Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC


  ( Heading of Division 3 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 30. )

CHAPTER 3.5. Landscape Architecture [5615 - 5683]

  ( Chapter 3.5 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1447. )

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [5615 - 5616]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1447. )


As used in this chapter:

“Landscape architect” means a person who holds a license to practice landscape architecture in this state under the authority of this chapter.

A person who practices landscape architecture within the meaning and intent of this article is a person who offers or performs professional services, for the purpose of landscape preservation, development and enhancement, such as consultation, investigation, reconnaissance, research, planning, design, preparation of drawings, construction documents and specifications, and responsible construction observation. Landscape preservation, development and enhancement is the dominant purpose of services provided by landscape architects. Implementation of that purpose includes: (1) the preservation and aesthetic and functional enhancement of land uses and natural land features; (2) the location and construction of aesthetically pleasing and functional approaches and settings for structures and roadways; and, (3) design for trails and pedestrian walkway systems, plantings, landscape irrigation, landscape lighting, landscape grading and landscape drainage.

Landscape architects perform professional work in planning and design of land for human use and enjoyment. Based on analyses of environmental physical and social characteristics, and economic considerations, they produce overall plans and landscape project designs for integrated land use.

The practice of a landscape architect may, for the purpose of landscape preservation, development and enhancement, include: investigation, selection, and allocation of land and water resources for appropriate uses; feasibility studies; formulation of graphic and written criteria to govern the planning and design of land construction programs; preparation review, and analysis of master plans for land use and development; production of overall site plans, landscape grading and landscape drainage plans, irrigation plans, planting plans, and construction details; specifications; cost estimates and reports for land development; collaboration in the design of roads, bridges, and structures with respect to the functional and aesthetic requirements of the areas on which they are to be placed; negotiation and arrangement for execution of land area projects; field observation and inspection of land area construction, restoration, and maintenance.

This practice shall include the location, arrangement, and design of those tangible objects and features as are incidental and necessary to the purposes outlined herein. Nothing herein shall preclude a duly licensed landscape architect from planning the development of land areas and elements used thereon or from performing any of the services described in this section in connection with the settings, approaches, or environment for buildings, structures, or facilities, in accordance with the accepted public standards of health, safety, and welfare.

This chapter shall not empower a landscape architect, licensed under this chapter, to practice, or offer to practice, architecture or engineering in any of its various recognized branches.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 564, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 2007.)


(a) A landscape architect shall use a written contract when contracting to provide professional services to a client pursuant to this chapter. The written contract shall be executed by the landscape architect and the client, or their representatives, prior to the landscape architect commencing work, unless the client knowingly states in writing that work may be commenced before the contract is executed. The written contract shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) A description of the project for which the client is seeking services.

(2) A description of the services to be provided by the landscape architect to the client.

(3) A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the contract, including the total price that is required to complete the contract, and the method of payment agreed upon by both parties.

(4) A statement in at least 12-point type that reads:

“Landscape architects are licensed by the Landscape Architects Technical Committee located at 2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 105, Sacramento, CA 95834.”

(5) The name, address, and license number of the landscape architect, the name and address of the client, and project address.

(6) A description of the procedure that the landscape architect and client will use to accommodate additional services.

(7) A description of the procedure to be used by either party to terminate the contract.

(8) A description of the procedure that the landscape architect and the client will use to accommodate contract changes, including, but not limited to, changes in the description of the project, in the description of the services, or in the description of the compensation, total price, and method of payment.

(9) A statement identifying the ownership and use of instruments of service prepared by the landscape architect.

(b) This section does not apply to any of the following:

(1) Professional services rendered by a landscape architect for which the client will not pay compensation.

(2) An arrangement as to the basis for compensation and manner of providing professional services implied by the fact that the landscape architect’s services are of the same general kind that the landscape architect has previously rendered to, and received payment from, the same client.

(3) If the client states in writing after full disclosure of this section that a written contract is not required.

(4) Professional services rendered by a landscape architect to any of the following:

(A) A landscape architect licensed under this chapter.

(B) An architect licensed under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 5500).

(C) A professional engineer licensed under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 6700).

(D) A contractor licensed under Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 7000).

(E) A geologist or geophysicist licensed under Chapter 12.5 (commencing with Section 7800).

(F) A professional land surveyor licensed under Chapter 15 (commencing with Section 8700).

(G) A manufacturing, mining, public utility, research and development, or other industrial corporation, if the services are provided in connection with, or incidental to, the products, systems, or services of that corporation or its affiliates.

(H) A public agency when using that public agency’s written contract.

(c) As used in this section, “written contract” includes a contract that is in electronic form.

(Amended by Stats. 2020, Ch. 370, Sec. 7. (SB 1371) Effective January 1, 2021.)

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