Glossary of Terms


Land care consulting is providing expert advice on specific landscaping topics, but not necessarily performing or overseeing the actual work to be done.

Similar to landscape architecture. Landscape design focuses more on the artistic merits of design, while landscape architecture encompasses the artistic design as well as structural engineering. Landscape design and landscape architecture both take into account soils, drainage, climate and other issues, because the survival of selected plants depends on those. Landscape architecture requires a license, while landscape design does not.

Creating or planting landscaping features such as a lawn, trees, shrubs or water features. It does not include design, nor maintenance of these features.

Landscape Architecture
Landscape architecture is a synthesis of art, science and technical philosophies and practices that seek to care for the Earth's landscapes in a truly holistic, creative and sustainable manner. The scope of the profession includes masterplanning, site planning, environmental restoration, town or urban planning, urban design, parks and recreation planning, green infrastructure planning and provision, all at varying scales of design, planning and management. Landscape architecture requires a license.

Moving with the seasons to take care of landscaping features such as lawns, trees, shrubs or water features. It does not include design, nor installation of these features.

Landscape planning is a branch of landscape architecture. Urban park systems and greenways of the type planned by Frederick Law Olmsted are key examples of urban landscape planning. Landscape planners can look beyond the 'closely drawn technical limits' and 'narrowly drawn territorial boundaries' which constrain design projects. Landscape planners tend to work on projects which are of broad geographical scope, concern many land uses or many clients, and are implemented over a long period of time.

A person who can give a public presentation on a specified organic land care topic. Search on the topic as a keyword.


All Organic
NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals who use only organic materials for all clients per the NOFA Organic Land Care Standards.

Work relating to organic maintenance of ponds, lakes, streams and large-scale constructed water features.

Home orchards, nurseries, growers, or agricultural production.

Gardens or Ornamentals
Work related to new or existing specialty gardens, e.g. rose, vegetable, wildlife, water, rock or herb gardens. Mixed plantings of trees, shrubs and flowers are also possible as well as edible landscaping with perennial fruits and berries. Keeping a garden looking its best with practices such as deadheading, staking, edging, and weeding. Mulching and fertilizing. Identifying and managing pests (e.g. insects, slugs, snails, mites, and moles), weeds (e.g. unwanted or noxious plants) or plant diseases (such as caused by pathogens including fungi, bacteria, viruses, virus-like organisms, phytoplasmas, protozoa, nematodes and parasitic plants).

Historic Preservation
Re-creating and preserving landscapes as they existed in the historic past.

Landscape Construction

Features such as trellises, gazebos, decks, patios and fences. Brick, stone, concrete and pavers work related to features such as patios, stone walls, retaining walls, walkways and driveways.

Lawns or Athletic Turf
Work relating to home lawns, parks and athletic fields: site analysis, pest, weed and disease management, soil testing, fertilizing, compost or compost tea applications, liquid biological amendments, liming, aerating, seeding, soding.

Mechanical cutting of grass, edging and trimming.

Naturalized Areas
Work related to areas on a property where native flora and fauna are encouraged and impact from humans is minimized.

Outdoor Lighting
Work related to design, placement and installation of outdoor light fixtures.

Planting or Transplanting
Moving or installing plants into the ground per the designer's plan or instructions, including preparing beds and sites.

Remediation or Restoration
The removal of pollution or contaminants from soil or water or from a brownfield site intended for redevelopment. Also the general improvement of an existing soil based on soil test results, and the reintroduction of native plants and the re-establishment of native ecosystems.

Trees or Shrubs
Work relating to identification and management of trees and shrubs: fertilizing, trimming, pruning, removal, pest and disease management.

Water or Irrigation
Work relating to irrigation, stormwater management, water storage, rain barrels, drainage issues, water management, protection and conservation.

Whole Landscapes
Large scale land management affecting an acre or more of land or an entire property of less than one acre.

Identification and management of animals such as mosquitoes, ticks, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

Yard Work
Spring and fall clean-up, raking, blowing, removal and/or shredding of leaves, mulching, mulch delivery, mowing, edging, brush cutting, chipping and removal, stump removal.


Art Gardens
Gardens containing sculptures or other artwork as elements.

Athletic Turf
Grass fields used for sports.

Botanical Gardens
Botanical gardens grow a wide variety of plants primarily to categorize and document for scientific purposes.

Boulder Wall Gardens
Gardens with plants that grow on rock walls.

Butterfly Gardens
Gardens with plants that attract butterflies.

Children's Gardens
Gardens that are fun for children to work and play in.

Chipping Brush
Using a gas or electric machine to chip branches and brush into small pieces.

Client Relations
Working to help professionals and clients achieve productive working relationships. A good client relationship is best achieved where both professional and client have realistic expectations regarding the desired outcome of the work and their mutual responsibilities involved in the achieving that outcome.

Climate Change
Climate change is any long-term significant change in the expected patterns of average weather of the Earth as a whole over an appropriately significant period of time.

Compost is the end result of controlled aerobic decomposition of organic matter known as composting. It is used in landscaping, horticulture and agriculture as a soil conditioner and fertilizer to add vital humus or humic acids.

Compost Application
Spreading either solid or liquid compost onto the soil.

Compost tea
Compost tea, a liquid solution or suspension made by steeping compost in water. It is used as both a fertilizer and to prevent plant diseases.

Composting on-site
Setting up composting stations fed with materials from on--site such as grass clippings, leaves, brush, or kitchen wastes.

Container Gardens
Container gardening is the practice of growing plants exclusively in containers or "pots", instead of planting them in the ground.

Deer Browse Protection
Protecting plants from browsing deer by using techniques such as plantings that deer avoid and physical barriers.

Deer Resistant Gardens
Gardens containing plants that deer don't like.

Disease Identification and Control
Identifying plant diseases and their causes, and adjusting the habitat to prevent further outbreaks.

Issues relating to properly managing excess water on a property.

Edible Landscaping
Planting landscapes with food-bearing plants such as blueberries and apple trees.

Educational Gardens
Gardens that can be used to teach students about gardening.

Environmental Art
Art made from naturally occurring materials, and placed outside in nature. See for example the works of Andy Goldsworthy.

Erosion and Sediment Control
Erosion control is the practice of preventing or controlling wind or water erosion in agriculture, land development and construction. This usually involves the creation of some sort of physical barrier, such as vegetation or rock, to absorb some of the energy of the wind or water that is causing the erosion. Effective erosion controls are important techniques in preventing water pollution and soil loss.

Installing wood, wire, stone, bamboo or other fences.

Fertilizers, Lime, and Soil Amendments
Fertilizers are chemical compounds given to plants to promote growth; they are usually applied either through the soil, for uptake by plant roots, or by foliar feeding, for uptake through leaves. They typically provide, in varying proportions, the three major plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium: N-P-K), the secondary plant nutrients (calcium, sulfur, magnesium) and sometimes trace elements (or micronutrients) with a role in plant or animal nutrition: boron, chlorine, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, molybdenum. Agricultural lime, also called garden lime or liming (soil), is a soil additive made from pulverized limestone or chalk. The primary active component is calcium carbonate. Additional chemicals vary depending on the mineral source and may include calcium oxide, magnesium oxide and magnesium carbonate. Additional soil amendments may include microbial and faunal ecology. These organisms include earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, fungi and bacteria.

Fine Gardening
Keeping a garden looking its best with practices such as deadheading, staking, edging, and weeding.

Planting landscapes with food-bearing plants such as blueberries and apple trees.

Fruit Trees and Shrubs
Edible fruit bearing trees and shrubs.

Golf Courses
A golf course consists of a series of holes, each consisting of a teeing ground, fairway, rough and other hazards, and a green with a pin and cup, all designed for the game of golf. A standard round of golf consists of playing 18 holes, thus most golf courses have this number of holes.

Green Roofs
A green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and soil, or a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It is used to keep the building cool, filter stormwater and be visually appealing.

Habitat Restoration
Mitigating damage, restoring plantings, irrigation, erosion control, plant establishment and monitoring.

Hardscape, in the practice of landscaping, refers to the paved areas like streets & sidewalks, large business complexes & housing developments, and other industrial areas where the upper-soil-profile is no longer exposed to the actual surface of the Earth.

Healing, Spiritual or Sacred Gardens
A garden designed for peace and tranquility.

Herb Gardens
Herb gardens may be purely functional or can include a blend of functional and ornamental parts. They are usually used to flavour food in cooking. In addition, plants grown within the garden are sometimes also specifically targeted to cure common illnesses or maladies such as colds, headaches, or anxiety.

Horticultural Therapy
Horticultural therapy is the practice of horticulture to improve human well-being. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, HT is defined as a process utilizing plants and horticultural activities to improve social, educational, psychological and physical adjustment of persons thus improving their body, mind, and spirit.

Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation.

Hummingbird Gardens
Gardens planted with flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Insect Identification and Control
Identifying plant insect pests and their causes, and adjusting the habitat to prevent further outbreaks

Invasive Plants
Invasive plants are non-indigenous species of plants that adversely affect the habitats they invade economically, environmentally or ecologically.

Installing systems to provide water to plantings.

Irrigation Water Conservation
Providing for proper watering of plantings.

The prayer labyrinth, also known as a meditation labyrinth, is a circular path leading to a center and back out again, made from stones, plants, or other materials. It is one of the oldest contemplative and transformational tools known, having been used for many hundreds of years for prayer, ritual, initiation, and spiritual growth.

Lawn Alternatives
The use of groundcovers, clover, ornamental grasses, and other plants as an alternative to planting and maintaining a lawn.

Lawn Care
Growing a healthy lawn with soil testing, fertilizing, soil amendments, proper mowing and watering.

Lawn Reduction
Reducing the size of a lawn by planting native trees, shrubs, ground cover, prairie or meadow patches, flower beds, and vegetable gardens.

Lawn Renovation
Improving an already existing lawn.

Lawns & Turf Management
Growing a healthy lawns and athletic turf with soil testing, fertilizing, soil amendments, proper mowing and watering.

Leaf/Leaves Blowing
Spring and fall clean up of leaves with a blower.

Leaf/Leaves Removal
Off-site removal of collected leaves.

Leaf/Leaves Shredding
On-site shredding and composting of collected leaves.

Outdoor light fixtures and placement.

Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone such as marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, and tile. Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction.

Meadow Gardens
A mix of perennial, biennial, and annual flowers and plants blended together to create a natural meadow suited to the site location.

A meadow is a field vegetated primarily by grass and other non-woody plants (grassland).

Medicinal Gardens
A garden with plants for healing a variety of medical ailments.

Moon Gardens
A garden planted with white flowers, silvery or blue toned foliage, fragrant blooms and night blooming flowers, for evening enjoyment.

Mosquito Control
Reducing mosquito populations and repelling mosquitoes with plants, botanical materials, and habitat modification such as eliminating standing water.

Moss Gardens
Gardens planted with a variety of mosses.

Mechanical cutting of grass.

Mowing - Electric or Push Reel
Cutting grass using a hand pushed reel mower, or an electric mower.

Mulch Delivery
Delivering mulches such as wood chips, bark chips or compost.

Spreading mulches such as wood chips, bark chips, or compost on plantings.

National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Ha
Criteria for being a Backyard Wildlife Habitat includes providing food, water, cover, and places to raise young through the use of native plants and other features such as nest boxes and water gardens. The Backyard Wildlife Habitat can be certified by the NWF as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat site if these elements are provided

Native Plantings
Using plants that have been living in an area for hundreds of years.

Native Woodland
Creating the natural attributes of a woodland forest, the tall canopy, the middle story (smaller trees and shrubs), and the ground layer of wild flowers, ferns, and sedges.

Natural Children's Play Spaces
Areas with trees, shrubs, rocks and water features that are safe and enjoyable for children to play in.

Nursery Care
Tending to plants grown in a greenhouse or nursery.

Orchard Care
Tending to trees grown in an orchard.

Ornamental Horticulture
Ornamental horticulture is working to breed, grow, design with, and sell plants used in decorative and recreational applications.

Perennial Gardens
Gardens with perennial plants that bloom year after year.

Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and perennial agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in the natural ecologies. Perennial plants are often used in permaculture design as they do not need to be planted every year they require less maintenance and fertilizers.

Pest Control
Identifying plant pests and their causes, and adjusting the habitat to prevent further outbreaks

Pest Management
Identifying plant pests and their causes, and adjusting the habitat to prevent further outbreaks

Plant Health Care
Keeping plants healthy with proper siting, nutrients, water, soil, and pruning.

Putting plants into the ground.

Poison Ivy Control
Managing poison ivy using organic herbicides, mowing, mulching or hand pulling.

Pond Management
Maintaining a healthy pond ecosystem and high water quality by managing nutrient inputs and controlling invasive aquatic plants.

Proper cutting of limbs from trees and shrubs to ensure healthy plants.

Rain Barrels
Plastic or oak barrels designed to collect rainwater from roofs for use later in watering plants.

Rain Gardens
A rain garden is a planted depression that is designed to allow rainwater runoff the opportunity to be absorbed from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, and compacted lawn areas. This reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground (as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater). Rain gardens cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams.

Using a manual rake to collect leaves and yard debris.

Riparian Restoration
A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a stream. Plant communities along the river margins are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants.

Rock Gardens
A tasteful design of rocks and plants that grow in between rocks.

Roof Gardens
A garden planted on top of a roof.

Rose Gardens
A garden made up of different types of roses.

School Gardens
A garden on school grounds taken care of by school children. Sometimes the food grown in such gardens is used in the school lunches.

School Grounds Management
Taking care of school grounds, e.g. mowing, fertilizing, liming athletic fields.

Screen Planting
A screen planting is used as a visual and/or noise barrier, usually incorporates more than one type of plant, has a more informal look, and covers more space horizontally than a hedge.

Sculpture Gardens
A garden accented by sculptures.

Seasonal Gardens
Gardens planted with annuals designed to be viewed in specific seasons, for instance a spring garden.

Selling Environmentally Responsible Landscaping
Encouraging people to adopt ecological sound landscaping practices.

Shade Gardens
Gardens that provide shade.

Shrub Care
Fertilizing, irrigation, mulching, pruning of small woody plants.

Site Analysis
A comprehensive examination of existing landscape features, drainage patterns, soil conditions, and usage.

Snow Removal
Snow plowing and removal.

Sod installation
Sod is grass and the part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots, or a piece of this material.

Soil Ecology and Biology
Soil biology is the study of microbial and faunal activity and ecology in soil. These organisms include earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, fungi and bacteria. Soil biology plays a vital role in determining many soil characteristics yet, being a relatively new science, much remains unknown about soil biology and about how the nature of soil is affected.

Soil Health and Soil Foodweb
The soil is home to a large proportion of the world's genetic diversity. The linkages between soil organisms and soil functions are observed to be incredibly complex. The interconnectedness and complexity of this soil food web means any appraisal of soil function must necessarily take into account interactions with the living communities that exist within the soil.

Soil Remediation
The removal of pollution or contaminants from soil for the general protection of human health and the environment or from a brownfield site intended for redevelopment.

Soil Testing and Analysis - Biological
Biological testing assesses the interaction of a large number of possible organism groups and their interactions in soil. The information obtained can be used to finely tune what is going on in soil, and what needs to be done to bring the soil back to a condition of health. Tests include: Active Bacteria/Active Fungi; Total Bacteria/Total Fungi; Morphological Species Diversity; Nematode Numbers and Community Structure; Protozoa; Mycorrhizal fungi;Beneficial Organisms; Microarthropods.

Soil Testing and Analysis -Chemical
The analysis of a soil sample to determine nutrient content, composition and other characteristics, including contaminants. Tests are also performed to measure fertility and indicate deficiencies that need to be remedied.

Storm Water Infiltration
Stormwater is a term used to describe water that originates during precipitation events. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, which either flows into surface waterways or is channeled into storm sewers. Stormwater infiltration is a process to direct stormwater into the ground instead of allowing to enter surface waters.

Storm Water Management
Stormwater is a term used to describe water that originates during precipitation events. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, which either flows into surface waterways or is channeled into storm sewers. Stormwater management is either diverting, storing and/or cleaning stormwater on the site.

Tea Gardens
A tea garden was a place to drink tea and stroll around lawns, ponds and view statues.

Tick Control
Barrier, planting, and organic botanical oils to repel and discourage ticks.

Ticks and Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a common tick-borne disease transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected black-legged tick or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). The best way to prevent Lyme disease is with daily body "tick checks" if you have been in the woods, brush or tall grass, since the tick does not transmit the infection unless it has been embedded for more than 24 hours.

Moving plants from one place to another.

Tree Care
The cultivation and management of trees within the landscape. This includes the understanding how trees grow and respond to cultural practices and the environment, as well as application of cultural techniques such as selection, planting, care, surgery and removal.

Upland Restoration
Restoring areas that are higher in elevation, not near water, and somewhat dry.

Vegetable Gardens
Gardens planted with edible annuals such as tomatoes, peas, beans and lettuce.

Vernal Pools Certification
Vernal pools are temporary pools of water, usually found during the spring. They dry up at some point in the year so they are usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species. In some states (including MA and NJ), the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program "certifies" the occurrence of vernal pools based on documentation of the pool's use by one or more groups of species that rely on vernal pools. Official certification provides a vernal pool, and up to 100 feet beyond its boundary in some cases, certain protection under several state and federal laws.

Water Features
In landscape architecture and garden design, a water feature is any of a full range of fountains, pools, ponds, cascades, waterfalls, and streams.

Water Gardens
Usually referring to a man-made feature, these gardens typically combine a pool with aquatic plants and often ornamental fish. Fixed items such as rocks, fountains, statuary, waterfalls and watercourses can be combined with the pool to add visual interest and integration with the local landscape and environment.

Water Storage
A system for collecting rain water for use in irrigation at a later time.

Weed Control
Identifying unwanted or noxious plants, the cause for them, and adjusting the habitat to prevent further outbreaks.

Unwanted or noxious plants.

A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access water in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn via an electric submersible pump or a mechanical pump (eg from a water-pumping windmill.

Wetland Restoration
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or seasonally. Such areas may also be covered partially or completely by shallow pools of water. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, and bogs, among others. The water found in wetlands can be saltwater, freshwater, or brackish. The restoration of drained or altered wetlands re-establishes and adds important ecological functions to the landscape, including the creation of new wildlife habitat, increased flood storage, and the enhancement of water quality.

A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or seasonally. Such areas may also be covered partially or completely by shallow pools of water. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, and bogs, among others. The water found in wetlands can be saltwater, freshwater, or brackish

Wildlife Control
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated animals. Control consists of humanely relocating birds, animals, pests and wildlife away from your property, and modifying habits to discourage them from returning (e.g. covering compost areas and isolating bird feeders).

Wildlife Gardens
Gardens designed to be beneficial to wildlife such as native birds, frogs, mammals, butterflies, dragonflies and other beneficial insects. Provides year-round food and habitat resources to attract and benefit wildlife through native plant groupings and organic gardening techniques.

Winter Protection
Getting you yard ready for the winter snows and cold with practices such as pruning, covering and tying of plantings.

Wooden Structures
Such things as trellises, gazebos, fences, and playsets.

Woodland Gardens
A garden designed to copy a peaceful woodland area, with the tall canopy, the middle story (smaller trees and shrubs), and the ground layer of wild flowers, ferns, and sedges.

Woodlands Management
Protecting and maintaining a natural woodland forest, the tall canopy, the middle story (smaller trees and shrubs), and the ground layer of wild flowers, ferns, and sedges.

Xeriscaping refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental irrigation.

Zen Gardens
A Zen garden is an enclosed shallow sandpit containing sand, gravel, rocks, and occasionally grass and/or other natural elements. The main elements are rocks and sand, with the sea symbolized not by water but by sand raked in patterns that suggest rippling water