Our Mission and Goals
The Alexandria Beautification Commission (ABC) was established by the City to advise City Council and citizens on all matters related to City beautification.
- Inspire beautification through an Awards program
- Promote environmental sustainability through collaboration and engagement with City Council, City staff, and private organizations
- Educate local community on beautification and best practices
Interested in joining the Alexandria Beautification Commission? Apply here!
What Does Beautification Mean?
The Commission defines “beautification” as improvements to a community including landscaping, architecture, and sustainable environmental practices that create a healthier community and higher quality of life for its residents.
What Does Beautification Mean: A Citizen's Perspective
Every year, the City of Alexandria receives recognition from national publications. As we know Alexandria is a wonderful place to live, work, raise a family and visit. Whether Fortune Magazine, Condé Nast, or the recognition received by the many tourists from around the world that visit, we know we have something special here.
Two key components of our city are our storied history, and our natural beauty. Clearly, our rich history makes us unique, but it is the physical and aesthetic beauty of our architecture, streets, parks, and neighborhoods that give our city a feeling that keeps people coming back.
In 1966, the City established the Alexandria Beautification Commission (ABC) to advise City Council and our residents on matters related to city beautification. They work to harness public and private efforts to maintain and improve the aesthetic of our community.
The Commission works jointly with Council to promote Alexandria’s Eco-City initiative to ensure sustainable landscaping on our public lands and within our facilities. A commitment to the equitable distribution of beautification projects and resources throughout Alexandria ensures that all neighborhoods receive attention to improve and sustain their beauty.
The Commission’s impact is varied, as they provide input on long-term development projects such as the redevelopment of Landmark Mall, the upkeep of street medians and gateways, the maintenance of tree boxes, or the configuration of outdoor seating areas for local restaurants. The Commission works with several local nonprofit organizations to get the public involved in its mission of continued and sustained beautification across the city.
Recent examples of that collaboration include:
- The Beautification Awards ranging from Excellence in Architecture, Commercial and Community contributions to Beautification and Residential Beautification
- Advocacy for green infrastructure and Storm Water Management to curb the effects of climate change.
- Support of Old Town Farmer’s Market – since 1753, it is the oldest farmers' market in the country.
Additionally, the Commission seeks to elevate beautification by aligning it to the City’s critical strategic initiatives. Our efforts to battle the impacts of climate change align with beautification as we work to utilize sustainable landscaping methods and incorporate the use of native plants.
Our meadow and natural shoreline annual maintenance falls in the purview of beautification, as non-native and invasive plant removal work is performed for local meadow sites, as can be currently seen at: Windmill Hill Park, Brenman Park, Hammond Slope, Beatley Library, Telegraph and Duke streets, Fort Ward Park, and Four Mile Run Park Meadow.
These examples of environmental stewardship through collaboration show all throughout our beautiful city that cooperation between City Council and entities like the Alexandria Beautification Commission will ensure beautification equity and the Alexandria we hand to our children is one that is more beautiful than the one we inherited. There is important work ahead to maintain this commitment!
Mayor Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspiring Beautification Through Awards
The Commission encourages residents and businesses to participate in the ABC’s annual awards process whereby residents submit nominations they deem worthy of an award for exceptional beautification efforts across the following four categories:
- Residential Beautification
- Excellence in Architecture
- Community Beautification
- Commercial Beautification
2024 AWARDS INFORMATION
The next awards cycle will be in Spring 2024, keep an eye on our page and social media for the application. The Commission encourages citizens to achieve a more beautiful, and livable Alexandria through its Awards Program. Each year, residences have an opportunity to nominate candidates across the following categories:
- Residential Beautification
- Excellence in Architecture
- Community Beautification
- Commercial Beautification
Special consideration for the utilization of sustainable and green practices, landscaping and landscape architecture that create a healthier community, enjoyable lifestyle, and higher quality of life. For more information, email us at AlexandriaBeautification@gmail.com or view the Beautification Awards Criteria applicable to all nominations.
Residential Beautification Award Winners
THE 2023 RESIDENTIAL BEAUTIFICATION AWARDS
Our 2023 Residential Beautification Award winners demonstrate how the creative use of non-invasive plants, native plants, sustainable approaches, and landscape architecture along with proactive maintenance delivers garden beauty, texture, and scale in an eco-friendly way. The winners inspire others to enhance the beauty of their properties and speak to the future of Alexandria's neighborhoods as environmentally sound and dynamic.
Excellence in Architecture Award Winners
THE 2023 EXCELLENCE IN ARCHITECTURE AWARDS
Our 2023 Excellence in Architecture Award winners implemented aesthetic improvements made through novel or creative architectural design practices. The winners also embraced a commitment to the art of architecture and sustainable design applications. All of our award winners efforts' make Alexandria a more creative and dynamic community.
Community Beautification Award Winners
THE 2023 COMMUNITY BEAUTIFICATION AWARDS
Our 2023 Community Beautification Award winners demonstrated beautification of spaces that benefit the entire community through inspired design, a dedication to equity and accessibility, the installment of public art, and the application of sustainable techniques.
Commercial Beautification Award Winners
THE 2023 COMMERCIAL BEAUTIFICATION AWARDS
Our 2023 Commercial Beautification Award winners created more beautiful spaces through landscaping and color, have effectively utilized architectural and design elements, and have reinvented old, neglected spaces. Environmentally sustainable design practices and a commitment to ongoing maintenance were also demonstrated. These winners' efforts enhance our community and economy by reinventing underutilized property, implementing sustainable practices, and promoting a vibrant cityscape.
Promoting Environmental Sustainability & Advocacy
The Commission coordinates with the City on projects that involve landscape plans and offers suggestions for landscaping, plant materials, and installation. In addition, the Commission works with the City to develop a maintenance program for all landscaping installed to ensure continuity of this investment for the future.
The Commission supports sustainable beautification of underutilized spaces in the City in ways that most benefits the community, for example landscaping, improvements such as tree plantings, public art, or installation of recreational equipment.
The Commission encourages residents to reach out and share beautification ideas and issues. Here are areas of advocacy of importance for the Commission:
Green Infrastructure: The Commission supports the development of green infrastructure and storm water management to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Natural Open Space: The Commission supports policies to preserve and expand natural areas within the City. These are natural cooling areas that help offset heat absorbed and radiated by concrete, asphalt, and other materials used in our urban environment. They also mitigate flooding and reduce outflow of polluted water into the Potomac River.
Sustainable Landscaping: The Commission supports the use of native and drought-tolerant plant to beautify our City, along with sustainable landscape maintenance practices to protect our environment. The Commission advocates the cessation of planting invasive species, the removal from our natural areas, and the replacement with native plants. Learn about native plants at Plant Nova Natives.
Educating the Community About Beautification Resources & Best Practices
The Commission strives to provide residents and businesses with the best information and resources possible, and here are key resources Citywide that you’ll find of interest:
NATIVE PLANTS TO NORTHERN VA
Are you interested in planting native in your garden or at your business? Visit Plant Nova Natives for a full listing of Alexandria/NoVA approved plants!
- City Landscape Guidelines
- Recommend a Tree Planting
- Alexandria Register of Notable Trees
- Environmental Action Plan 2040
- Eco-City Alexandria
- Earth Day
- Office of Energy Management
- Stormwater Best Management Practices
NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS PROMOTING BEAUTIFICATION
BEAUTIFICATION NEWS AND CURRENT EVENTS
The Commission meets on the second Thursday of each month, at 7:30 pm., Charles Houston Rec Center, 901 Wythe St. For additional information, call Oscar Mendoza, Division Chief, at 703.746.4667.
Membership Roster - Last updated January 2023. Each Member serves a term of two years.
APPLY TO SERVE ON THE COMMISSION
The Commission encourages all residents, whether new or having lived in Alexandria for years, to join our efforts to help beautify the City of Alexandria! This commission will give you a great way to meet new people, the opportunity to participate in the beautification of Alexandria, and to stay up to date in what's going on in your community. For a list of vacancies, to submit an application or for additional information, visit Boards & Commissions. For information on membership requirements, click here.
CONTACT US WITH YOUR IDEAS
The Commission wants to hear from the citizens of Alexandria! Have an idea for a new beautification project or need, please email the Commission at: email@example.com, or send a letter to Alexandria Beautification Commission, 2900-A Business Center Drive, Alexandria, VA. 22314.
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Archived Meeting Information
- Archived Meeting information
- Median Beautification & Sustainability
On Friday, June 15, the Alexandria Beautification Commission saw a year's worth of planning and working with the City of Alexandria come to fruition with the installation of native and sustainable plant material in three medians at the heavily trafficked intersection of King St., Quaker Ln and Braddock Rd. The Commission initiated the pilot median improvement project in 2017 to make the City’s medians both more attractive and more sustainable.
The Commission recommended the use of low maintenance, no mow areas in City medians that utilize native and sustainable shrubs and perennial plants. For the past year, the Beautification Commission has been working with the City of Alexandria’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Activities to develop a cohesive landscaping plan for the medians which they hope can serve as a model for beautification of medians throughout the City. Together, their efforts have resulted in a beautiful and well-designed sustainable public space at a busy intersection.