Anyone who has ever tried to maintain a lawn or dabbled in landscaping knows that beautiful flower beds and breathtaking landscaping doesn’t simply happen. Many of the gorgeous lawns and pretty little landscaped areas within cities are the handiwork of people who are known as California’s landscape architects.
While most people assume that California’s landscape architects work in residential yards, the truth is that they handle a wide assortment of tasks, including:
- Site revegetation and maintenance
- Erosion control
- Roadside aesthetic designs
- Highway planting projects
- Contour grading
- Mitigation design
Landscape architects are also contacted when a community needs a visual impact assessment performed. This is often done when a community wishes to change the overall vibe of the area in an attempt to either gentrify or attract new residents/businesses.
It’s not uncommon for someone who has a green thumb and a decent eye for landscaping to decide to offer to take over someone’s yard in an effort to earn a little extra money. What some people don’t realize is that this little attempt at a side hustle can get them into legal trouble.
The reality is that before you start offering your skills in exchange for payment, you should take some time to review California’s Landscape Architecture laws which are covered by the California State Professional Licensing Laws. When you take the time to read over the laws that pertain to landscape architects, one of the first things you’ll learn is that you can’t beautify a person’s yard in exchange for money until you’ve obtained a special business license.
Loving beautiful outdoor spaces and maintaining a couple of nice flower beds isn’t enough for you to get a landscape architecture license. Before you can start landscaping for money, the California Landscape Architects Technical Committee requires that you obtain at least one year of education. In addition to the schooling, you also have to spend two years getting some practical training, usually in the form of working for an already fully qualified landscape architect. It looks like the practical training should be completed after you’ve taken the classes the committee requires for your educational credit.
If you fail to complete the requirements needed to become a fully licensed landscape architect and choose to run a business without a license, you could face:
- The suspension of your business
- Local lawmakers fining you for non-compliance
- Liability lawsuits
- Government-mandated closure of your business for non-compliance
You’ll also likely have a difficult time getting the insurance and loans needed to run a successful and safe landscaping business.
In many cases of a business operating without a license, the law protects the clients. Failing to meet the licensing requirements means that you won’t be able to sue a client who doesn’t honor their part of a contract, such as paying you for your service.
When all is said and done, it’s in your best interest to go through the proper channels and meet the education requirements needed to work as a fully licensed and insured landscape architect in California.