How to help newcomers learn landscaping terminology

In the GTA, there do not currently appear to be any occupation-specific language programs for landscaping and horticulture (including any ELT, OSLT, or SLT programs.) As a result, sponsors and other volunteers can play an extremely useful role in helping to prepare newcomers who are interested in working in this sector. Their help would be useful both before job interviews begin, as well as after work has commenced.

In a separate article on this website, there is a discussion of programs which are available in the GTA for employment-related language training.

Specialized English work vocabulary – Landscaping

Suggestions on how to help explain landscaping terminology include:

  • Visiting stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, and garden centres and walking the aisles together to identify different products;
  • Obtaining print catalogs to review together at home, from stores such as Lee Valley Tools; and
  • Browsing the Internet together to visit the websites of landscape tool and supply and garden supply companies, such as Lee Valley Tools, Home Depot Canada, Lowes Canada, and Sheridan Nurseries.

Frequently used terminology in various aspects of landscaping

Listed below are some of the more frequently used terms in landscaping and horticulture, which can be discussed with a newcomer. (This list, however, is not exhaustive!)

Landscaping and horticultural terminology

Digging tools

Auger Hole digger Shovel Tiller
Digging bar Pick Spade

Gardening tools

Chainsaw Hoe Pitchfork Stake driver
Chipper Hose Rake Tamper
Cultivator Lawn mower Roto tiller Tiller
Cutter Leaf blower Shredder Weed eater
Edger Log Splitter Sod lifter Weeder
Hand Trowel Nozzle Sprinkler

Construction hand tools

Blade Level Pliers Socket
Chalk Mitre Robertson Spanner
Chisel Nail gun Rule String
Clamp Pencil Sand paper Tape measure
Drill Phillips head Sander Vice
Hammer Plane Screwdriver Wrench

Shears & pruning hand tools

Hedge Clippers Loppers Pruning shear Tree Pruners

Large power tools

Air compressor Jack hammer Mixer Pressure washer

Heavy equipment

Backhoe Forklift Front loader Snow plow

Other equipment

Heater Pump

Safety equipment and clothing

Brace Glasses Jacket Uniform
Coverall Gloves  Knee protection
Dust mask Hard hat Poison
Ear protection  Harness Safety
First aid kit Helmet Steel toed boots

Snow & Ice-related

Salt Scraper Shovel Spreader

Striking tools

Axe Mallet Pick Sledge Hammer

Wheelbarrows & yard carts

Cart Lawn spreader Wheelbarrow


Applicator Hinge Nut Tape
Bolt Hook Rope Wire
Clamp Nail Screw
Glue Nail gun Staple

Construction materials & parts

2 x 4 Electric outlet Light fixture Steel
Brick Glass Lumber Stone
Cement Gravel Metal Wood
Cement block Insulation Pipe
Drain Iron Plastic

Soils & Amendments

Bark Earth Mulch Soil


Architecture Digging Leveling Removing
Building Dumping Lighting Scraping
Carrying Dripping Mixing Sealing
Cleaning Evaporating Painting Shoveling
Clearing Hardening Planning Soaking
Construction Melting Plumbing Stacking
Demolition Setting Pollution Stripping
 Design Heating Pruning Watering
Irrigating Removal Welding Aerating
Fertilizing Cultivating Blowing Clipping


Centimeter Inch Millilitre Pound
Feet Litre Millimeter Yard
Gallon Meters Ounce


Bush Grass roots Tree stump
Cedar grass Root Vine
cone leaf Seed Weed
Fir nutrients Shrub
Flower Pine stem
fruit Pine needle Tree

Land forms

Berm Garden bed Rock Trough
Earth Hill

Construction terms

Column Form Portico Swimming pool
Façade Patio Stair Wall
Fence Pond Step


Away East North Top
Bottom Far Over Under
Close Near South West

Hardscape Terms

Barbecue/BBQ Fire pit Pathway Retaining wall
Deck Fireplace Patio
Fence Fountain Pond


Cloud Humid Snow Wet
Condensation Ice Storm Wind
Dry Rain Sun
Hail Slippery sunlight


Reflecting Rough Shiny Smooth


Barrel Bucket Ladder Radio
Battery Charger Pail Stand
Bench or workbench Electric outlet Pallet Tool set
Bin Extension cord Power tool View
Broom Extension ladder Propane tank