Landscaping Lingo

The gardening world is filled with confusing landscaping lingo, such as different names for the same plant and terms that are used separately and interchangeably. Mix in SAWS conservation goals and the City of San Antonio conservation ordinance, and the confusion grows. We’re here to help.

One of the goals of and our newsletter is to provide you with the tools to help you create a landscape that’s beautiful and saves water. That includes decoding some of the jargon. So, here goes.

  • Year-round watering restrictions — in place all year as long as the Edwards Aquifer is above 660 feet. Be aware, if you’re caught in violation of any of the restrictions listed — watering outside the designated hours — you can receive a citation. More drastic restrictions (Stage 1-4) are declared when the aquifer drops below 660 feet.
  • Past peak plants — those that are beyond their most attractive stage. In other words, no matter how much water you add, they will not produce as many blooms as they did during their peak season.
  • Compost — decomposed organic matter from manures, vegetation or both; resembles rich soil and can be incorporated into soil.
  • Mulch — may be organic (wood chips) or inorganic (small rocks, decomposed granite), but generally it is organic material that has not decomposed. Mulch is never incorporated into the soil, but rather placed on the surface.

Are there other terms you’d like defined or explained? Let us know! Drop us a line at

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