Our Enhancement Items Guide is to help our clients understand some of the terms used in our on-site consultations and proposals.

Read below to see the definitions of the common items included in our enhancement projects.

Backfill

Earth or other materials used to replace that which is removed during projects, such as pipeline trenches and retaining walls.

Berm

Soil mounding used to control erosion and sedimentation by reducing the rate of surface runoff or controlling the flow direction of water. The berms either reduce the velocity of the water or direct water to areas that are not susceptible to erosion, thereby reducing the adverse effects of running water on exposed topsoil.

Compaction

Densification of soil by mechanical processes.

Compost

Mixture of yard waste, tree trimmings and leaf mulch. Used for tilling in with topsoil or dirt to add nutrients to boost the quality of the soil / plants.

Erosion

Detachment and movement of rock or soil particles by water, wind, ice or gravity.

Erosion Control Blanket

A blanket of biodegradable material that covers and protects grass seed and topsoil until vegetation matures enough to provide the necessary erosion control. Can be used in residential and commercial applications, as well as ecologically sensitive areas such as stream banks and forests.

Fabric

Heavy filter fabric and staples installed underneath decorative rock to minimize grass/weed growth and to separate the rock from the soil.

Gabion Rock

Oversized 4-12” limestone rock used together with filter fabric for erosion control.

Geosynthetic

A synthetic material used as an integral part of a system or structure. Regarding drainage, geosynthetics include geomembranes, geotextiles and geocomposites.

Geotextile

A thermoplastic permeable fabric which allows the passage of ground water while blocking soil particles and debris. It filters, drains, reinforces and protects soil.

Grade

Natural grade refers to the natural, undisturbed surface of the ground. Subgrade is the grade established for top surfacing of lawns, roadways, etc. Finished grade is the completed surface of the lawn, roadway, etc.

Grading

Modification of the natural ground surface, generally done with cuts and fills.

Hardscape

Hard, impervious surfaces such as driveways, patios and sidewalks.

Hydroseeding

Used on construction sites to establish vegetation, it consists of seed, fertilizer and wood fiber mulch mixed with a tackifier and applied to the area. It promotes quick germination and inhibits soil erosion.

Live Staking

Installing live willow stakes 2′ on center in an area for erosion control. The live stakes will be harvested and planted during the dormant season.

Live Stake Installation

We use healthy, straight and live wood at least one year old that has clean cuts; split ends will not be installed. 25% of the live stake will be above ground while 75% will be below grade. The use of a pivot bar will allow us to penetrate firm soils to aid us in the installation process. Soil is tamped around the live stake after the placement. Live stakes will all be installed in a diamond pattern; no live stakes will be placed directly above or below the stake in the adjacent row.

Live Stake Maintenance

If the live stakes are planted while dormant, shoots (leaves and small branches) should be seen in the spring. If live stakes are planted during the growing season, it may take a full year or two to see results. If two or three growing seasons pass without signs of growth, the dead stakes will need to be removed and replaced with live stakes.  Also, be prepared to contract with us to re-plant should the area be affected by high water, drought or ice damage before stakes are fully established. To increase survival, it is recommended that the live stakes are watered once a week during their first growing season.

Mulch - Cedar Shredded Bark

Made from the wood/bark of the cedar tree. Naturally resistant to bugs and insects. Has a blondish/red color and consistency is comparable to double ground mulch.

Mulch - Double Ground Shredded Bark

A good multipurpose mulch. Medium to dark brown in color. Will not blow or wash away and lasts about a year.

Mulch - Dyed Brown, Black or Red Hardwood

Made from virgin wood and will last longer than mulch made from bark. The color will last a year and is a biodegradable product. Is good for people who likes double ground mulch but wants the mulch and color to last longer.

Mulch - Pine Bark

Made from pure pine bark. Will keep its color longer than hardwoods.

Mulch - Pine Nuggets

Nuggets 3-4” in size with a dark brown color. Keeps its color longer than hardwood and will last 2-5 years.

Mulch - Triple Ground Hardwood Shredded Bark

Very fine mulch that has been put through a screener. Good for level or flat areas but not recommended for hills, slopes, etc. Almost black, will hold its color very well and lasts about a year.

Outdoor Lighting - Types of Lighting

Accent Lighting: is used to highlight a particular object or area, such as a spotlight on a statue or flower bed or lighting along a pathway. This type of lighting focuses and commands the viewer’s attention.

Cross Lighting: is achieved by mounting lights on either side of an object to reveal detail and soften shadows.

Deck Lighting: involves small accent lights placed around decks for safety. They can be placed on deck posts, wood slats, in steps or under steps and benches.

Patio Wire Lighting: LED edison style bulbs on strands installed above an outdoor entertainment area to give subtle, down illumination to the area.

Fill-in Lighting: is background lighting used to draw the viewer’s eye seamlessly from one accented area to another. Used as a transition, fill-in lighting ties the overall landscape picture together. Examples include backlighting a tree, washing a wall or flooding a row of trees with soft light.

Grazing: highlights a textured surface and is achieved by placing a light within one foot of the surface and pointing the light parallel with the surface. This technique can be used on tree trunks, ivy, etc.

Moon Lighting: or down lighting, mimics nature by creating the illusion of moonlight filtering through the trees. Achieved by mounting lights in trees facing downward and requires special fittings so as not to damage trees.

Path Lighting: is used along flower beds for highlighting and along pathways for safe illumination.

Shadowing: is created by placing lights in front of an object at ground level and pointing the beam upwards to throw the shadow of the object onto a surface behind it.

Silhouetting: or back lighting, is achieved by placing a light behind an object for a striking effect.

Spread Lighting: uses circular patterns of light to illuminate flowers and low shrubs from above.

Step Lighting: uses fixtures placed on steps or set in them to illuminate stairways for safety.

Up Lighting: uses fixtures that are placed at ground level and angled upward to highlight an object. Good for walls, fences and tree branches.

Permeability

The rate of water’s ability to pass through a material.

Permeable Pavers

A cell system connected in a honeycomb pattern which forms a grid to provide a stable, continuous surface base for construction of permeable pavements. Grass or gravel can be placed on top. Pavers help with erosion control and reduce or eliminate surface water runoff.

Pervious

The ability of water to pass through a material under ordinary hydrostatic pressure.

Playground Wood Chips

100% natural product with no chemicals, waste wood, pallets or artificial ingredients. 1/8” thick with a light color. Installed in playground area to a depth of 4”- 6″. Will help protect a child’s fall from injury.

Porous

Materials with many small openings, through which water may pass.

Rainfall Intensity

The rate at which rain falls. Expressed in inches per hour.

Retaining Wall

A wall built to keep earth or water in place.

Rip Rap (aka Gabion)

Material placed on a slope, such as oversized 4-12” limestone rock, to help prevent erosion by water.

Rock - Alabama Sunset

1” round, flat, multicolor natural river stones.

Rock - Arkansas White

1” milk white naturally formed gravel. Slightly rounded with some sharp edges.

Rock - Black Lava Rock

Black Lava decorative rock. Lava rock helps retain moisture and even out soil temperatures.

Rock - Chicago Bluff

1-1.5” mostly rounded gravel in a buff color with a few grays.

Rock - Iowa Lake

1″ natural gravel deposited by glaciers. Iowa lake is rounded and has some reds, whites and deep blues. Helps regulate soil temperatures and moisture levels.

Rock - Iowa Rainbow

Similar to Iowa lake but contains reds, creams and grays. Available in several sizes.

Rock - Limestone

Available in various sizes. Typically used as base rock for hardscaping projects.

Rock - Meramec Gravel

Native gravel from river basin in tan, brown and off-white colors. Available in 3/8”, 1”, 2” and 3-5”.

Rock - Red Lava

Red lava rock. Lava rock helps retain moisture and even out soil temperatures.

Rock - Trap

Crushed gravel from Missouri available in several sizes. Deep purple to black in color.

Sand

Course Missouri river sand. Typically used in the leveling of hardscaping projects.

Sediment Basin

A structure or depression which slows the flow of water to allow sediment to settle out of the runoff. A sediment basin protects properties and streams below the basin.

Silt Fencing

A geotextile barrier fence used to collect silt particles from water that passes through. It is used to preserve the water quality in nearby streams, rivers, etc. from stormwater runoff and is installed before construction. Silt fencing is not designed for concentrating or directing stormwater runoff. It is installed by driving stakes in the ground and burying 6″ of the silt fence below grade. Fencing comes with or without wire reinforcement.

Slope

The face of an embankment which is not level with the horizontal plane, such as hills.

Soil Processes

Soil processes constitute a group of unit processes: sorption, biological removal, sedimentation, precipitation, and filtration.

Soil Texture

The proportion of sand, silt and clay which make up the soil.

Straw Blanket

Straw nettings which provide rainfall/rain splash protection, erosion control and soil stabilization for shallow slopes.

Straw Roll / Erosion Netting

Installed to hold soil in place and minimize future erosion in the areas.  Grading is completed, seed is typically applied, straw roll/erosion netting is rolled out and finished up by pinning down the straw roll with metal staples that will remain in place permanently.

Swale

A drainage channel, either constructed or naturally occurring, which directs surface flow. Swales should be graded to create a channel for the water to flow in the proper direction away from structures such as foundations, patios, sidewalks, driveway etc.

Topsoil - High Quality Screened

Good quality mix of black topsoil and sand. No fill dirt, clay or clumps. Is put through a shredder.

Topsoil / Compost Plant Mix

A mix of compost and topsoil.

Tree Stump Grinding

Stump ground out 6-10 inches below grade.

Weephole

A small hole used to drain water, such as in a retaining wall.

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