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Dictionary of Landscape Architecture and Construction

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Q Abbreviation for quantity often used in referring to gross precipitation rate.

qt Abbreviation for quart(s).

quadrant sampling Gathering representative evidence of soils, plants, etc. from small plots in a landscape.

quadrate Nearly square.

quality of life A measure of the enjoyment or convenience experienced by residents living within a specific area. A myriad of influences plays a part in this measure, and some influences affect a portion of the population positively while affecting others negatively. Open space, landscaping, and parks generally play a part in this measure.

quantity survey A listing of the details of all materials and equipment needed for construction depicted on a drawing(s).

quarry-faced Ashlar only squared enough to fit in a wall with a rough, quarried surface.

quarry tile Fired clay tile often used in flooring or on outdoor patios.

quart (qt) English or U.S. capacity measurement of liquid equal to 2 pints, 14 gal, 57.75 c.i., or 0.946 l.

quarter section A square tract of land that measures 12 mi on each side.

quartz-halogen lamp A lamp with a tungsten filament in a quartz envelope.

quasi- A Latin prefix sometimes used in botanical terms meaning seemingly but not actually.

queen closer A brick that has been cut in half along its length. It is often used to complete a course.

quick coupler key A round key with a small knob that is inserted and turned into a quick coupler valve to allow water to escape.

quick coupler valve A valve with water pressure, which when a key is inserted into it allows water to escape, usually to a hose or a sprinkler head. Quick couplers were extensively used with sprinkler heads before automatically controlled systems became available. Sprinkler heads operated by quick couplers are expensive when labor is considered. They are also difficult to turn off in time to avoid overwatering, as many times they are forgotten and left in operation.

quoin or coign or coin In masonry, a hard stone or brick used to reinforce an external corner or edge of a wall.


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R, r 1. Abbreviation for radius. 2. The symbol for the thermal resistance of a material. 3. Abbreviation for electrical resistance.

rabbet, rebate A long channel, groove, or recess in one member to receive another as in a window or door edge, or as in tongue-and- groove lumber.

raceme In botanical terms, a flower cluster with one-flowered pedicels along the axis of inflorescence. It is a simple flower cluster with many stalked flowers about the same length coming from the same stem and usually opening in succession toward the apex.

raceme inflorescence

racemose Growing in the form of a raceme.

raceway A channel, pipe, or conduit for enclosing electrical conductors.

rachilla In botanical terms, the axis of a spikelet.

rachis In botanical terms, that which bears and is attached to flowers or leaflets of a plant. It may refer to an axis bearing close-set organs, espe-

cially the axis of a spike. It is also used in reference to the extension of the petiole or rib of a compound leaf from which the petiole meets the leaf blade to the tip of the leaf.

rachis radial A spine of a cactus where the spines originate from an aerole’s periphery instead of its center as is the case with a central.

radial Projecting outward from a center along a radius or in a circle, as rays projecting from a point.

radial-arm saw or radial saw A saw that holds a rotating, circular saw blade above the work and has capabilities for tilting, rotating, or moving the blade.

radical Pertaining to the root.

radicle The lower part of a plant embryo. The root of a plant embryo or seedling.

radius of throw The distance from the sprinkler head to the farthest point of water application by the sprinkler.

rafter A structural support member extending from the ridge of the roof down to the eave.

raft foundation A thick, reinforced concrete slab used instead of wall or column footings or foundations to support and distribute the load of a structure to a soil with low-bearing capacity.

ragwork Thin, flat, undressed stones laid in a crude and random fashion, usually horizontally.

rail 1. An elongated item of various materials used for grasping with a hand for stability and


Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Click here for terms of use.

railroad tie

support, such as on stairs See handrail. 2. Horizontal members of a fence extending from post to post.

shaped and gather rainfall usually allowing detection in 1100 in increments.

rain gutter A channel at the edge of a roof for conveying water away.

rain sensor A sensor that turns an irrigation controller off when rain has accumulated, and on when the water has evaporated.


railroad tie A timber impregnated with creosote to prevent decay that had been used to hold railroad rails in place and then was salvaged for site work. They are often used for retaining walls, or separating various surface materials. They often ooze creosote, becoming offensive by staining clothes or tracking on shoes to other surfaces. Creosote contact with skin may raise health concerns.

Rails To Trails A federal act affording interested governments the opportunity to use potentially abandoned railroad right-of-ways for recreational and aesthetic uses.

rainfall erosion index Values representing the relative erosive power of rainfall from a 30 minute storm.

rainfall intensity The amount of rainfall measured in centimeters or inches per hour or minute.

rain gauge A device that collects rainfall information, particularly useful in computer applications of determining water needs. They are cup

rain sensor

rainshadow The dry area on the leeward side of a mountain where precipitation decreases.

rainsplash The soil and water displacement occurring with raindrop impact, causing erosion.

rainwash Water from rain gathering as a sheet and running over the land surface, causing erosion.

rainwater conductor A pipe or tube, usually exposed on the surface of a structure, and usually made of aluminum or tin, for conveying precipitation from a roof or flat area of a structure downward.

raised planter A planter with an elevation higher than the adjacent grade. The earth is usually retained by a retaining wall, boulders, etc.

rake 1. A sloping or inclined surface, especially a roof. 2. A board along the sloping edge of a gable


rational formula

roof. 3. Toothed, downward-turned, parallel bars or teeth, or fan-shaped spines on a long handle used for removing debris from a ground surface, for loosening soil, or for grading and smoothing.

raised planter

raking-out 1. In landscape construction, the action of preparing a surface for planting or placement of mulch, etc. by raking it smooth and removing any unwanted debris. 2. In brickwork, preparing mortar joints for pointing.

raking stretcher bond A pattern of bricks laid as stretchers in a flush wall where each brick overlaps the one underneath by one-quarter of a brick length.

rammed earth Earth and water compressed and then dried.

ramp A relatively short access from one elevation to another without any vertical rise, usually with a slope accommodating a particular type of traffic (i.e., wheelchair, automobile, golf cart, etc.).

rampant Wildness; absence of restraint; vigorous, aggressive growth.

rampart 1. A wide embankment as fortification, usually having a parapet at its highest level. 2. A wall-like ridge made of rock fragments, debris, or earth.


ramuliferous Densely or profusely branched.

random ashlar A masonry wall with rectangular stones not having continuous joints and without a fixed pattern.

rank foliage Leaves that have grown profusely or larger than normal.

rapid-curing asphalt Liquid asphalt cement and a petroleum-type diluting agent of high volatility, causing a quick cure.

rasp A coarse file with protruding, pointed teeth.

ratchet drill A hand-driven drill with ratchetdriven chuck.

rated horsepower The maximum horsepower provided under normal, continuous operation.

rate of slope See slope ratio.

rational formula or rational method A method of runoff calculation with a formula for computing the runoff volume of a given area. It is represented by Q = CiA where Q is the peak runoff in cubic feet per second or cubic meters per second; C is the coefficient of runoff; i is the intensity of rainfall in inches per hour for design peak rainstorm adjusted to a duration equal to the time of concentration of the watershed; and A is the area of the watershed in acres or hectares.


An area of land where dwelling

rational method

rational method See rational formula.

ray In botanical terms, a branch of an umbel flower stalk.


Abbreviation for reinforced brick ma-


RC asphalt See rapid-curing asphalt.


1. Abbreviation for residual current device.

2. Abbreviation for reinforced concrete pipe.

rd 1. Abbreviation for rod(s). 2. Abbreviation for road.

reach The section of a sewer pipe between structures.

reaction wood Wood resulting from abnormal growth.

real property Land and everything growing on it or built on it (structures), and usually some space above it and everything beneath it.

reamer A tapered drill bit with sharp, spiral, fluted cutting edges along the shaft. This tool is used to enlarge an opening to cut burs from pipe, etc.

rear lot line Generally, the opposite and most distant line from the front lot line.

rear yard The yard across the full width of a parcel extending from the rear line of the main building to the rear property line.

rebar A steel bar used for reinforcing, having a pattern of raised areas on its surface to prevent moving concrete when temperatures change, or when pressure is applied.

rebloomer A plant that flowers more than once in a growing season.

receiving site or receiving zone or receiving area

unit numbers allowed (allowable density) is increased by transferring development rights (dwelling units) from a sending site by way of a transfer of development rights. This assists in preserving agricultural and natural areas.

receptacle A botanical term identifying the end of the stem (pedicel) to which the other flower parts are attached.

receptacle plug An electrical device capable of receiving a plug with a cord for supply of electrical current to appliances or portable, electrically powered devices. This device is mounted in a box, usually hidden behind a wall and the power is constantly supplied by a wire to the box and outlet.

recess A depression in a surface.

recharge In relation to water in the landscape, the replenishment of groundwater, or aquifers with water percolating from the surface of the earth.

recharge 1. (artificial) The addition of water to groundwater by activities of man at a recharge rate greater than historically recorded. 2. (groundwater) The replenishment of groundwater.

recharge zone or recharge area The portion of any area of land surface where ground-water recharge is naturally or historically significant.

reciprocating pump A pump that moves and compresses fluids by use of a piston with an intake and outlet to the chamber, allowing fluid in as it retracts the piston and forcing water out as the piston is pushed to the other end of the chamber.

reclaimed waste water Waste water that has been cleaned enough to be of beneficial reuse.

reclaimed water Water that has been collected (and sometimes treated as necessary) after


an original use and then made available for reuse (often in an irrigation system).

reclamation The reuse or reclaiming of resources, usually in reference to natural resources. This term is often used for revegetation of an area that has been disturbed or denuded of vegetation.

record drawings The drawings prepared by a contractor before, during, and after completion of a project, showing the project as it was actually constructed with any changes from the original design drawings.

record sheet At a construction site, a sheet recording materials delivered, number of workers employed at the various trades, hours worked, weather, etc.

recreational vehicle (RV) A vehicle designed or used for living, sleeping, and recreational purposes and equipped with wheels to facilitate traveling. They include pickup coaches (campers), motorized homes, boats, travel trailers, camping trailers, four-wheelers, snowmobiles, etc.

recurved In botanical terms, bent backward, downward, outward, or toward its beginning.

recyclable material Waste materials or byproducts processed and then returned to the economic mainstream in the form of commodities or products. Recyclable materials include metals, glass, plastic, paper, wood, etc.

recycling plant A facility that recovers resources, such as paper products, glass, metal, etc. to return them to use.

red brass or rich low brass A metal alloy containing about 85% copper and 15% zinc. It has high corrosion resistance, can be polished,

reducing pipe fitting

and is available in flat sheets, rod, wire, or tube.

red spider mite See mites.

reduced pressure backflow preventer See reduced pressure principle assembly.

reduced pressure principle assembly A backflow preventer with loaded, independently operating check valves and a mechanically independent, hydraulically dependent relief valve located between the check valves. The relief valve is designed to maintain a zone of reduced pressure between the two check valves. It contains tightly closing, resilient, seated shutoff valves upstream and downstream of the check valves along with resilient seated test cocks used for protecting the potable water supply from pollutants and contaminants and may be used to protect against back siphoning and back pressure.

reduced pressure vacuum breaker A device that protects upstream waters from downstream siphoning backward and contamination while under continuous pressure. It will stop water from moving backward even when it is under back pressure.

reducer 1. Any fitting for piping facilitating a connection between two pipes of different sizes. 2. A chemical such as a thinner or solvent that can be added to paints or varnishes to lower their viscosity.

reducer bushing A slip socket or threaded fitting that can be inserted into another fitting or flared end (bell end) of a pipe to allow the attachment of a smaller pipe or device with a male end by insertion into it.

reducing pipe fitting Any pipe fitting used to connect pipes of different sizes.


reducing valve

reducing valve A valve that decreases the upstream pressure of the pipe system it is installed onto. It assures less pressure for the pipe system downstream of it.

reduction ratio In stone crushing, the ratio of the maximum dimension of rock before crushing to the maximum dimension of rock after crushing.

reel mower A mower that has a spiral reel of blades that spin as the wheels turn and cut against a stationary sharp bar. They are drawn behind tractors or pushed by hand. They make a nice cut to lawn blades instead of tears as with a rotary mower. See also rotary mower.

refined tar Tar having its water evaporated or distilled to a desired consistency.

reflected radiation Solar light (radiation) reflected from surrounding objects.

reflecting pond An existing body of water or one often created to reflect or mirror images near it.

reflecting pond

reflection The change of direction of ray of light, sound, or radiant heat when it strikes a surface.

reflector Anything that redirects light or sound by reflection.

reflexed In botanical terms, bent outward, downward, or backward.

reforestation Replanting, encouraging, or allowing forest plant materials to increase where they once proliferated.

refraction The change in direction of a light ray or a sound ray in passing from one material to another.

refractory A material, usually nonmetallic, that can withstand high temperatures.

refuse Trash or debris.

region In spatial hierarchy (as defined in landscape ecology) of lands, a broad geographical area with common macroclimate and sphere of human involvement. It is smaller than a continent and larger than a landscape. It is tied together by human activities. Examples are northwestern United States, southwestern United States, and the Andes of Venezuela.

regolith In a soil profile, a layer of loose unconsolidated rock covering the parent material (bedrock), sometimes termed the D horizon. It is weathered overburden mostly made up of weathered rock that is disintegrating into sand and clay particles.

regular flower A flower that is radially symmetrical with petals and sepals arranged around a center like spokes of a wheel.

regulatory floodway A zone designated by U.S. federal flood policy as the lowest part of the floodplain where historically the deepest and most frequent floods have occurred.


REINF, reinf. Abbreviation for reinforce, reinforced, or reinforcing.

reinforced blockwork In masonry, blockwork containing steel reinforcement.

reinforced brick masonry (RBM) Brickwork that contains steel bars to impart tensile strength.

reinforced concrete or ferroconcrete or steel concrete Concrete containing reinforcement (usually rebar) to assist in resisting forces placed upon or working upon the concrete.

reinforced earth wall A granular matrix or fill reinforced with successive layers of metal strips to retain a slope.

reinforced grouted masonry A brick or block wall grouted solid throughout its entire height and having both vertical and horizontal reinforcing.

reinforced masonry Masonry with steel reinforcement.

reinforcing bar A steel bar used in concrete or masonry construction to improve its strength.

reinforcing fibers A synthetic fiber usually of polypropylene that is incorporated into a concrete or mortar mix for extra strength or elasticity.

reinforcing rod A long steel member placed or formed in concrete to give it strength.

relative humidity The percentage of the maximum amount of water vapor that air is capable of holding at any given temperature. Colder air takes less water vapor than warmer air to obtain the same relative humidity. Air saturated to the point it can hold no more water is at 100% relative humidity. The amount of water necessary to reach 100% of the capacity of air to


hold it (complete saturation) is always more for warmer air and less for cooler air.

relay An electromechanical device that opens or closes electrical contacts in a circuit by changes in the current flow in another circuit.

release agent A chemical or substance sprayed in forms to facilitate easy removal with less sticking or chance of damage to the concrete when removed.

relief The difference(s) in elevation(s) and in spatial configuration(s) within a prescribed area of the surface of the earth.

relief valve A valve installed in a pipe system to relieve pressure in excess of a preset limit by discharging a portion of the water in the system.

remediation The act or process of remedying. In land planning and landscape architecture, it is used in reference to contaminated site cleanup to remedy hazardous wastes.

remolded soil Soil that has had its natural structure modified by dislocation and manipulation.

remote control valve A valve actuated by an automatic controller with electric or hydraulic means.

render 1. In design work, to draw. 2. To apply shades, textures, shadows, etc. to a line drawing. 3. In construction work, to produce a smooth finish by covering a surface with mortar or concrete.

reniform In botanical terms, kidney bean shaped.

repand In botanical terms, wavy-margined. repent A botanical term meaning creeping. repot See potting up.



reniform leaf shape

req’d Abbreviation for required.

request for information An inquiry made by a participant in contractual obligations usually in the construction industry.

request for proposal A solicitation normally from public agencies distributed to consulting, manufacturing, or development firms asking for a proposal for services or products. They are encouraged to contain a description of the project, program, or items, the amount budgeted, the type of contract (fixed price or time-and- expense, etc.), qualifications required, evaluation criteria, and a description of the materials to submit.

request for qualifications A solicitation usually prepared by a public agency distributed to consulting and development firms requesting a statement of credentials associated with the firm. It usually requests contact information, a description of the organization, resumes of key personnel, a statement describing work completed on similar projects, availability for the work, a list of projects completed, and references.

reservoir An artificial lake or pond created to retain and store water for later use.

reservoir pool With regard to recirculating water features, the lowest pool which must have enough capacity to hold the water normally in

transit when in operation as it will flow into it when pumps are turned off.

residence A dwelling where a person(s) re-sides.

residence time The time necessary to exchange the water in an aquifer or surface water body with new water.

residual fertilizer The portions of fertilizer remaining in the soil after one or more crops or seasons.

resilient hanger A pipe hanger with a resilient spring between the clamp or saddle and the point of attachment.

resistance In electrical systems, the resistance or restriction to the flow of current measured in ohms. It can be compared to friction loss in an irrigation system. When electricity is flowing, resistance causes a drop in voltage along the length of a wire.

respiration 1. The chemical process in which a plant absorbs oxygen, then releases energy from the oxidizing of plant sugars to water and carbon dioxide. Plant soil should be sufficiently aerated to allow oxygen to be available to the plant’s roots. 2. The biochemical processes that consume oxygen and carbohydrates and release energy. It is the reverse of photosynthesis.

responsible bidder See lowest responsible bidder.

resting Said of a plant that grows for more than one season at the annual time it slows or stops growth.

restoration The return by human intervention of an ecosystem from a disturbed or altered condition to a previously existing natural condition.

restrictive covenants A restriction on uses, aesthetics, layout, design, or other items associated with a land or its potential. These are usu-


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