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Licensing
Who Must Be Licensed?
Individual License
Business License
License Phases
Owner/Managing Employee
FAQ's

Exam Qualifications

Public Works Bonding Requirement

Who Must Be Licensed?

Oregon’s Landscape Contractor Licensing Law, ORS 671.510-760, requires anyone who wants to call themselves a landscape construction professional or a landscape contracting business and anyone who wants to perform landscape work to have a valid landscape construction professional license and/or landscape contracting business license. 

The law states no person shall use the title of a landscape construction professional, landscape gardener, landscape contracting business or landscaper, or any title, sign, card or other device indicating, or tending to indicate, advertise or represent in any manner that the person is a landscape construction professional or landscape contracting business unless the person has a valid license. 
 
A landscape construction professional cannot offer landscape contracting services unless the individual is an owner or in the employ of a licensed landscape contracting business.  If the landscape construction professional is the sole proprietor, the landscape construction professional must also obtain a license as a landscape contracting business.
 
THE LAW
ORS 671.520 states
“(1) “Landscape construction professional” means any person who for compensation or with the intent to be compensated arranges, undertakes, offers or contracts to undertake, or submits a bid to perform activities requiring the art, ability, experience, knowledge, science and skill to:
(a) Plan and install lawns, shrubs, vines, trees or nursery stock;
(b) Prepare property on which lawns, shrubs, vines, trees or nursery is to be installed.
(c) Construct or repair ornamental water features, drainage systems or irrigation systems; or
(d) Plan and install fences, decks, arbors, patios, landscape edging, driveways ,walkways or retaining walls.
(2) “Landscape contracting business” means any business that for compensation or with the intent to be compensated arranges for or submits a bid or otherwise offers or contracts to provide the services of a landscape construction professional.
(3) “Licensee” means a person or business that is licensed under ORS 671.510 to 671.710 as a landscape construction professional or landscape contracting business.
(4) “Nursery stock” means nursery stock:
(a) as defined by ORS 571.005 other than stock grown for commercial resale or reforestation; or
(b) As defined by the State Landscape Contractors board by rule.
(5) “Ornamental water features” means fountains, ponds, waterfalls, man-made streams and other decorative water-related constructions as identified by the board by rule.

 
Individual License
State Seal
 
 
TWO licenses are required to do landscaping work in Oregon:  the individual landscape construction professional license and the landscape contracting business license. 
 
 
What is a licensed landscape construction professional?
A landscape construction professional is an individual who has passed the competency examination and is licensed to provide services as an employee or owner of a licensed landscape contracting business.  These services include the planning and installing of  lawns, shrubs, vines, trees or nursery stock including the preparation of the property on which the plantings are to be installed, the construction and repair or ornamental water features, drainage systems and irrigation systems; and planning and installing fences, decks, arbors, driveways, walkways, patios, landscape edging and retaining walls.  A landscape construction professional also supervises unlicensed employees of licensed landscape contracting businesses.
 
The cost for a landscape construction professional license is:
$100 application fee (The Probationary license application fee is $75).
$95 initial license fee (This is the annual fee). 
  
 
SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES:  A licensed landscape construction professional whose phase of license is the basis of the landscape contracting business license must perform the following supervisory services:
  1. Review and initial the landscape plan and written contract for each job;
  2. Directly supervise all non-licensed employees employed by the landscape contracting business.
  3. Attend all on-site meetings and appear at any hearings that are a consequence of any claims filed against the landscape contracting business that relate to the landscape construction professional's phase of license.
 

 
Business License
A landscape contracting business license is granted to an entity that meets the requirements (see below) of law to contract for landscape work in the State of Oregon.  This entity is considered "the contractor" and has the ability to enter into contracts with the public.  This license is required for all landscape contracting businesses even if the business is a sole proprietor.
 
TWO licenses are required to do landscaping work in Oregon:  the individual landscape construction professional license and the landscape contracting business license.  Each landscape contracting business must employ at least one individual landscape construction professional to supervise the activities of the business and directly supervise all unlicensed employees that are performing landscape work for the business. The landscape contracting business may offer and/or perform those phases of  landscape work for which its employed landscape construction professionals are licensed.
 
Requirements for a Landscape Contracting Business License:
  • Application Fee:  $150
  • License Fee: $260
  • Business name that is registered with the State Corporation Division including ABN's if applicable.  The only exception to this requirement is a sole proprietorship that is named exactly in the name of the business owner, e.g. John P. Smith Landscaping owned by John P. Smith.
  • List of all owners including percentage of ownership. Sole proprietorships can only have one owner in Oregon, a non-community state.
  • The list of licensed landscape construction professionals, including yourself if applicable, who will be supervising the activities of the landscape contracting business and will directly supervise any unlicensed employees of the business performing landscape work.
  • Managing employee IF the owner is NOT a licensed landscape construction professional then the business must have a designated employee who is actively involved in the day to day operations of the business take a 16 hour course and pass an examination on the Laws, Rules and Business Practices for a landscape contracting business. 
  • Tax identification numbers such as: Federal Tax Identification Number, State Identification Number, Corporate Registry Number, etc.
  • Certificate of liability insurance for a minimum of $100,000.
  • Surety bond (or other accepted surety). 
  • $3,000 surety if performing projects $10,000 or less; 
    $10,000 surety if projects are more than $10,000 and less than $25,000 or if the business installs fences, decks, arbors, patios, driveways, walkways, retaining walls or landscape edging without performing other landscape work; $15,000 surety if the projects are more than $25,000 or the business is a probationary business.
  • Workers compensation, if applicable.
  • Independent contractor certification stating the business meets the independent contractor requirements of ORS 670.600.
  • Licensing and litigation history which provides information about previous licenses and any outstanding orders, unpaid judgments or penalties in Oregon or other states.
  • Criminal background indicating any felony convictions of the owners.
  • Employee verification form which verifies the licensed landscape construction professional understands the supervisory requirements.
  • Signature

 
License Phases
There are four license phases you may apply for: 
 
All Phase:  all areas of landscape contracting, including the installation of irrigation and backflow assemblies.
Standard:  all areas of landscape contracting except irrigation and the installation of backflow assemblies. 
Planting Only:  Plan or install lawns, shrubs, vines, trees or nursery stock and perform grading and drainage services for those installations.  Also, the preparation of the property on which those are to be installed. 
Irrigation, Plus Backflow:  irrigation and the installation of backflow assemblies only.
Probationary All Phase plus Backflow: all areas of landscape contracting, including the installation irrigation and of backflow assemblies with the maximum bond amount. 
 
TO UPGRADE A LICENSE PHASE:  A landscape construction professional may add to the license phase they currently hold by taking and passing additional sections of the exam.  For more information, contact the LCB office at (503) 967-6291.  
 
To view a table/chart of items each phase of license may advertise and perform, click here.
 
Owner/Managing Employee
Business Owner/Managing Employee
IF the owner is NOT a licensed landscape construction professional then the business must have a designated employee who is actively involved in the day to day operations of the business take a 16 hour course and pass an examination on the Laws, Rules and Business Practices for a landscape contracting business. 
 

 
FAQ's

TWO licenses are required to do landscaping work in Oregon:  the individual landscape construction professional license and the landscape contracting business license.  This contains information regarding the individual landscape construction professional license, which is normally the first step in licensing.  
 
What is a licensed landscape construction professional?
A landscape construction professional is an individual who has passed the competency examination and is licensed to provide services as an employee or owner of a licensed landscape contracting business.  These services include the planning and installing of  lawns, shrubs, vines, trees or nursery stock including the preparation of the property on which the plantings are to be installed, the construction and repair or ornamental water features, drainage systems and irrigation systems; and planning and installing fences, decks, arbors, driveways, walkways, patios, landscape edging and retaining walls.  A landscape construction professional also supervises unlicensed employees of licensed landscape contracting businesses.
 
Do I need a license to do yard/landscape maintenance?
No, landscape maintenance is not regulated by the State of Oregon.  However, you should check with your city or county for local requirements.  Landscape maintenance is work performed on an existing landscape and the general upkeep of an already installed project.  Examples of this are:  mowing, pruning, edging, applying bark dust, and trimming.  Irrigation repair is NOT landscape maintenance and DOES require a license. 
 
How do I know if I’m doing landscape maintenance or landscape contracting?
Maintenance involves the care of plants and the general upkeep of an already installed project.  Landscape contracting is the preparation for and/or installation of a project or any part of it.
 
Why is an individual license required?
Landscape construction work in Oregon does not require permits to be obtained and subsequent inspections to be performed (except for backflow installations and construction work that has specific code requirements).  The landscape construction professional license promotes consumer confidence that this individual has the knowledge and experience in performing and supervising landscape construction work on the consumer’s landscape construction project.
 
What types of licenses are there?
There are four types or phases of landscape construction professional licenses: 
• All Phase—all phases of landscaping including irrigation and backflow.
• Standard—does not include irrigation or backflow.
• Irrigation & Backflow only—irrigation and backflow only.
• Probationary All Phase – all phases of landscaping including irrigation and backflow with restrictions

What if I am licensed to do landscape in another state?
Oregon does not have reciprocity agreements with other states.  However, you should submit a copy of your out-of-state license with your application.  Your out-of-state license may qualify you to sit for the exam.
 
How much is the application fee?
The individual application fee is $100.  If you are applying for a Probationary license the fee is $75.  The application fee is non-refundable and must be submitted with the application.
 
How long before I’ll know if I’m eligible to sit for the exam?
All applications are reviewed within 5 working days.  The length of time before you’re notified of eligibility depends on the complexity of your application and how long it takes to verify all of your documentation.  Once your application is approved you will receive notification by mail.  This letter will include your ID number which you will need to begin scheduling the exam with PSI.  It will also include any study material the LCB provides for the exam (such as a copy of the current laws and rules, a plant ID CD, OSHA information, and plumbing codes for the backflow section).
 
What should I study for the exam?
The Laws & Rules and various other study materials will be sent to you when your application has been approved to take the exam.  A list of study/resource material and the Candidate Information Bulletin will also be sent to you. 
  
What does the exam consist of?
There are seven sections of the exam:  Laws, Rules and Business Practice, General A: Plants & Turf, General B: Construction, General C: Grading & Drainage, General D: General Safety, Estimating, Soil Science & Chemicals, Irrigation, and Backflow.

Required sections to be passed for Landscape Construction Professional license:
All phase - Laws, Rules and Business Practices, General A, B, C, D, Irrigation and Backflow (7 sections)
Standard - Laws, Rules and Business Practices, General A, B, C and D (5 sections)
Irrigation Only - Laws & Rules and Business Practices, Irrigation and Backflow (3 sections)
Probationary - Laws, Rules and Business Practices, General A, B, C, D, Irrigation and Backflow (7 sections)
 
Can I get a sample exam or previous exam to study?
No.  There are sample questions included in the Candidate Information Bulletin, as well as a lot of information regarding the exam, the subjects of each section and PSI’s exam procedures.
 
How often is the exam given?
The exam is given on an individual basis by appointment with PSI. 
 
Where is the exam given?
The exam is currently administered through PSI.  PSI has 6 exam locations in Oregon (Baker City, Bend, Eugene, Independence, Medford and Portland).  A detailed list including addresses is provided in the Candidate Information Bulletin published by PSI. 
 
How many questions are on the exam?
The number of questions varies from 45 to 100 per section.  The All Phase exam (all seven sections) has a total of approximately 450 questions.  There is detailed information regarding each section of the exam in the Candidate Information Bulletin
 
If I do not pass, is the fee refunded?
No.
 
If I fail, can I take the exam again?
You may take the exam as many times as needed.  

Is there a fee to retake the exam?
Yes.  The exam is administered by PSI and the retake fees are published in the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin.
 
Once I pass the exam, can I start working?
No.  Passing the exam allows you to become a licensed landscape construction professional.  However, to begin work, you must be employed by or own a licensed landscape contracting business (see business license application packet).
 
What do I do after I pass all the sections of the exam that are required for the license? 
You will need to pay the initial license fee, which is $95.  This is an annual license fee.
 
What is the “Backflow” portion of the license?
Your “backflow” license will allow tapping into potable water supply lines and installing backflow prevention assemblies for irrigation and water features only. 
 
How about low-voltage electrical installations?
Employees of licensed landscape contracting businesses are authorized to install low-voltage landscape irrigation control wiring and outdoor landscape lighting without an electrical license if the licensed landscape contracting business provides the employee with a Low Voltage I.D. Card.  Low-voltage is defined as Class 2 or Class 3 systems that do not exceed 30 volts and 750 volt –amperes.   
 
What other licenses do I need?
Besides a landscape construction professional license, you also need a landscape contracting business license and possibly a local business license if you plan to start your own business.
 

 
Exam Qualifications
How can I qualify to take the exam?
 
To qualify for the exam you must meet at least one of the following requirements.  If you are qualifying by your experience with a landscape contracting business or in a landscape related field (rather than a degree or education) the experience must be within 10 years prior to the date of the application.
 
1.  Employed by a licensed landscape contracting business for a total of 2 years.
  • To document your employment with a licensed landscape contracting business, have your employer(s) complete the employer verification form.  This form must be submitted with your application.
 
2.   Submit documentation to verify two years of related landscaping experience (nursery work, landscape maintenance work, etc). 
  • To document experience in landscape related work, submit a completed landscape maintenance verification form documenting 5 customers/projects per year for a 2 year period or the employer verification form if you were an employee of a company performing landscape related work.   
 
3.  Have obtained Associates, Bachelors or Masters Degree in horticulture or related field which includes cooperative work experience (if no cooperative work experience, documentation showing 6 months of related landscape experience may substitute).
  • To verify a degree in horticulture or a related field, submit a copy of your transcripts.
 
4.  Hold a certificate in horticulture or other related field from an accredited school or college that requires a minimum of 72 credit hours, which includes cooperative work experience in landscaping (if no cooperative work experience, documentation showing 6 months of related landscape experience may substitute).
  • To verify this certificate, submit a copy of certificate and a copy of transcripts with your application.
 
5.  Hold a current certification with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) as a Certified Arborist.
  • To verify you hold this certification, submit a copy of your certificate with your application.
 
6.  Successfully completed the Landscape Industry Certification program administered by OLCA or another entity licensed to the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).
  • To verify you have completed this program, submit a copy of your signed certificate with your application.
 
7.  Hold a current membership as a Certified Professional Member of APLD.
  • To verify you hold this certification, submit a copy of your certificate with your application.
 
8.  Hold a current Oregon Backflow Assembly Tester Certification or complete a Backflow Assembly Tester 5 day course approved by the Oregon Drinking Water Program.
  • To verify, submit a copy of certification or course completion with your application.
 
9.  Other landscaping related certified membership on an individual basis to be determined by the board.
  • If you have other experience that you feel would qualify you to take the exam, submit documentation and a letter of explanation.  You will be contacted if any further documentation is needed.
  
  
What if I don’t meet any of the qualifications to sit for the exam?
  You may apply for a probationary license.  A probationary license means anyone is allowed to take the Landscape Construction Professional exam without meeting the qualifications.  The individual must pass all sections of the exam within one year of the first sitting of the exam.  
 
Once the exams are passed and a Probationary All Phase license is issued, the individual may:
 
  • Start his/her own landscape contracting business where the business will be required to carry a $15,000 bond and will only be allowed to perform landscape projects that do not exceed $15,000.
  • Work for an employee of a licensed landscape contracting business under the direct supervision of a non-probationary licensed construction professional.
  • Work for 24 months as an employee of a licensed landscape contracting business and be the phase basis of this business.  The business must carry a $15,000 bond and will only be allowed to perform landscape projects that do not exceed $15,000.
 
After a period of 24 months meeting one of these requirements, the licensee may request the probationary status be removed.