Land manipulation to make the land look more attractive or viable for a living has been an ancient practice. Many look towards changing their home landscape to increase the aesthetics while others would level the land to construct a house. A lot of things come under the category of landscaping. Many consider landscaping to keep water away from the house while others believe that preparing a garden for the house can be an act of landscaping. So, how to get landscaping license?

These days, the definition of landscaping has changed and it only refers to the improvement of the garden or outside area around the house to make it more liveable or attractive. Let’s look at landscaping in the USA and how to get landscaping licenses if you want to pick up this hobby and make it a profession. We will also go over some useful landscaping tips and pros and cons of starting your own landscaping business, so stick with us until the end.

Landscaping in the United States

Landscaping in the United States

Before we answer the question on “how to get landscaping licenses in the US?”, let us give you a small brief on the landscaping scenario in the United States. You may not think that landscaping is an industry but according to recent reports the total revenue generated from this industry has been around $100 billion. Each household in the US spends over $500 annually on landscaping which includes maintenance of the lawn, gardening services, design, and construction. The industry has grown over 50% in the last 6 years suggesting that people are getting more and more into landscaping each day.

If you were to break down the revenue figure generated from landscaping, almost 35% of the revenue comes from landscape maintenance. Many people are spending money to improve and upkeep their gardens, patios, or the outside area of their house. This gives the house a good look and gives off a good impression to guests or passers-by. Design and building is a close second revenue generator in this industry. People in the States ensure their gardens are perfect before adding a patio to it or an extension of the house, garage or shed. Then there are other revenue generation sources in this industry like lawn care, chemical companies, and more.

The USA landscaping market is highly saturated. There are too many small players in the market. Out of the $100 billion revenue generated annually, the top 100 companies only contribute 10% to that revenue. This suggests that many prefer to go for smaller firms in this industry as the level of customer service provided by these firms is not matched by larger players in the market.

Now that you’ve understood how big the industry is, let’s head to answer the important question “how to get landscaping licenses?” if you’re planning to set up your landscaping business.

How to get landscaping licenses?

How to get landscaping licenses

Many trying to get into the landscaping industry end up spending thousands of dollars on heavy and expensive equipment or machinery only to find that they can not set up their landscaping business without having the right landscaping license. You can do small landscaping work like gardening and lawn maintenance. For that, there is no need for a landscaping license. However, if you’re looking to take on bigger projects like patio installation or designing and more, then you would need to have a professional landscaping license. So, how to get landscaping licenses to start your own business?

The answer to the question “how to get landscaping licenses?” is not that simple. This is because every state has its laws and requirements and it’s always better to get the right information by ringing your local licensing department. Let them know what you’re planning to do and what kind of services you’re going to provide. This is the first step in identifying what kind of license will be appropriate for you.

The state licensing department will guide you on what kind of license you would need once you’ve disclosed all the relevant information to them. They will also provide you some forms to fill and let you know the requirements you need to fulfill before being eligible for a landscaping license. As mentioned earlier, requirements will vary depending on the state you’re in, however, there are some common procedures among all the states that we will go over.


Experience plays a huge role if you want to know how to get landscaping license. There are no prerequisites in terms of educational requirements for getting a landscaping license. However, you are required to have a certain level of experience in the field to be able to apply for a professional license. The common things the licensing department will see are the experiences in planning and design, horticulture, and other related fields. You would need to call up the state to find out the license you require which will help you in getting the right checklist.


If you’re wondering how to get landscaping licenses to start your own business then you need to give an examination. The state would require you to have a know-how about landscaping as you’ll be running a landscaping services business. To get the license to operate a landscaping business, the state would need to know whether or not you’re qualified to carry out any landscaping jobs. This is why many states will have their licensure examination to assess the candidates and their know-how in landscaping. Fertilizers, soil and land control, and more are some of the topics candidates will be assessed on. Do note that there is an examination fee that you will have to pay before you can get your license. This is different from the licensing fee that you will have to pay.

Surety bond

A surety bond is an important part of getting your landscaping license depending on where you are residing. You have to go through the legal process which would require the business owner or the person looking to start their landscaping business to get bonded. This is dependent on the state you’re living in as not all states would want landscaping businesses to get a contractor license surety bond.

The surety bond is a type of obligation certificate between you, your client, and the state you’re planning to start your landscaping business in. The bond ensures that you will fulfill your work and stay committed to your client until the end of the project. To get bonded, you simply need to pay the bond premium which is a couple of hundred dollars for a ten grand bond.

Additional qualification

This is not a compulsory requirement if you’re looking for answers to “how to get landscaping licenses?” but it is always good to be specialized in different fields. You would see an MBA graduate getting an additional certificate or a hair expert getting extra diplomas to boost their value in the market. Certificates help in showing potential clients that you’re more than qualified for the job. There are a lot of certifications you can pursue like lawn care technician, business manager, lawn care manager, and many more certifications. You can start your journey of getting certification by checking out the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

National Association of Landscape Professionals has a network of over a hundred thousand professionals from the landscaping industry all over the world including the United States. The membership category includes landscaping individuals, non-profit organizations, businesses, and more.

Now that you’ve gotten your answer to how to get landscaping licenses, let’s go over some of the advantages of starting up your own landscaping business.

Advantages of having your own landscaping business

Advantages of having your own landscaping business

We’ve gone over how to get landscaping licenses in the United States, now you may be thinking about starting your own business. There are pros and cons to taking on this venture.

The best part of running a landscaping business or any kind of business is that you’re your own boss. Your hard work determines how much you earn which is better than working for someone else. Work as much as you want and when you want without being supervised by anyone. You can spend your break time getting a quick exercise to keep you healthy.

The landscaping business is relatively easier to start than other businesses. You just need to clear the licensure exam and buy tools. Once you’ve got the right tools and equipment you can simply start working immediately and make some money. The tools will last you for years to come so consider it as a one-time investment. You can easily get tools and equipment for your business on credit using your credit card if you’re a bit short on funds.

Starting your own landscaping business does not require you to splurge all your cash on commercial office space. The business requires workers to reach the client’s home or real estate for landscaping purposes hence you can have a workspace in your home garage or even in the corner of a room. Save money by starting your landscaping business at home.

Disadvantages of running your own landscaping business

You need to have the right skills to enter into a landscaping business. If you don’t have the commitment and drive to the industry or field, you will not be able to beat your competitors. There are small family businesses that have been in the landscaping business for generations. Think about how good they must be. If you’re not able to mow the lawn faster than an average person, then things can get seriously difficult for you. You need to be doing two to three things at a time without burning out. This can be a tough job but the result of course is rewarding. We recommend investing time in learning these landscaping skills. Also bear in mind that landscaping would require you to do a lot of heavy lifting. You’ll be moving and using heavy tools which can be straining on your body if you’re not used to it. Make sure you are used to exercising before getting into landscaping. This will give you a good head start.

When entering a landscaping business, don’t think that you just have to do landscaping. You also need to manage your business, from knowing your cash flows to marketing and procuring clients. All of this will be your responsibility.

Tips to take landscaping to another level

Although learning how to get landscaping license is paramount, following the best practices in this area is equally important to get your business going. There are a lot of tips when it comes to landscaping, however, most of these have been outdated. Like fashion, landscaping follows trends and what is considered hot. These trends are bound to change over time, hence most of the tips you may have come across would be redundant as of today. You would need to stay in touch with the latest trends by following accounts on social media. However, some common tips will take your landscaping to another level.

  1. It is always important to keep the soil aerated. Use a lawn aerator to get some oxygen into the soil. This will give the plants access to easy water which helps them grow faster. Protect the plans using mulch while you can also use landscaping fabric to reduce the weed growth in the gardens. The landscaping fabric pros and cons will help you in understanding the misunderstood tool in landscaping that is landscaping fabric.
  2. Plants play a huge role in landscaping. Make sure you plant similar types of plants together which will also reduce space for weed growth and also make the garden look attractive. Try to do different things. Plants add texture to the landscape but then landscaping stone is a great way to define aesthetics. Landscaping stone pricing varies according to the type of stones you will be needing.
  3. Maintenance is the biggest element of landscaping. Try to incorporate the latest watering techniques to ensure the plants get the maximum sustenance without being over-watered. When cutting the lawn, try to leave the grass longer than usual. This helps in shading and eventually reducing evaporation. Longer grass also helps in reducing weeding. Instead of fertilizers, use natural organic feed for the gardens. Fertilizers tend to dry out the garden and therefore need constant watering to ensure plant growth. Switching to an organic alternative helps eliminate these issues.

Now that you know how to get landscaping licenses and understand the pros and cons of the landscaping business, you can decide whether or not you want to venture into this. Landscaping is a growing industry in the US and there is always a need for a smaller and efficient landscaping contractor.

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