Landscape contractors who perform basic lawn care may need no more than a business license to do their work. However, landscape contractors looking to provide more in-depth service--such as planning and installing lawns, shrubs, trees, water features, irrigation systems, fences, decks, arbors, patios, landscape edging, walkways, driveways and retaining walls--may be required to obtain a landscape license. Requirements vary by state, but there are several general guidelines on how to get a landscape license.

Things You Will Need
  • Business permit

  • Federal tax ID

  • Surety bond

  • Liability insurance

Step 1.

Contact your state licensing department to determine what type of license you need for the landscape services you intend to provide. Find out how many years experience are needed for the license and verify that your education and experience make you eligible for testing. Be sure to include your technical training, education not related to landscaping and all landscape work experience, no matter how basic.

Step 2.

Procure the study materials needed to help prepare you for the landscape exam. Topics covered may include drainage and erosion control, environmental protection, irrigation systems, planting methods and plant and mulch selection.

Step 3.

Take and pass the exam and submit the fee to your state licensing board.

Step 4.

Obtain a federal tax ID from the Internal Revenue Service, a surety bond, and liability insurance in the amount required by your state. Then apply for a business permit with your county clerk.

Step 5.

Renew your landscape contractor's license, as necessary.


If you need to learn more to pass the landscape exam, call your community college or local office of the state agricultural extension. They may offer classes that cover topics in the exam.