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L.Srikumar Pai
B.Sc( Engg.), MIE, MIWWA, MICI
Civil Engineer & CAD Specialist
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Landscaping terms and definitions:

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1. Avenue : A wide road or pathway lined with trees on either side.
2. Buffer : The use of landscape to curtail view, sound or dust with plants or earth berms,
wall, or any such element.
3. Climber (Creeper/Vine) : A non-supporting plant, woody or herbaceous, which clings to a
wall, trellis or other structures as it grows upward.
4. Columnar : A slender, upright plant form.
5. Egress : A way out, or exit.
6. Elevation : A contour line or notation of relative altitude, useful in plotting existing or
proposed feature.
7. Exotic : A plant that is not native to the area in which it is planted.
8. Fencing : A barrier of plant or construction material used to set off the boundary of an
area and to restrict visual or physical passage in or out of it.
9. Foliage : The collective leaves of a plant or plants.
10. Geo-textile : Any permeable textile (natural or synthetic) used with foundation, soil, rock,
earth or any other geotechnical engineering-related material as an integral part of a human
made project, structure or system.
11. Grade : The slope or lay of the land as indicated by a related series of elevations.
11a Natural Grade : Grade consisting of contours of unmodified natural land form.
11b Finished Grade : Grade accomplished after landscape features are installed and
completed as shown on plan as proposed contours.
12. Gradient : The degree of slope of a pipe invert or road or land surface. The gradient is a
measure of the slope height as related to its base. The slope is expressed in terms of
percentage or ratio.
13. Grading : The cutting and/or filling of earth to establish smooth finish contours for a
landscape construction project. Grading facilitates good drainage and sculpts land to suit
the intent of landscape design
14. Grasses : Plants that characteristically have joint stems, sheaths and narrow blades
15. Groundcover : The planting material that forms a carpet of low height; these low-growing
plants are usually installed as the final part of landscape construction.
16. Hard Landscape : Civil work component of landscape architecture such as pavement,
walkways, roads, retaining walls, sculpture, street amenities, fountains and other built
environment.2 Central Public Works Department
Handbook of Landscape
17. Hardy Plant : Plants that can withstand harsh temperature variations, pollution, dust,
extreme soil conditions, and minimal water requirements and the likes. These plants have
ability to remain dormant in such conditions and survive.
18. Hedge : Number of shrubs or trees (often similar species) planted closely together in a
line. A hedge may be pruned to shape or allowed to grow to assume its natural shape.
19. Herb : An annual plant with a non-woody or fleshy structure. Certain herbs are highly
useful for cooking or of high medicinal value.
20. Ingress : A way in, or entrance.
21. Invert : The low inside point of a pipe, culvert, or channel.
22. Kerb : A concrete or stone edging along a pathway or road often constructed with a
channel to guide the flow of storm water and thereby serving dual purpose.
23. Mound : A small hill or bank of earth, developed as a characteristic feature in landscape.
24. Native : A plant indigenous to a particular locale.
25. Planting : Planting is the operation of transferring young plant from nursery to their
permanent place in landscape.
26. Screen : A vegetative or constructed hedge or fence used to block wind, undesirable
views, noise, glare and the like, as part of in landscape design; also known as ‘screen
planting’ and ‘buffer plantation’.
27. Sediment : The product of erosion processes; the solid material, both mineral and organic,
that is in suspension, is being transported or has been moved from its site of origin by air,
water, gravity or ice.
28. Shrub : A woody plant of low to medium height, deciduous or evergreen, generally having
many stem.
29. Soft Landscaping : The natural elements in landscape design, such as plant materials
and the soil itself.
30. Spot Elevation : In surveying and contour layout, an existing or proposed elevation noted
as a dot on the plan.
31. Street/Outdoor Furniture : Items of furnishing in outdoor landscape.
32. Swale : A linear wide and shallow depression used to temporarily store, route or filter
runoff. A swale may be grassed or lined.
33. Topsoil : The uppermost layer of the soil.
34. Transplanting : Moving a plant from its place of origin to another location.
Transplanting is the process of bodily lifting of mature and large plants from their position
to a new position.
35. Tree : A woody plant, generally taller than 2.00 m, with a well-distinguished trunk or trunks
below the leaf crown.
35a. Deciduous Tree : Tree that sheds all its leaves in autumn or in dry season.Central Public Works Department 3
Handbook of Landscape
35b. Evergreen Tree : Tree that remains green for most part of the year and sheds leaves
slowly throughout the year.
36. Tree Grate : A metal grille, installed at the base of a tree otherwise surrounded by
pavement, that allows the free passage of air, water, and nutrients to the tree root, but
does not interfere with the foot traffic.
37. Tree/Plant Guard : The protection constructed around a tree to deter vandalism and help
to prevent damage. It could be made of metal, bamboo or concrete or the like.
38. GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) : The National Rating System
will evaluate the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life
cycle, thereby providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a ‘green building’. The
rating system based on accepted energy and environmental principles, will seek to strike
a balance between established practices and emerging concepts both national and
39. Green building : Buildings have major environmental impacts during their life. Resources
such as ground cover, forests, water, and energy are dwindling to give way to buildings.
Resource-intensive materials provide structure to a building and landscaping adds beauty
to it, in turn using up water and pesticides to maintain it.
40. Green Building Rating System : A green building rating system is an evaluation tool that
measures environmental performance of a building through its life cycle. It usually comprises
of a set of criteria covering various parameters related to design, construction and operation
of a green building.
(Source : GRIHA Manual Volume 1) , (Source : NBC)



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