The Road to Certification
and Why You Should Go There

Lisa Port FAPLD
Banyon Tree Design Studio

APLD certification offers the focused designer industry accreditation through demonstrated knowledge and experience within the profession of landscape design. APLD is the only trade association offering higher level Certification to experienced and qualified landscape designers.

Certified Landscape Designers obtain education and training at this recent APLDWA program on Critical Areas

APLD promotes higher standards within the landscape design profession and certified landscape designers exemplify the top of their class. They are knowledgeable, experienced, and qualified for practicing landscape design in a wide variety of applications. Certification differentiates landscape designers when marketing to clients and can qualify a professional for work in jurisdictions under stringent regulatory restrictions. Certification advances the profession of landscape design as a whole – which is part of APLD's mission statement-- and affords the association a stronger voice when advocating for our rights to practice.

Certified Landscape Designers are required to obtain CEU’s for continuing education after the process of becoming certified. Attending just one APLD International Conference (and touring fantastic gardens while you are there) satisfies the CEU requirements for 3 years.

Certified professionals come from wide range of backgrounds such as public policy and marketing, to nursing and research, even when design is perhaps not their first professional career. But everyone who obtains certification demonstrates through a submission and review of personal portfolio work, the ability to practice landscape design as a skilled and qualified professional. I dare say that if you are reading this now, (and YOU know who you are!) you can submit on the next September 1 deadline and obtain APLD Certification! It just takes a little work.

All that said, we know that even applying for Certification can be daunting, time consuming and costly for a sole proprietor to achieve, especially doing it alone and without support. Guidance, mentoring and peer review teamwork can give the committed landscape designer a roadmap for a successful certification submission. APLD Headquarters has a dedicated staff member, Kelly Clark,, available to assist in Certification submission questions and APLD Certification Committee Chair Maryanne Quincey FAPLD, is available to work with individuals seeking assistance with expectations for certification submission. More information can be found at

Locally, I had the opportunity to work with a small group of focused individuals seeking certification. As a team we worked through expectations, submission requirements, and drawing review opportunities for submitting a successful certification package. A lot of hard work and several meetings later, I am happy to say these individuals are APLDWA's most recently certified members! Congratulations Katie Weber APLD and Susan Ryan APLD! If you are pursuing APLD Certification, don't do it alone. Contact me ( and together we will set up a roadmap to success for your certification submission.

A new runner doesn't run a marathon without training, prep and a qualified support team. Give yourself the best possible chance of success, gather your training partners and make the decision to become APLD Certified today.