Every state maintains its own set of rules and regulations regarding professional licensing. The question of whether a landscaper needs a license in Texas ultimately comes down to the type of services performed by the individual in question. Texas controls some landscapers strictly while allowing others to operate at will if they abide by state laws. Contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation with any questions you have about landscape licensing.
General landscape work requires no licensure in Texas. Services qualifying as general landscape work in Texas include planting, maintaining, trimming, transplanting, relocating and spraying any plant, including bushes and trees. Other services include identifying, preventing or curing plant diseases and performing general lawn care like mowing and watering. All Texas landscapers performing such services must charge sales and use tax and obey all laws for businesses in the state. As of the publication date, self-employed landscapers with gross receipts of less than $5000 in four consecutive years need not charge taxes on any services.
Texas controls the term “landscape architect” and requires that anyone practicing under this title hold a license from the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners. Landscape architecture constitutes the design of outdoor spaces that includes more extensive modification to the natural environment than the planting and maintenance classified as general landscape work. Landscape architects plan the location of buildings, sidewalks, water features and gardens in a pre-determined physical space. This process sometimes involves making changes to the physical environment, such as diverting water flow or changing the gradient of slopes.
Landscape architects in Texas can achieve licensure by exam or by reciprocity. "By exam" entails passing an exam administered by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners. In order to take this exam, landscape architects must obtain a degree from an accredited landscape architecture program and gain at least two years of experience through an internship in the field. Achieving licensure through reciprocity entails transferring a license from another state either through the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners or the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board, a national nonprofit organization.
Texas licensing resources mention landscape design as a profession but make no explicit provisions regarding the licensing of these individuals. A landscape designer plans outdoor spaces much like a landscape architect, though on a much smaller scale, using only elements such as trees, bushes and other plants as well as lanterns, ponds and furniture. In this regard, the occupation entails something of a combination of general landscaping and landscape architecture. Landscape designers may operate in Texas without charging use or sales tax.
Landscape architects earned a median annual salary of $63,480 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, landscape architects earned a 25th percentile salary of $48,990, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $83,530, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 24,700 people were employed in the U.S. as landscape architects.