Landscape Definitions (yellow)  and Common Abbreviations (orange)


Acid soil - A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil. (a soil pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline) Basically, pH is a measure of the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil.
Acre - A measure of land totaling 43,560 square feet. A square acre is 208.75 feet on each side.
AD- Area Drain
Aerate - Loosening or puncturing the soil to increase water penetration.
AGG- Aggregate
Alkaline soil - A soil with a pH higher than 7.0 is an alkaline soil. (a soil pH lower than 7.0 is acidic) Basically, pH is a measure of the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil.
Alcove- a small recess opening off a larger room
Annuals - Plants whose life cycle lasts only one year, from seed to blooms to seed.
Arboretum - A garden with a large collection of trees and shrubs cultivated for scientific or educational purposes.
Arbor - Wooden garden arbors (arbours) are open frameworks designed to offer shady resting places in a garden or park. Arbors are often made of rustic work or latticework which serves as a trellis on which climbers may grow or on which creepers may be trained. 
ARCH- Architect


Back splash - Ex. The 4", 6" or 8" lip that sticks up behind the counter top of a masonry BBQ / Kitchen
Baluster- one of a number of closely spaced supports (usually a masonry type pillar that has a larger base than its top)  for a fence railing, porch railing, etc.
Bare root - Plants offered for sale which have had all of the soil removed from their roots.
Bedding plant - Plants (mainly annuals), nursery grown and suitable for growing in beds. Quick, colorful flowers.
Bonsai - The art of growing carefully trained, dwarf plants in containers.
Bud - Early stages of development of a flower or plant growth.
BLDG- Building
BOT- Bottom
BR- Bare Root
Bulb - The thickened underground storage organ of the group of perennials which includes daffodils and tulips.
B.W. - Bottom of Wall


CF- Cubic Feet
Chamfer - to cut a bevel on; shape to a bevel; of surfaces
Chlorophyll - The green pigment in leaves. When present and healthy usually dominates all other pigments.
CJ- Control Joint
CL- Center Line
CLM- Column
CLR- Clear
CMU- Concrete masonry unit
Compost - An organic soil amendment resulting from the decomposition of organic matter.
CONC- Concrete
CONST- Construction
CONT- Continuous
Conifer - A cone bearing tree with tiny needlelike leaves.
Control Joint - is placed into a concrete surface to control cracking. 
Coping - a finishing or protective course or cap to an exterior masonry wall.
Crown  - The point at which a plants roots and top join. (usually at soil level)
Cultivate - Process of breaking up the soil surface, removing weeds, and preparing for planting.
CY- Cubic yards


Deadheading - The process of pinching or snipping off used or spent blooms to keep the plants well groomed and to prevent them from setting seed. This will promote continued bloom.
dethatch - Process of removing dead stems that build up beneath lawn grasses.
DIA - diameter 
Deciduous plant - Plants bearing male flowers on one plant and female flowers on another. In order to produce fruit and viable seeds, both a female and male plant must be present
Dividing - The process of splitting up plants, roots and all that have began to get bound together. This will make several plants from one plant, and usually should be done to mature perennials every 3 to 4 years.
Dormancy - The yearly cycle in a plants life when growth slows and the plant rests.
Dowel - inserts into holes in two adjacent pieces and holds them together. Ex. A piece of rebar between expansion joints.
D.G. - decomposed granite
Dobie- 2" or 3" concrete block with metal wire tie to raise rebar to proper height.
D.I. - drain in-let
DIA- Diameter
DOUG- Douglas Fir
DF- Douglas Fir
DP - deep
Drip line - The circle which would exist if you drew a line below the tips of the outer most branches of a tree or plant.
D.S. - down spout
DWGS- Drawings

E- Existing
EA- Each
Efflorescence -  A growth of salt crystals on a surface caused by evaporation of salt in water.  
E.J. - expansion joint - a separation in concrete
EL - Elevation 
ELEC- Electrical
Espalier - a trellis on which an ornamental shrub or fruit tree is grown.
E.Q. - equal
ESP- Espalier
EST- Estimate
Expansion Joint - is a separation in concrete usually filled with a fiber expansion board.  Concrete expands and contracts with temperature and moisture changes.  The fiber expansion board will expand and compress between the concrete separation. 


Fascia - flat horizontal surface on a building
FF - finished floor (elevation)
FG - final grade (elevation)
FIN- Finish
Finial- an ornament at the top of a spire or gable; usually a foliated fleur-de-lis
Fluff Factor:  The unit of expansion for excavated compacted soils.  Clay soils (approx. 1.3) will have a higher fluff factor then sand (approx. 1.25).  
FOC- Face of curb
FTG- Footing


GAL- Gallon
GALV- Galvanized
Gazebo- a small roofed structure affording shade and rest
Grotto- a small cave (usually with attractive features)
Grubbing- to clear the surface of the ground by removing roots, weeds, etc. 
GVL- Gravel


H- High
HDR- Header
Hearth- an open recess in a wall at the base of a chimney where a fire can be built, the paved floor of a fireplace (usually extending out into the room)
HORZ- Horizontal
HP- High Point
HT- Height


ID- Inside Diameter
INCL- Included
INV- Inverted


Joist - used to support floors 



Landing - Pad (concrete, wood, masonry, etc.) at the front, side or rear entrance of a house
Ledger - usually a piece of wood attached to the side of a home to support an arbor.
Linear - involving a single dimension
Leveling course - material used to level pavers or flagstone 

Lumber - Grades:  
Select Structural- sound, firm encased and pith knots are to be tight, well spaced and limited up to 7/8".  Unsound or loose knots or holes are limited up to 3/4", one per 4' lineal. 
Number One- knots must be same type as in select structural grade, up to 1 - 1/2".  Unsound or loose knots or holes are limited up to 1", one per 3' lineal.  Wane is allowable.
Number Two- well-spaced knots of any quality up to 2", with one hole up to 1 - 1/4" per 2' lineal.   Wane and skips are included. 
Number Three- knots of any quality can be up to 2 - 1/2", with one hole up to 1 - 3/4" per lineal foot.  Wane and skips are included. 

Lumber - Wane:   
Wane is the uncut edge of a board that has been milled from a tree. Essentially it is the 'bark' edge so instead of having a square cut piece of wood you have the contour of the outer edge of the tree on one or both sides of milled board. Once the board is 'edged' or squared off then you have dimensional lumber.

Lumber - Skip:   
An area in planed or sanded lumber or panels which was missed by the machine during the surfacing operation.

L.F. - Linear foot
LP- Low Point
LS- Lump Sum
L.V.- Low Voltage


MAX- Maximum
MIN- Minimum
MISC- Miscellaneous
Mulch -  Mulch is a layer of organic or inorganic material that is spread out on top of the soil to protect against erosion and conserve moisture. Both organic and inorganic mulches have many benefits, although organic mulch actually enriches the soil. Mulch helps plants maintain a more even soil temperature and prevents weed growth to reduce garden maintenance. In addition, mulch gives your garden beds a neat, landscaped appearance.
MT- Multi Trunk


NCN- No common Name
NIC - Not In Contract
N.T.S. - Not to scale
Nosing - top lip/edge of concrete step


O.C. - on center
OD- Outside Diameter


P.A. - planting area
Peak frame - roof structure of arbor
Pergola- is a garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained.
Plumb- true according to a plumb line; exactly, perpendicular or vertical direction
Precast - Items that were made from a cast or form. Ex.  wall cap, retaining wall block
Preliminary Lien Notice - The California preliminary 20-day notice is sometimes referred to as the preliminary notice, the pre-lien, the pre-lim, or the 20 day notice. The purpose of the notice is to alert the property owner, the prime contractor, the construction lender and the bonding company of the existence of subcontractors and material suppliers, and that these contractors and suppliers have lien rights. This process is pursuant to California Civil Code 3097, 3098, 3011, 3059.5. In summary it is a merely a notice that the company or person that sent the Preliminary Lien has provided materials or labor to improve your property and could file a lien if they are not paid.   MORE INFORMATION
Pilaster - a rectangular column (fence post,)
PL- Property Line
POB- Point of beginning
POC - point of connection
PT- Pressure Treated



Rafter - used to support a roof
R - riser (as in a step height)
R- Radius
RWD- Redwood

Sacking - applying a mixture of sand and cement to the sides of a concrete structure (steps, wall, etc.) to make a better appearance.  (Glue can be added to the mix or the structure)
SCH- Schedule
Score Lines - are used on concrete surfaces to add lines or shapes providing design interest.  
SHT- Sheet
SIM- Similar
SL- Score Line
Slope or Grade - also referred to as incline, gradient, pitch or rise.  You can express a slope as: 1) angle - usually expressed in degrees, 2) percentage- usually called the grade and is expressed by "rise divided by run",   3) ratio "rise" to "run" - example: 1 to 2 ratio: meaning 1 ft of rise to 2 ft of run or distance).
Slump - The term slump used in concrete means the firmness or flexibility of fresh, newly mixed concrete. The slump is measured by filling a 12" cylinder up with concrete, then flipping it over, removing the cylinder and setting it next to the concrete. The distance the concrete "slumps" down from the top of the cylinder is the slump for that concrete. For example, if the concrete falls 5" from the top of the cylinder, that concrete is on a 5" slump.
Soil Conditioner - is a product which is added to soil to improve the soil’s physical qualities, especially its ability to provide nutrition for plants. Soils tend to become compacted over time. Soil compaction impedes root growth, decreasing the ability of plants to take up nutrients and water. 
STD- Standard
SQ- Square
Stoop - small porch or set of steps at the front, side or rear entrance of a house
Subgrade - soil under base rock 
Summerhouse- a small roofed structure affording shade and rest
Stem Wall - Ex. a wall that connects or parallels concrete or masonry steps,  usually sticking out past the last step.
SYM- Symbol


T- tread (as in the length of a step)
T & B - Top and bottom
TBD - to be determined 
TBS - to be selected
Terrace - paved outdoor area joining a residence
THK- Thick
Top Soil - Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil, which is high in nutrients and organic matter. Topsoil is composed of three main components in varying amounts: clay, sand and silt.  Proper blending of these components can create a healthy, fertile growing medium for your landscaping needs.
TP- Type of pavement
T.W. - top of wall
TYP- Typical


UON- Unless otherwise noted

V - rebar
Veneer - an ornamental coating (tile, flagstone, cultured stone, etc.)  to a building or structure
VERT- Vertical


W- Wide
Wall Vault- Concrete or wood retaining wall creating a hole in the ground with supported sides.
W.E.L.O- Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance  -  PDF - W.E.L.O. ordinance
As of January 1, 2010, the state of California implemented a Water Conservation ordinance, “AB 1881”.
This ordinance is designed to control excessive use of water in landscaping; to include planting areas, lawn, swimming pools, ponds, vegetable gardens and fountains.
There have been ordinances in the past that tried to accomplish the same conservation but was ignored because of the lack of a method of enforcing it. AB 1881, the Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance also known as “WELO”, does have ‘Teeth’; the state uses the permit process to be the trigger mechanism.
Whenever a Homeowner/Contractor submits plans for any new or remodel construction, the city or county will want to know if the project meets the secondary trigger which is usually based on square footage of landscape area. In the case of Contra Costa County, they follow the minimum requirements that the state has set and that is 5,000 sq. ft.
The ordinance requires the designer/contractor to design for water use on the project to a variety of parameters based on: plant water requirements, lawn water requirements, pool, fountain and pond water evaporation and soil against the Maximum Applied Water Allowance, “MAWA”.
This process requires many extra hours of research and design. The final results will be based among other things on:
1.       Soils report contractor/designer will take multiple samples and submit them to a soils lab for a report.
2.       Determining “Hydrozones”, based on mini-climates on site.
3.       Plant selection, using the WULCOLS species evaluation list to choose the appropriate plants.
4.       Proper design of Irrigation, using a highly efficient irrigation design in order to maximize plant-scape            versatility.
5.       Soil infiltration, the rate at which your soil will absorb water.
Plus other considerations…
The end result is to produce a landscape design that keeps the Estimated Total Water Usage “ETWU”, under the Maximum Applied Water Allowance MAWA, and one that will pass the mandatory audit required at the end of the project.
Eastrock landscape believes we are way ahead of most other contractors & designers in the processing of the requirements of the state ordinance.  
WWM - welded wire mesh # __ gage



Landscape Definitions

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