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LAN 200 - Sustainable Landscape Practices

Lab 6: Site Assessment


Site Evaluation

Site Assessment:

Site assessment is an essential and often overlooked part of the landscape planting process.  Fully assessing a site’s characteristics, and taking these characteristics into consideration when choosing and installing plants, is essential to the long-term health, aesthetics and longevity of landscape plantings.

During this lab, we will complete the following standard site evaluation “tests”.

            1. Observation: note current vegetation (type, health etc.), slope, exposure etc.

            2. Compaction: Use soil penetrometer (see handout)

            3. Soil Texture: Perform “Texture by Feel” analysis using flow chart

            4. pH test: Determine soil pH using a pH test kit

            5. Percolation Test

                        Remove about 1sq.ft. of sod (if present)

                        Dig down 12”-18”

            Get soil near saturation (pore spaces filled with water).  If soil is dry, fill

                        hole with water and thoroughly wet area 1’ around the hole.

            Fill hole with water and measure water height with yardstick.

            Wait 15min. and measure height of water again.

            Determine water lost in 15 min, multiply by 4 to get water loss per hour

                        <4”/hr = poor drainage

                        4”-8”/hr = moderate drainage

                        >8”/hr = excessive drainage

            *over estimate slightly due to water moving horizontally in soil*



Students will be given an area to perform a site analysis.

Complete the following:

  • Soil sample area
  • Determine soil texture by feel
  • Determine soil pH
  • Determine soil compaction using soil penetrometer
  • Perform a percolation test
  • Fill out the Site Assessment Checklist Form