The Benefits of APLD Certification

According to the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), certified landscape designers have a competitive edge because they give clients confidence that their landscape design has been prepared by a professional with the skill, knowledge and education to execute a landscape plan properly from start to finish. Credentials from the nationally recognized organization enable designers to stand out among their peers.

Certification benefits landscape designers because they are credentialed by the leader in the landscape design community. “Certification is something that clients understand,” said Marti Neely, APLD certification committee chair. “Clients are looking for experts they can trust. They understand that a certified landscape designer is a professional who will deliver the highest standard of design possible.” The APLD certification program sets the standard for the landscape design profession and recognizes designers for their superior skills, education and design work.

According to APLD, a certified landscape designer is committed to keeping up with current landscape design best practices, is knowledgeable about landscape design trends and can use the credentials to garner increased media exposure, which helps generate new business leads.

Award-winning landscape designer Suzanne Arca has seen the benefits first hand. “Submitting my work to APLD for certification review was one of the best decisions I have made to grow professionally,” she said. “All my professional affiliations and state license are my commitment to a professional standard, and I want to encourage all APLD members to have a goal of certification. It just makes us stronger as an organization and it can be a personal commitment to being the best you can be as a landscape professional.”

APLD Certification:

Shows that a landscape designer is being held to the highest standards of practice
Distinguishes a professional landscape designer from other non certified members and garden designers
Proves a commitment to excellent design and continuing design education
Allows designers usage of APLD certified logo and the certification title for use on communications
Creates a strong connection between a dynamic organization and a designer
Enables increased visibility and recognition on the APLD website

How does it work?

The APLD Certification Review panel reviews applications quarterly for certification. The panel assigns a point value for design competence, environmental awareness, design intent, plant knowledge, composition, graphics and overall presentation of work.

Only members who score in the top percentage of a rigorous point scale are granted acceptance. Only those accepted may use the title of APLD after their name. These exclusive credentials show clients and peers a commitment to the highest level of professionalism.

Applicants for Certified Membership submit the following materials:

Application form
Educational records
Documentation of 3 installed projects
A planting plan drawn to scale for each project, along with site, concept, hardscape and lighting plans and construction drawings where needed to describe the project
A complete plant list for each project
Before and after photos of each project
Bids for installation
Business statement

Certification is available to those professionals who have been practicing landscape design for a minimum of two years. Application materials and information are available at


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