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Accent Plants: A plant of special interest that is usually part of a larger planting. Accent plants provide interest throughout the seasons through specific forms, textures, colors, etc.

Annual Gardens: Gardens that need to be replanted each year because the plants are not cold hardy. Annuals are frequently chosen for their intense flowering and often become focal points in the landscape.

Balance: Balance is the relationship between elements in the landscape. Balance can be formal or informal. Formal balance would usually mean that one side of the landscape is a mirror of the other, while informal balance is when plant sizes and numbers are only relatively similar on both sides.

Base Map: A drawing that incorporates all of the information collected about the landscape and provides the basics to be used in the landscape design process.

Base Plan: The creation of bubble diagrams, concept plans, draft designs, all of which are eventually used to create a completed landscape design.

Border Planting: A plant or plant grouping that divides spaces in a landscape or between adjacent properties.

Bubble Diagram: Bubble diagrams consist of a series of circles or rounded shapes drawn on paper to show what the areas in the landscape will be used for. The areas may represent a turf area, a shrub border, a perennial garden, a dog kennel, etc.

Client or Family Interview: A meeting between the client and the landscape designer where the designer can gather information about the needs and wants of a client. This information will be considered throughout the design process.

Clients: Anyone who hires an individual or company to provide landscape service or a product, such as a homeowner who hires a nursery to landscape his/her property.

Commercial Grounds: Commercial grounds usually surround a business, townhouse complex, or an apartment building. Often, there is a supervisor or committee established by the company to govern decisions about the landscape. Landscape maintenance firms or a department within the firm maintain the grounds.

Completed Landscape Design: A completed landscape design in plan view (bird's-eye view). This plan has all the information necessary to install the landscape.

Concept Lines: Visible or invisible lines that define spaces or divide areas in the landscape. Some concept lines become bed lines or edging lines in the completed landscape.

Concept Plans: Initial drawing of how the spaces in the landscape will appear. This drawing evolves from the shapes developed in the bubble diagram.

Corner Plantings: Any planting group that occupies a corner location - typically the corner of a property. Corner plantings blend border plantings together.

Cost Effectiveness: A satisfactory return from the dollars spent on landscape design, implementation, or maintenance.

Draft Designs: Preliminary designs consisting of key plants, plant and hard-good groupings as well as concept lines and spaces. Draft designs will become a completed landscape plan as specific plants and hard-goods are selected for each location.

Easements: An interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use or enjoyment.

Elements of Design: Criteria used in selecting and organizing plant materials and hard-goods and organizing them into the landscape. The designer must consider both primary and secondary elements of design.

Emphasis: Major landscape components are highlighted more than less important ones. Framing, plant numbers, or creating an unusual focal point are examples of creating emphasis in the landscape.

Entry Garden: Landscape area near the entry to a building which calls attention to the entry area and to certain plants.

Environmentally Sound: A landscape that does not harm the environment, soil, water, and air. An environmentally sound landscape is less dependent on pesticides, fertilizers, and water to maintain the desired appearance.

Form: The outline a plant creates as well as the 3-D features it produces, columnar, round, vase, weeping, oval, etc. Form should be considered early in the design process.

Foundation Plantings: Plantings located in beds surrounding the base of a structure. Foundation plantings can be made continuously or in segments. They provide transitions adjacent to patio and entry gardens. They frequently contain several key plants.

Freestanding or Group Plantings: Plantings that are apart from a structure or other plantings. Sometimes called an island planting depending upon location.

Functional: Any part of the landscape with a specific purpose for its location other than just aesthetics. Functionality is associated with uses of the landscape.

Hard-Goods: All of the construction materials used to create structure in the landscape. Examples include boulders, pavers, landscape timbers, and fencing. Hard-goods also include drain tile, irrigation, and other things not always visible in the landscape.

Hardscaping: Features in the landscape other than plant materials. Examples include walks, fences, and retaining walls.

Height and Width: Height and width are the estimated mature sizes a plant will reach, both in upright and outward direction. These two elements are very important in plant selection and plant location. If plants are selected without considering height and width, they are often improperly spaced which can cause problems in the future of the landscape.

Imaginary Lines: Lines that define spaces within a landscape but are not necessarily separated by specific plantings or bed lines.

Implementation: The process of installing plant materials and hard-goods into the landscape. Landscape implementation is carried out according to the completed landscape design.

Key Plants: Landscape plant or plants placed in a highly visible location. Key plants are frequently used individually or in groups of three. They are often associated with the screening, or softening of architectural features such as building corners, steps, fences, etc.

Landscape: Area where plants, turf, decks, walks, etc., have been used to create an outdoor living area that makes the area functional and visually pleasing.

Landscape Architect: A licensed professional who plans and designs landscapes. In some states this designation can only be used by certified professionals. Landscape architects are usually schooled in engineering and architecture and typically work on projects larger than residential properties.

Landscape Designer: A professional who plans and develops landscapes, usually at a residential or small commercial level. Landscape designers are usually skilled in the use of plant materials and other horticultural aspects of landscape design.

Landscape Design Process: The creation of bubble diagrams, concept plans, and draft designs, all of which are eventually used to create a completed landscape design.

Landscape Design Program: Compiling all of the information found through the site survey, site analysis, and the interview, and using it in the development of the landscape design.

Landscape Design Sequence: Collection of information needed to create a sustainable landscape design including the base map, the site survey, the site analysis, and the client or family interview. Information from these are used to create the completed landscape design.

Maintainability: Process of making every individual segment of a landscape as easy to care for as possible. A maintainable landscape requires less labor, fewer supplies, and is less expensive to care for.

Mass Plantings: Plantings where many plants of the same species are used to fill an area. Mass plantings are used as connections between other planting groups or as groundcovers.

Micro-Manage: Developing and maintaining a landscape without considering the effects one decision has upon another. This type of management will affect the long term sustainability of the landscape and usually costs more.

Module: Information piece that addresses a particular topic in detail. Modules can stand alone as a publication or be grouped together to form a unit.

Needs Assessment: Analysis conducted by the designer in initial stages of design to determine client's landscaping needs and interests.

Patio Garden: Garden surrounding a patio or deck used to create a more comfortable outdoor living space. Patio gardens screen, soften the architectural features of the deck, frame views, and can provide shade and protection from the wind.

Perennial Gardens: Herbaceous plantings that can tolerate the cold and will come back each spring. Perennial gardens provide seasonal interest for a longer period of time than annual gardens and can serve as focal points in the landscape.

Photographic View: The way in which we see a landscape or an area if we are standing and looking at it at ground level. Photographic view drawings on a plan help the client visualize how the installed landscape will appear.

Plant Groupings: Plant groupings provide a representation of the types of plants that will occupy an area once the landscape design is completed. A plant grouping might show a shrub border between properties, or it may represent a perennial bed location.

Plan View or Plan View Drawings: Bird's eye view of the area being designed. The completed landscape design is done in plan view.

Primary Elements of Design: Primary elements of design are the first elements looked at when determining plant materials. Primary elements of design include disease or insect resistance, poor soils and urban pollution, tolerance, etc.

Principles of Design: Process that defines and ties all individual components together to create unity within a design. Example of principles of design would be simplicity, variety, balance, emphasis, sequence, and scale.

Professional Landscape Designer: A professional who plans and develops landscapes, usually at a residential or small commercial level. Landscape designers are usually skilled in the use of plant materials and other horticultural aspects of landscape design.

Public Grounds: Public grounds include public property owned by a city, state, or the federal government. Examples include parks, schools, and any other public recreational areas. Maintenance is usually performed by personnel hired by the city, county, or state.

Residential Grounds: A family-owned house would be the best example of residential grounds. These grounds are most often maintained by the owner of the property.

Scale: Scale is the relative size of one part of a landscape to another. Scale may be the proportion or ratio of size to other components in the landscape.

Screen Plantings: Plantings used to screen an area to provide privacy, block a poor view, or as a natural boundary or barrier.

Seasonal Interest or Color: Seasonal interest and color are created by the colors that we see when we look at a plant. Color is the element that is often first noticed about a plant. Color is often used in a landscape to provide interest throughout the entire growing season. This is often referred to as seasonal interest. Seasonal interest is simply the time of the year that a plant provides a special characteristic such as flowers, fall color, fruits, etc.

Secondary Elements of Design: Secondary elements are used when narrowing down the types of plants used. Secondary elements of design include environmental tolerance (wind, pollution, cold), disease and insect resistance, soil types tolerated, etc.

Sequence: A gradual transition from one area to another within a landscape. A landscape with sequence has one element changing at a time rather than several changes at once. A landscape with a coarse textured plant next to a fine textured plant is an example of bad sequence.

Simplicity: Understanding what is, and is not important in a landscape design. Details that will not have a major impact to the landscape are omitted to keep it uncluttered.

Site Analysis: Compiling the information found during the site survey and the family or client interview to be used in the development of the landscape plan.

Site Plan: A drawing that incorporates all of the information collected about the landscape and provides the basics used in the landscape design process.

Site Survey: Collecting the information that will aid the designer in the development of the completed landscape design. Examples include soil type, drainage, structures, existing plants, and good and bad views.

Spaces: Area in the landscape created to serve a specific purpose. Spaces may be functional, e.g., a storage area, or a recreation area or created to make the landscape maintainable or visually pleasing.

Specimen Plants: Specimen plants can be part of a larger planting, but usually stand alone in the landscape. Specimen plants provide specific seasonal interests or color through flowers, fruit, or leaves.

Sub-module: A sub-module is a piece of information, example, or illustration used to explain a particular area within a module. Sub-modules complement the modules by expanding their content, defining information, or making them easier to understand.


Sustainable Landscape: A landscape designed, installed, and maintained in a residential, commercial, or public setting that is functional, maintainable, environmentally sound, cost effective, and visually pleasing throughout the entire life of that landscape.

Texture: Coarseness or fineness of the plant. Texture should be one of the first design considerations when placing plants in a landscape. Texture in plants can be created by leaves, branches, bark, or other plant parts. It can also be created by rough or smooth looking surfaces, thin or thick leaf set, or by darkness or lightness.

Trees: A woody plant that usually has one main stem and reaches a height of at least 12 ft. Trees are very important for screening, framing, and shade, and are considered early in the landscape design program. Trees are usually placed before other plant material because of their major impact on understory shrubs chosen for the landscape.

Unit: For the purposes of the Sustainable Landscape Information Series, a unit is a group of publications that concentrates on one topic area. There will be four units in the SULIS which are: Sustainable Landscape Design, Sustainable Landscape Implementation, Sustainable Plant Materials Selection, and Sustainable Landscape Maintenance. Each unit will build on the information presented in other units.

Unity: How well the entire design comes together to form one landscape. All aspects of the landscape should complement one another rather than compete for attention.

Variety: Mixing up the form, texture and color combinations in a landscape to create extra interest without sacrificing the simplicity of the design.

Visualization Exercise: Designer pictures in his/her mind what an area will look like before the landscape design process begins.

Visually Pleasing: A landscape having an overall desirable appearance. A beautiful landscape would also be considered a visually pleasing landscape.

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