Glossary: A-B

Adopt a Lot #
If you are interested in using a City-owned lot in order to garden or to provide landscape beautification and maintenance, the City of Detroit issues permits for residents interested in adopting a lot for one calendar year. Call the Planning and Development Department (Real Estate Development Division) at (313) 628-0199 or (313) 224-2450 for more information. No fee is required.
Advanced (experience level) #

Neighborhood green thumb or master gardener

Ambient Lead #

Lead (pB) that is present in the urban environment, but isn’t necessarily coming from a specific location or industry.

Annual #

An annual is a species of plant that grows from seeds, flowers, fruits, and dies within one year’s time.

Aromatics #

Plants that smell nice.

Bald (lot type) #

A Bald Lot is a lot with at least 50% of the ground bare, or only dirt. This includes lots where patchy grasses are beginning to appear, like a green “five o’clock shadow.” Bald Lots show us that plants are having a difficult time growing roots on them. This usually means that a bald lot is not allowing water to soak in. Bald Lots are great to start with—there’s less stuff to clear up off the top. Much of your work with a Bald Lot might involve making soils healthier, to ensure that plants can grow, and that water can better soak into your lot.

Basement In Place (lot type) #

A Basement in Place Lot is a lot where there is a visible difference in the plants and activity above ground where the basement of a house either used to be, or still might be hiding underground. Basement in Place lots might have Phragmites, the tall, common reed, growing in a tight cluster within the basement footprint. The lot might be slightly raised where the basement once was, or there could be visible debris in the form of concrete and masonry at or just below the surface. This area could be bald, while the rest of the lot is covered with plants and grasses. Due to the underground debris, Basement in Place lots limit the range of designs that will work best on your lot without significant excavation.

Beginner (experience level) #

First landscape project

Berm #

Berms are landforms, or land shaped to manage water in urban spaces. Berms are small hills designed to direct their runoff to a particular location.

Bigger Street Trees (lot type) #

Healthy street trees are part of a healthy neighborhood—and we’ve given lots with Bigger Street Trees out front their own Lot Type. A lot with Bigger Street Trees has at least one healthy street tree with a diameter of one foot or greater. A street tree is a tree planted in the right-of-way, or the area between the sidewalk and the street. With a larger street tree out front, your lot will likely do better with a design selected for shade or partial shade, or with a design that places more emphasis on the center or the alley side of your lot. The Field Guide recommends preserving healthy large trees on every lot, even if it means making adjustments to the lot design you are considering.

Blendable #

Blend parts of these designs together to create a custom solution for your lot.

Bloom-time #

The time of year or season that a flower, shrub, or tree blooms.


Best Management Practice, or a way to describe the most acceptable practices to protect water quality and promote soil conservation. A BMP can be a thing or a process. The term was invented by engineers!

Bone Meal #

A phosphorus rich soil amendment that can be used to help stabilize lead in the soil. In Michigan, the opportunity exists to make bone meal from meat processing facilities.

Buffer #

An area that serves as a transition between two conflicting land uses, often created by planting trees and other woody plants. Buffers offer the potential to contribute to improved air quality, better stormwater management, and even to filter noise and/or provide visual screening.