Have you ever wondered if all of those titles and abbreviations after someone’s name actually make them more credible? They can. And the landscape industry is no different than any other facet of corporate America in accrediting individuals based upon education, knowledge, and experience. As a result, a select few have invested in themselves and their companies to provide better services and the highest quality products.
The following are three certifications commonly seen in the landscape realm that homeowners should consider before hiring a landscape professional.
CNLP: Certified Nursery Landscape Professionals must initially demonstrate a required body of knowledge about the nursery and landscape businesses. This education could be a degree or certification in horticulture and/or working or managing in industries such as landscape, nursery, or garden centers.
A CNLP prep course is offered to strengthen knowledge of plants (biology and management), landscaping (design and management), garden centers (sales and operations), and plant identification. The exam consists of 100-120 multiple choice questions and 25 plant identifications. Upon passing the exam, recertification is necessary every two years to obtain 24 continuing education credits within the same time frame.
APLD: The Association of Professional Landscape Designers bases its certification on experience and completed projects rather than educational curriculum or exams. An applicant must be practicing for at least two years and submit drawings, plant lists, photographs, and design objectives from three completed projects for evaluation.
APLD certified members need to go through a recertification process every three years and receive 30 continuing education credits. Founded in 1989, this is the only international certification program for landscape designers.
Landscape Architect– This is a multi-year degree Landscape Architecture program at an accredited university/college. By definition, “Landscape architecture is a multi-disciplinary field, incorporating aspects of botany, horticulture, the fine arts, industrial design, geography, and ecology.”
Landscape architects practice in various professions from designs of private residences/estates, public parks, civil infrastructure, and ecological restoration. Depending on the state where they practice, they are regulated with either a certification or licensure exam followed by yearly continuing education credits. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the primary organization these professionals are members of.
As you can see from this list, there are several certifications that can help verify the knowledge and skills that landscaping contractors have mastered. In addition, industry training and credentials can make a big difference in the quality and outcome of your next landscape project. So, before you hire a landscape professional for your next outdoor endeavor, be sure to investigate their credentials and experience. A contractor committed to achieving the highest level of safety, efficiency, and productivity will undoubtedly provide you with the best service.