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March 11, 2024

How to Get a Landscaping Contractor License in Ontario

Starting your own landscaping business is a good way to make money all year round. As with any skilled trade, this type of work continues to see a steady increase in demand, offering security and lucrative earning opportunities for those who pursue it.

If you’re looking to kickstart a career as an independent landscaper, there are some key elements to keep in mind. To start, you need a landscaping contractor license before taking on your first project. This typically involves completing an apprenticeship, registering your business, and getting certified as a skilled professional. After establishing your business, you’ll need comprehensive landscaping insurance to protect your finances against risks and liabilities unique to your industry.

In this guide, we’ll share how to get your landscaping license in Ontario and protect your landscape contractor business!

The Role of a Landscaping Contractor

Landscape professionals are responsible for landscape architecture. They design, create, maintain, and enhance outdoor residential or commercial areas like gardens and parks. Common landscaping services include:

  • Landscape design and planning: Understanding client needs and creating landscape designs that meet their aesthetic and functional requirements.
  • Project management: Overseeing projects from start to finish, including budgeting, scheduling, and coordinating with other professionals like architects or civil engineers.
  • Installation: Supervising the installation of various landscape elements such as tree removal, hardscapes, and water features.
  • Landscape maintenance: Providing ongoing maintenance services to ensure the health and beauty of the landscape. This includes tasks like pruning, lawn mowing, fertilization, and pest control.
  • Client interaction: Regular communication with clients to update them on project progress, address concerns, and make adjustments to plans as needed.

 A contractor operates heavy machinery to remove tree trunks from a private property

Image source: Canva

How to Get Your Contractor License for Landscaping

Becoming a licensed landscaping contractor takes a few steps:

  1. Gain industry experience
  2. Register your landscaping business
  3. Secure landscaping business insurance

Step 1: Get Industry Experience

Whether you want to design or maintain residential or commercial outdoor spaces, you must acquire hands-on experience before getting your landscaping license. You can do this in a few ways:

Landscaping Courses or Programs

You can take specific undergraduate programs to start as a skilled landscape contractor in Ontario. For instance, you could take a Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, agronomy, horticulture, or environmental design. Alternatively, vocational courses in landscape design will also benefit you in the long run.
Depending on the project, hands-on experience as a landscape contractor or a grounds maintenance labourer may also be needed.


Through an apprenticeship program, you’ll attend classroom lectures from a certified landscape architect or contractor, undergo 4,800 hours of on-the-job training, and finish around eight weeks of technical training. Pass the final certificate exam and you’ll be certified as an experienced landscaping contractor!


If you already have a combination of on-the-job training and attended landscaping courses in high school, you can jump straight to taking the trade certification exam. While it is voluntary in some provinces and territories, getting certified is a great way to let future employers and colleagues know you’re a skilled landscape contractor.

After that, you can choose to pursue a Red Seal Certification to further your career as a tradesperson and let everyone know you meet the national standard as a landscape contractor.

Step 2: Register your Landscaping Business

Business registration differs per province or territory, but it generally involves:

  • Applying for a business name
  • Choosing a business structure (sole proprietorship, corporation, or partnership)
  • Submitting the required paperwork

Once approved, pay the fees, and you’re almost good to do business! You just need one more thing to ensure your business begins on the right track—landscaping contractor insurance.

A masonry contractor sets a stone walkway with concrete

Image source: Canva

Step 3: Secure Landscaping Business Insurance

Each landscaping business has unique risks based on the services provided, the number of employees, and the types of projects undertaken. An experienced insurance brokerage specializing in protecting contractors in the landscape industry can help tailor an insurance bundle that fits your specific business needs.

Here are the most common insurance types found in a landscaping business insurance policy:

Commercial General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance protects contractors against claims of property damage or bodily injury caused by your services of employees. This is essential for any incidents that could occur on a client’s property.

Read more: What Commercial General Liability Doesn’t Cover

Commercial Auto Insurance

From private gardens to city parks, landscapers travel all over to complete their work. That’s why they need insurance that covers vehicles used for business, protecting against damages from accidents or theft. This is especially true for landscaping contractors who use trucks and other vehicles to transport tools, equipment, and staff.

Tools and Equipment Insurance

A contractor’s tools and equipment have the potential to get lost, stolen, or damaged if left at a job site. To protect your landscaping company from sunken costs, your valuables must be insured so you can replace or repair them in time to resume operations.

Invest In the Future of Your Landscaping Business

Getting your landscaping license takes time and effort—don’t let your hard work go to waste. Protect what you’ve built with Contractors Insurance! We are an award-winning Ontario insurance brokerage specializing in the construction and trades industries. We know what it takes to get your business off the ground and want to ensure your funds are well-protected against the risks and liabilities that come with your job.

Investing in comprehensive insurance not only protects against financial losses from unforeseen events but also enhances your credibility with clients, showing that you are responsible and prepared. This assurance can be a decisive factor for clients choosing between competitors.

Being a successful, skilled tradesperson takes more than a landscaping contractor license. Contact us today to learn more about landscaping insurance or to get started with a FREE quote!


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