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Sustainable Landscapes Cert
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Sustainable Landscapes Certification

In 2013, PLNA introduced a certification for sustainable landscapes that piggy-backed on the Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist. Called the Sustainable Landscapes Certification (SLC), the program certified knowledge in the area of using plants to provide ecosystem services.

As sustainable landscapes, green infrastructure and stormwater management installation and maintenance needs continue to grow, PLNA determined that the Sustainable Landscapes Certification should be a stand-alone certification accessible to individuals who may not necessarily need the full knowledge of a certified horticulturist to prosper in their career.  Knowledge of the design, installation and maintenance of sustainable landscape systems is being driven by consumer demand and government regulations such as Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permits, the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and Pa. Department of Environmental Protection storm water management best practices and PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in the riparian buffer programs.  Accordingly, these state and municipal governing agencies are aware of the SLC certification and this credential can positively impact the review of grant applications and awards. 

Sustainable landscaping practices are being viewed as the solution to real environmental problems.  Private sector programs such as the Sustainable Landscape SITESTM program and the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) are creating demand for professionals and companies with demonstrated expertise and knowledge in the design, installation and maintenance of sustainable landscape systems.

The Sustainable Landscapes Certification (SLC) is an additional professional certification in one of the fastest growing areas of horticulture. An SLC has the specialized knowledge about how plants can be used most effectively to provide ecosystem services that improve water quality, air quality and enhance human health and performance. An SLC must maintain their certification through a program of continuing education credits to ensure his/her ongoing knowledge and expertise as a professional in the sustainable landscape discipline.

Study Manual and Reference Guide
A Sustainable Landscapes Study Manual and Reference Guide is available to help you prepare for this exam or to keep as a reference guide.  The cost is $50 for PLNA Members and $75 for non-members.  Click here to order your Study Manual and Reference Guide now.

Who is eligible for this certification?
Professionals who design, install, and maintain sustainable landscapes in the residential, commercial or municipal environments.

What do my registration fees cover?
The application fee covers the first exam, one retest, two full years on the mailing list, and recognition when certification is achieved.

PLNA Member (owner/employee of PLNA member firm) -  $ 75.00
Non-member -  $ 125.00

Additional retests within the two-year application period are subject to a retest fee.

PLNA Member (owner/employee of PLNA member firm) -  $ 25.00
Non-member -  $ 35.00

What is the test procedure?
The exam consists of 125 questions to be completed in one hour. The format of the exam consists of a combination of multiple choice, true or false, and matching questions. The sections consist of:

• Natural Cycles and the Human Impacts on the Environment
• Native Plants
• Use and Application of Plants in Sustainable Landscapes
• Key Benefits of Sustainable Landscapes
• Stormwater Best Management Practices for Sustainable Landscapes
• The Economics of Sustainable Landscapes
• Applicable Environmental Regulations
• Design Goals for Sustainable Landscapes including Understanding the Site, Design and Construction, Monitoring and Maintenance

When can I take the exam?

Testing for the Sustainable Landscapes designation can be taken at any time or check out the exam schedule to see if one of those dates and times work for you.  Contact Cicely Elliott at or 717.238.1673.


Apply Online Now!


 If you need to pay by check, you can download an application and/or manual order form below.

SLC Program Forms & Resources

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Click on any of the forms below to download
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
SLC Application2019 PDF (305.04 KB) Administration 11/27/2018
SLC ManualOrderForm PDF (100.77 KB) Administration 11/27/2018
SLC Certification Fact Sheet PDF (98.99 KB) Administration 12/28/2018
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