Landscape Terminology

Landscape Concept Drawing

If you’re unfamiliar with the landscape industry, you might not be using the proper words or landscape terminology when discussing your future project. It’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with landscape terminology before consulting with a landscape designer to make sure you’re accurately describing the work you’d like done!

Landscaping is a general term meaning the activity of designing or improving gardens and the surroundings of buildings to make them more attractive. Landscaping is used to describe many different activities from weekly lawn maintenance, gardening, planter or container gardens to the construction of hardscape features.

MPS provides landscape design and build services to residential and commercial customers in the GTA area, we also provide weekly grounds maintenance services to commercial customers.

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Front yard landscaping

Here are some of the most common landscape terms:

  • Softscape landscaping – the plants, soil and mulch, generally any lighter duty work that can be done manually.
  • Hardscape landscaping – the construction of structural components such as interlock paving stones, stone retaining walls, decks or fencing that define the shape of outdoor space.
  • Poolscape – the softscape and hardscaping around a pool
  • Paving stone – also known as interlock stones or pavers, they are the flat stones made from coloured cement or concrete that are installed to create walkways or patios.
  • Retaining walls – stone or wood walls that are used to restrain soil, creating different elevations. They’re also used to build raised gardens or seat walls.
  • Natural stone steps – solid pieces of stone with rock face that are installed to create a natural stairway, the steps come in a wide variety of colors, textures and sizes
  • Armour stone – is a natural quarry stone used to create landscape accents, walls and steps
  • River rock – a type of large, round and smooth washed gravel, used in gardens or along perimeters of landscape features
  • Turf or sod – also known as grass
  • Composite Decking – a wood alternative that is made from recycled wood fibre, plastic and binding agents. Read our blog for more information about composite decking.
  • Pressure Treated Lumber (P.T.) – P.T. is wood that has been processed with chemical preservatives to protect it from insects and prevent rotting. It is commonly used for decks, fences and outdoor structures.
  • Limestone screenings or aggregate – a finely crushed limestone gravel that is used for trails, walkways and driveways. When it’s compacted it provides a solid surface that drains water but prevents weeds from growing through.
  • Brickstop edging – A metal or plastic stripping that is installed and lines the outer perimeter of stone walkways or patios. Brickstop edging prevents the pavers from spreading or sinking over time.
  • Polymeric Sand – a material used to fill in the paving stone joins, it creates an impenetrable seal between the stones. It resists being washed away and prevents weed growth.

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Retaining walls and armour stone