Why Landscape Industry Certifications Matter
As a homeowner, should you care if your landscape contractor holds any industry certification? Yes, because it can make an important difference in the outcome of a landscape construction project and in the ongoing landscape maintenance that follows.
Landscape Contractor–Maintenance. Anybody can mow and blow a lawn or trim the hedge. Right? A lot of people do it themselves. But what if you’ve invested tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands into a landscape design that includes diverse plant species, irrigation systems, built structures, and water features? Then what? In that case, you might care about the qualifications and customer service orientation of the landscape maintenance contractor you’ve entrusted with the task.
Landscape Contractor– Construction. Quality workmanship is essential during hardscape installation of patios, retaining walls and walkways. For example, if substrata aren’t properly layered, leveled and compacted during a patio construction, you will likely have drainage or settlement issues that could cause the structure to fail in time. Imagine the cost of repairing a substandard swimming pool installation.
Is a Certified Landscape Contractor Better Than One That Isn’t Certified?
However, certification verifies the skills a landscaping contractor has mastered through education and job experience In addition, certification demonstrates an ambition on the part of the landscaper to keep up with industry best practices by testing their ability to perform to the highest standard.
Again, industry certification isn’t absolutely necessary. It’s something extra that benefits you, the homeowner because it identifies landscape construction & maintenance contractors who are committed to achieving a high standard of safety, efficiency and productivity.
Who Administers Landscape Industry Certification Exams?
The exams are created and regularly updated by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), a national organization dedicated to sharing knowledge, improving methodologies and maintaining high standards. The exams are administered locally through the Landscape Contractors Association MD, DC, VA.
How Rigorous Are Certification Exams?
The certification test consists of two parts and a landscape contractor must pass both to achieve certification. Candidates are judged on work methods, adherence to best practices, and safety. The written knowledge and practical application components are:
- Practical application. Hands-on skill demonstrations performed at the test site. The assigned tasks approximate real-life scenarios to test performance and problem-solving ability.
- Written exam. Tests the knowledge and understanding of industry-standard methodologies.
Contractors who successfully complete exams in their chosen specialty are awarded the Landscape Industry Certified designation (LIC). There are dozens of certification skills categories for landscape contractors, but the primary ones are:
Landscape Industry Certified Manager
Landscape Industry Certified Technician (hardscape, softscape & turf care)
Landscape Industry Certified Horticultural Technician
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Manager
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician
In addition to those administered by PLANET, there are specialty certifications offered by the International Society of Arborists (ISA) and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS).
To maintain certification status, certified landscape contractors are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education credits every two years.
Collective Knowledge Drawn From First Hand Experience
Aside from training and testing, the certification process is a means of sharing a constantly developing resource. Written by landscaping industry professionals, certification exams represent the collective knowledge and first-hand experience of leaders across the country. Landscape contractor certifications indicate that a landscape technician or manager knows how to perform tasks and employ methods that industry leaders agree are the best.
A Company Investment In Training and Certifying Personnel
Landscape systems, products and devices are changing every year. We at Surrounds are committed to training our construction techs and groundskeepers so they can keep up to date with their professional skills and knowledge.
In addition to landscape architecture and construction, Surrounds is fully versed in all aspects of garden management and landscape systems maintenance. Because we design and build landscapes, we understand all the working parts of your garden. We maintain and care for horticultural, mechanical & electrical systems as well as built structures.
Perhaps you are wondering how to bring out the fullest expression in your landscape and gardens. Our eBook: Choosing the Right Kind of Landscape Maintenance Firm, is full of valuable information to help you understand the fundamental differences between landscape maintenance companies.