Landscape Professionals

Our landscapes are important to our way of life and our economy. Arizona’s landscape professionals understand this, and they have played a central role in moving us towards desert-adapted landscapes, and more efficient, sustainable practices. We continue to rely on the green industry’s partnership, leadership, and engagement to help ensure wise water use, particularly in light of ongoing drought and potential shortage.


Training and certification assist landscape professionals to strengthen skills, move ahead of the competition, and stay up to date on the latest trends, research, and practices in the industry.

Smartscape Training for Landscape Professionals

Course in the fundamentals of horticultural practices appropriate to our environment taught by university faculty and green industry experts. Certificate program.

Advanced Smartscape

15 hours of in-depth, hands-on training in irrigation systems design, installation, operation, and maintenance. Certificate program.

Arizona Certified Landscape Professional (ACLP)

The Arizona Landscape Contractors Association’s Arizona Certified Landscape Professional (ACLP) is an educational program for those aspiring to be professional landscapers. The series of workshops and online exams covers ten topics designed for interaction and hands-on learning.

Advanced Arizona Certified Landscape Professional II (ACLPII)

The Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association’s Advanced Arizona Certified Landscape Professional II program covers eight in-depth topics consisting of challenging concepts and hands-on exercises. It is designed for those who have completed the first ACLP program or equivalent field experience.

Arizona Certified Nursery Professional (ACNP)

The Arizona Nursery Association’s Arizona Certified Nursery Professional Program provides an 84-page manual and a one-day review course in preparation for the four-part certification exam.  The certification covers a variety of horticultural topics, with a focus on plant identification.

Advanced Arizona Certified Nursery Professional (AACNP)

The Advanced Arizona Certified Nursery Professional certification comprises three modules—Integrated Pest Management, Turf Management, and Irrigation Management—designed as an independent study program in preparation for the certification exams.

Arizona Community Tree Council (ACTC)

The Arizona Community Tree Council (ACTC) offers certification training and exams, as well as Continuing Education Unit (CEU) earning and other educational opportunities for landscape professionals.

Arizona Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM)

Certification program offered by the Arizona Landscape Contractors Association that focuses on sustainable practices such as water efficiency, reducing waste generation, and mitigating pollution by encouraging maturity of plant material, which promotes a healthier landscape.

ASU - Applied Biological Sciences (Sustainable Horticulture) (B.S.)

Arizona State University (ASU) offers a Bachlor of Science in Applied Biological Sciences with a concentration in sustainable horticulture that will prepare students for a wide range of horticulture careers. 

Desert Landscape School

The Desert Botanical Garden’s Desert Landscape School offers comprehensive, assessment-based certificate programs in plant biology and desert ecology, plants, design, installation, maintenance, and sustainable landscapes.

Desert Horticulture Conference

Annual green industry conference organized by the UA Cooperative Extension, providing timely and research-based information relevant for designing, building, maintaining, and producing plants for urban landscapes in the arid Southwest. Continuing Education Credits available.

International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certifications

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) offers many different certifications, both in English and Spanish. ISA has also expanded its training and credentialing opportunities to include qualifications.

Irrigation Association Certifications

The Irrigation Association offers seven certification programs for professionals specializing in turf, landscape and golf course irrigation. Certified irrigation contractors, designers with a landscape and turf irrigation specialty, or golf and landscape irrigation auditors qualify for the EPA WaterSense program.  

Maricopa Master Gardener

The University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension offers Maricopa Master Gardener training (MaricopaMG). This program is 17 weeks long and class topics include botany, plant problem diagnosis, soils, ornamentals, pest management, and more. After completing intial training and other requirements, participants may apply to become a Certified Master Gardener.

MCC - Landscape Horticulture (AAS)

Mesa Community College (MCC) offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Landscape Horticulture as well as Certificates of Completion as a Landscape Aide or Landscape Specialist. The Landscape Horticulture program can be transferred directly to ASU Polytechnic.

SHADE: Southwest Horticulture Annual Day Of Education

Award-winning conference for landscape professionals. Industry experts present a range of topics in five tracks: irrigation, trees & plants, plant health, design, and trends. Continuing Education Credits available.

WaterSense Professional Certification

The EPA WaterSense recognizes certification programs for irrigation professionals that meet the specification criteria. The specifications address certification programs in three categories:

Irrigation auditor, Irrigation installation and maintenance professional, Irrigation designer.  Visit the website for information on certifications that have achieved the WaterSense label.


A few key resources to assist you and your customers to build and maintain thriving, water efficient landscapes follow.

Guidelines for Landscape Drip Irrigation Systems

Technical standards for the design and installation of landscape drip irrigation systems. Developed by the Arizona Landscape Irrigation Guidelines Committee and endorsed by Arizona Chapter of the American Society of Irrigation Consultants, Arizona Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Landscape Contractors Association, and AMWUA.

City Rebate Programs

Convenient listing of rebates available from AMWUA members, including landscape conversion rebates and smart irrigation controllers. Photo credit: Rachio

City Conservation Offices

AMWUA’s member cities have conservation professionals on staff to assist residents and businesses.  Visit their websites or contact them if you have questions regarding the municipal programs and water-related ordinances.

Resources for Your Customers

AMWUA’s popular landscape publications—Plants for the Arizona Desert, Landscape Watering by Numbers, and Landscaping with Style in the Arizona Desert—are all accessible as websites.  Contact AMWUA to request rack cards that direct customers to the online resources.  For copies of publications to provide to your customers, contact the AMWUA member conservation offices.