home builder. He started as an assistant supervisor and continued upward to become the Mid-Atlantic regional manager. He oversaw employees in the landscape maintenance and design-build departments producing a volume of $11M per year. In time, however, the mass production approach to landscaping, although very well done, began to feel less exciting to him.

Thomas admits that he and others at his company used to scour the Surrounds website for ideas when they installed a new property. When he saw there was a department head position open, he leapt. He says, “What drew me to Surrounds was the calibre of work they are known for. You are working with top architects and maintaining award winning projects. It’s the best of the best.”

In his spare time, Thomas likes to be out in nature–preferably on water canoeing, kayaking, or sailing.

Mike Flickinger, Controller

Mike graduated from the University of South Carolina where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Management. Before joining Surrounds, Mike worked in contract accounting in the rent & royalty department of a global food service management company. He also served a year in AmeriCorps as the volunteer coordinator at Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Montgomery County. Mike sees accounting as a process of reconstructing data to make it easy for a client or employer to understand and make use of that information. 

Mike spends much of his time outdoors. Some of his favorite activities are hiking, playing with his dog, and golfing. He has also developed an interest in woodworking and building. In fact, one of the reasons he joined Surrounds is because he liked the idea of working for a business that is actively engaged in creating, building, and enhancing the environment.

HOWARD COHEN, CO-FOUNDER, PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT (PLA)

In 2002, Howard joined forces with Barry Schneider to co-found Surrounds. Howard says he came into his career somewhat by accident, but it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He grew up in the Baltimore suburbs and thought he would like to be an architect. Halfway through college, he concluded that although he loved the idea of architecture and buildings, his true calling was landscape architecture. As a child, he grew cacti, tended a vegetable garden, pruned plants for people, and had a pretty good ability to draw. “I was a landscaper,” he said, “but I just didn’t realize it.” 

Howard graduated with honors in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia and returned to Baltimore. He met Barry at a Landscape Contractors Association (LCA) meeting and took the opportunity to show off his portfolio of drawings. Barry hired Howard on the spot and the two have been working together ever since.

Chad Talton, Professional Landscape Architect (PLA)

It was a great day for Surrounds when Chad became part of the team. After a few meetings, it was evident that Chad had the ability and high style to create the award-winning quality outdoor environments that is the Surrounds signature. 

Since joining Surrounds in the Fall of 2006, Chad has quickly built a reputation for himself with his artistic skills that enable him to transform a client’s dream into reality. From the drafting table to field supervision, Chad maintains a focus on the integrity and details of design in order to fulfill the singular vision of Surrounds environments. 

Chad is a Registered Professional Landscape Architect in both Virginia and Maryland.

Joe Cavallaro, professional Landscape Architect (pla)

Joe Cavallaro arrived at Surrounds after working for over 10 years at several large and prestigious landscape architecture firms. During that time, he found that the emphasis on commercial projects at large firms put limitations on his creativity because much of the design is prescribed by ever-changing budgets as well as the priorities of municipalities and counties.

So, he set his mind on finding a position with a premier residential landscape firm. At Surrounds, Joe works side by side with Senior Landscape Architect Chad Talton. He enjoys being part of a small group that works collaboratively. He has also found a wealth of opportunities for creative expression in the residential side of the business.

He feels residential design is more fulfilling and where he belongs as a Landscape Architect. The uniqueness of the properties is what makes the design fun and challenging. One of his favorite projects (before Surrounds) was working on a design for the front yard landscape and parking court for the grandchildren of the Busch family in Cooperstown, New York.

Joe owns property on the Rappahannock River near the Bay. He likes to spend time there with his large extended family (children and grandchildren). He loves talking with the neighbors, hanging out on the dock or being on the boat. And he loves fishing.

Joe received his B.A. in Landscape Architecture from the SUNY School of Environmental Science & Forestry at Syracuse, New York.

Matt Stowell, Landscape Designer

Matt Stowell began his career with Kimley-Horn, a multi-disciplinary firm in Baltimore. There, Matt served as a production manager in the newly formed landscape architecture group led by the well-known landscape architect Scott Scarfone. A few years later, he moved to LSG Landscape Architecture where he managed commercial and municipal projects from design through construction.

Matt says that Surrounds came to mind when he thought of moving into the residential design-build realm. He felt that the scale of commercial projects didn’t leave him space to add a personal touch. “With big complex office building renovations, public parks, multi-family housing, and mixed-use projects, there just isn’t enough time or budget to create a design that both satisfies client interests and the design quality I was searching for.” He finds that the process of design-build facilitates collaboration among all the participants. The team approach makes it possible to refine ideas and turn them into buildable designs that will make people happy. That team spirit and focus on client happiness is what sold him on Surrounds.

Matt received his B.A. in landscape architecture from Penn State in 2017. He is halfway to becoming a licensed Professional Landscape Architect (PLA) having passed two of the four exams. In addition, he has completed project management training through the Professional Services Management Journal (PSMJ) and is an American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) member.

Outside of work, he is a huge fan of live music. He follows the band Phish around the country as well as the Grateful Dead. (He was raised by Dead Heads). He also is a fisherman, mountain biker, and home gardener.

Corey Dyer, Assistant Landscape Architect

Corey Dyer has always been driven by curiosity and a passionate interest in the outdoors. As a young man he enjoyed camping and hiking, in part because he was fascinated by the way natural environments develop. “Why does this tree grow here but not there? What makes this all work together?” He says there is a “why” to everything and he is intent on discovering it. This inquisitive sensibility about natural environments evolved into a desire to understand the way designed environments are arranged and put together to achieve a natural effect.

After completing his degree in landscape architecture at The Ohio State University, Corey took a position with Larosa Landscape, a Milwaukee landscape design-build firm. There, he says he learned a lot about how native perennials are adapted to the soil and growing season in the upper Midwest. He also found that residential landscape design suited him well because it encouraged creativity, and the interaction with clients was more personal. After two years, he decided to return East so he could experience working in a different climate zone. A colleague who had worked at Surrounds urged him to apply there and made an introduction for him.

In his role as an assistant landscape architect, Corey works primarily with senior architect Howard Cohen. He attends client meetings, drafts design concepts, develops planting plans, and assists with materials selections and pricing. He likes the environment at Surrounds because he feels he is part of a true team effort. Even though people are at different levels of experience and expertise, there is a lot of camaraderie. There is an easy give and take when bouncing ideas around that he says makes coming to work each day something he looks forward to.

When not creating planting plans or drafting design ideas Corey loves opening a vegan cookbook and trying something new. He loves cooking and sharing food with others. He indulges a good habit of swimming laps at the YMCA on weekday mornings. And his passion for hiking and camping endures. He has pitched his tent in many national forests including sites in the Florida Keys, Michigan’s upper peninsula, the battlefield at Gettysburg.

Daniel Erickson, Garden Management Department Head

BIO COMING SOON!

joe giglio garden manager

Joe Giglio, Production Manager

Joe Giglio is the Garden Management department production manager. He oversees the operations of the maintenance and enhancement crews. In his daily briefing, he reviews tasks, confirms job locations, and advises personnel of client requests and special work orders. He makes sure that the crews have the right tools and materials they need before they set out for the day. Joe is a VNLA (Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association) certified horticulturist and certified IPM (integrated pest management) applicator.

Gardening and landscaping have always been a passionate hobby for Joe. Although he spent considerable time in the manufacturing and construction sectors, his desire to make his living outdoors eventually won out. He built his professional profile in the Charlottesville area gaining experience in both residential and commercial landscaping. Before coming to Surrounds Joe was Head Gardener & Job Manager for J.W. Townsend, a premier high-end firm in Charlottesville. Joe is a perfectionist. “I live to make people happy”, he says, “and I love working with my hands. It makes me feel good about myself”.

When he isn’t working, Joe loves spending time traveling, hiking, kayaking, and camping with his family and miniature Schnauzer Skye.

John McLeod, Garden Manager

In addition to 19 years of experience in commercial and residential landscaping, John brings a wealth of horticultural expertise to his role as a garden manager. His educational background features a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Clemson University and many “trainer” level professional certifications including certified arborist (International Society of Arboriculture) and certified horticulturist (Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association). While at Clemson, he gained experience in specialty garden design and maintenance at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens.

Having spent many years at a corporate commercial landscaping company, John found what he was looking for at Surrounds: a smaller company where he could get to know all his coworkers. He especially appreciates getting back into residential landscaping: “The clients are just passionate about what we do. Whereas with commercial property, the owners didn’t have the appreciation — it wasn’t personal.” He maintains regular communication with his clients to answer their questions and ensure they are happy with the care they are receiving. He regularly walks properties to make sure all tasks have been completed and nothing missed. And he looks for opportunities to improve each property.

John lives in Sterling with his wife who home schools his son and also serves as a tutor for an English language program called VIP Kids. John loves hiking and backpacking. He often brings his son with him to his favorite local spots Balls Bluff and Bear’s Den. He looks forward to the day his son will be old enough to go on a more ambitious backpacking trip.

Grace Lyons, Garden Manager

BIO COMING SOON!

Edward Irvin, Irrigation & Lighting Specialist

Irvin ( he goes by his last name) has worked on machinery since he was a teenager. He is one of those gifted types who can pretty much troubleshoot and fix anything. “If it is mechanical or electrical, he says, it pretty much makes sense to me.” He got his initial training in automotive mechanics at Job Corps at the Department of Labor and spent six years of his professional life as an automotive mechanic. Since then, he has invested in continuing education in multiple trades. He says that he collects certifications like some people collect trading cards. In the process he has broadened his skill set by learning on the job, taking positions as a carpenter, welder, auto body repair tech, and PLC technician (wiring and programming of logic controllers on industrial machinery). Before joining Surrounds, Irvin worked for two years at a large commercial landscape company as an irrigation technician. He couldn’t get used to the impersonal feeling he got from working in a corporate environment at a large company. Surrounds is the opposite of that for him. The first person he met was the company president who took a genuine interest in him during the interview. He took the job.

Jason Brady, Turf & Plant Healthcare Technician

BIO COMING SOON!

Francisco Arana, Production Manager

Francisco grew up in Northern Virginia. Upon graduating High School, he started working for a foundation repair contractor. He started as a laborer, worked in different departments of the business, and ultimately became the Production Manager in 2012. After 11 years there, he joined the Surrounds Team. 

Francisco believes the idea that you can never settle, and should constantly look for ways to improve yourself and the team you are leading. It would be this mentality that landed Francisco at Surrounds where he leads and assists our Job Managers and Construction Crews on their daily and upcoming projects. 

Francisco truly loves working with homeowners and focusing on the high level of customer service they deserve. In his free time, Francisco enjoys traveling and attending concerts and is an avid Washington Capitals fan.

Andrew Childs, Project Manager

During his 2nd semester at Penn State, Andrew took a History of Architecture course that stirred his interest in landscaping. He was inspired by the different design styles and environments that designers have created throughout history. However, rather than draw the idea, he wanted to be able to dig in and build it. Andrew recalls, “I knew I didn’t want to be indoors sitting at a desk.”

He graduated from Penn State in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Contracting, with a focus on the design/build aspect of the industry. He promptly began his career at Surrounds as a foreman-in-training. Three year later, he moved up to become a Job Manager.

When working as a Certified Landscape Technician (CLT), Andrew always enjoyed the challenge of getting the grading just right when laying patio surfaces, especially around pools. It is a tricky process of digging, layering, leveling, and setting pavers that must be perfectly installed at each step.

Having done the work season after season, he has gained the ability to troubleshoot and solve problems in real time. As a project manager, he now shares that wealth of experience with the job managers under his supervision.

Outside of work, Andrew enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and dreaming up new ways to improve their Point of Rocks, Maryland home.

David Mazur, Job Manager

David Mazur brings nearly thirty years of experience in the landscape industry to his role at Surrounds.

His entry into landscaping wasn’t exactly planned but, in retrospect it seems his vocation was part of some master plan that was revealed to him shortly after he graduated Virginia Tech with a degree in Sociology. He took that degree and moved to Nantucket Island. At the time, he says there were five types of jobs available to those who were not independently wealthy: tending bar, waiting tables, building houses, painting houses—or landscaping. David chose landscaping. He started out tending estate sized gardens in the French and English style which he describes as “amazing, award winning, tour bus stop gardens.” Each year, he would learn as much as he could, then move up to the next skills level. He eventually took a position with Sconset Gardener where he served as a project manager.

When his wife ‘to be’ received a job offer she couldn’t refuse, they moved to McLean, Virginia. The move turned out very well for David, too. He found his dream job at the Washington DC office of Zen Associates, a high profile design firm, that had just finished building the Peace Garden at the United Nations in New York. He ran the DC office for 18 of his 20 years there. When the firm announced closure of the DC wing, David sought a company that was doing interesting design work and sizable projects. That led him to Surrounds.

David is happiest when he’s working on anything artistic, and particularly loves the aesthetic detail that goes into stone work. His ultimate goal is to ensure his clients are completely satisfied, and that their new space brings them a sense of peace and joy.

David enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, two dogs, one cat (Mr. Meow), and fifteen koi fish (he built his own koi pond) at their home in Fairfax. He enjoys international travel and “watching his family have fun and enjoy life!”

Jake Richmond, Job Manager

Jake Richmond started as a crew leader and job manager trainee in the design-build group under Andrew Childs. He loves to get his hands dirty and spends most days on-site working side-by-side with the installation crews. Jake’s supervisor, Andrew, says he fit in very well and very quickly at Surrounds. “He works hard and the guys really respect him.” 
 
Jake pursued a degree in economics and pre-law on a merit-based President’s Scholarship at Campbell University in Raleigh North Carolina where he also made Dean’s list. He spent summers working outdoors on landscape maintenance crews. When he graduated in the thick of the pandemic (2021) jobs were scarce. His applications for consulting positions came up dry but he received multiple offers from landscaping companies. 
 
He took a position with a large commercial landscaping company as a site foreman and later moved up to a project manager position. This endeavor was meant to be temporary, but Jake says that whatever he does, he throws himself wholly into it. Such was the case with landscaping. He got hooked and has never looked back. 
 
When he is not working or thinking about work, Jake loves to get out and play golf. He has played since he was a kid. He also loves Ultimate (frisbee) and played every other weekend when he was in Raleigh. He plans to check out a group that meets on weekends at the National Mall. 

Brian Rehak, Job Manager

Brian started out with Surrounds as a construction technician in 2018. A year later, after completing Surrounds’ rigorous management training program, he was promoted to job manager with the construction team. His first jobs were small in scope but he quickly graduated to managing projects with six-figure budgets and four to six months of construction time.

At the outset of each project, Brian meets with the landscape architect to make sure he understands the vision they are trying to achieve, then communicates that vision to his crew and takes responsibility for its fulfillment. His objective is to make the process roll out as smoothly and predictably as possible so he arrives at a successful project with a happy customer at the end.

Prior to arriving at Surrounds, Brian had been a field supervisor with a foundation repair company. The construction knowledge and skills he acquired there over a ten year period were readily transferable to running a landscape construction crew. He says the difference between these two worlds is vast. Nobody gets excited about having to fix their foundation. But the work he does for Surrounds customers brings a level of aesthetic pleasure and gratification unlike any other job he’s done: “It’s amazing to see a big muddy mess be turned into a beautiful environment that the people are going to enjoy for the rest of their lives. It’s something where you go, Wow, guys, look what we did!”

Louanne Sigler, Office Manager

When asked about her attitude towards work and professionalism, Louanne does not hesitate to credit her dad as being her most important influence. She recalls, “All of my business aspirations came from him. He did not have a college degree and he was very successful. Just watching how he prepared for a sales meeting gave me the idea of the kind of professional person I wanted to be.” 

Louanne is a graduate of Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia and a Delta Sigma Phi. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. Louanne spent ten years working as a production coordinator in different industries. Her position at Surrounds draws upon her business background. Here she is assists with finance, accounting, and human resources. Looking back over her career she says, “I realize how much I care about the companies I work for. It is really important to enjoy who you work with. I think that makes a huge difference.” 

In her free time, Louanne enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. She especially enjoys cooking and baking for her friends and family.

Luanne Stanton, Accounting Manager

BIO COMING SOON!

Brittany Edwards, Production Administration

One of Brittany’s strengths is her ability to jump in and learn on the job. In fact, the desire to challenge herself and expand her skills is what brought Brittany to Surrounds.

After several years at a Fairfax auto dealership reliably managing accounts payable and title registrations, her days began to feel a bit predictable. She felt the need for a challenge and so began the search for a new position, one that would provide opportunity to grow and advance herself.

In her day-to-day role at Surrounds, Brittany is responsible for managing vital sales and marketing data.  She tracks time for the landscape maintenance department, distributes the weekly jobsite visits schedule, enters design sales, contracts, change orders, and new sales inquiries into the management system. She says that every day is different. There is always something new going on—and she likes it that way.  She is particularly excited about implementing a new accounting software for the company.

Brittany treasures spending time with her daughter and her large extended family. She and her daughter bake together. Pastry, cookies, and cupcakes are favorites. And with so many family birthdays and cookouts, that comes in handy. Brittany also enjoys spending time with her “other child”, a 3-year old French bull dog named Tank.

What Clients Say

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