Business Accreditation for Landscapers

Managing people

10 January 2022

Almost every industry has organisations designed to uphold standards – either in a formal, regulatory capacity, or just as a recognisable authority that provides information and guidance. But what do businesses stand to gain by signing up for membership?

Accrediting bodies vs professional organisations

Both accrediting bodies and professional organisations can provide great benefits to their members. As part of their remit, both types of organisation provide new information and tools. This can be through an online news feed, industry magazine or research paper, or it could be via live events like trade shows and talks. Many associations also advertise jobs and host networking events to help expand your contact book.

However, professional organisations don’t tend to have a stringent process for becoming a member in the way that accreditation bodies do and therefore may hold less weight when trying to prove your reliability as a business. That’s not to say that professional organisations aren’t useful, it just depends on what your reason is for wanting to be associated with one of these groups.

If you're running a landscaping or gardening company, the benefits of industry accreditation from one of the two landscaping accreditation bodies in the UK could be considerable. Here’s how accreditation could help your business:

What are the benefits of accreditation for gardeners and landscapers?

High standards and trust

Accreditation is held to a very high standard and often in order to be accredited an organisation will undergo inspections and checks to ensure their practice is up to a certain standard. Having such stringent codes and checks in place means that customers can feel confident putting their trust in the landscaping contractors recommended by these accredited bodies.

The benefits of inspections and codes of conduct are that customers and clients have a set of standards they can expect you to meet, and can trust that your indemnity policy and business practices have been checked. Tradesmen can display accreditation on third party sites like to enhance their reputation and attract more customers.

Many organisations also run annual awards shows where you can get recognition for your work – another credential to attract customers.

Skills development

The events and networking opportunities that professional bodies provide can help to develop employee skills. They may organise monthly events such as practical masterclasses, industry seminars, or regular workshops on topics like design principles, costing and quoting, water gardens and health and safety. Attending the events offered by these accredited bodies not only helps to keep your own skills fresh, but also means you can develop talent within your team and reduce the risk of accidents.


Sometimes things happen that you’re not quite expecting – like an unhappy customer or possibly something worse. While having your own professional indemnity insurance is one important step in protecting your business, this can be combined with other measures provided by industry bodies. For example, many organisations offer mediation services. If a client has an issue with your service, or refuses payment, professional bodies can help solve the dispute.


One of the biggest benefits of industry accreditation is, of course, that it can drive new business. Most accrediting bodies will promote their members online, allowing customers to search their website directories by location and the service they're looking for. 

With options to include your business address, website, contact number and details of the type of work you do , this is a great way to reach customers and get direct, warm leads.

Accrediting bodies in the UK garden and landscape industry

There are two leading organisations to choose from: the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) and the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI). The APL provides advice, training and representation to around 180 leading professional landscapers, while the BALI is a trade association, formed in 1972, that promotes excellence within the industry.

Association of Professional Landscapers

Becoming a member of the APL isn’t easy – it promises ‘the toughest’ inspection process around. A successful applicant’s first inspection is followed by annual reviews that ensure the business meets health and safety standards, has the required insurance, and that its work is of the best possible quality. These inspections are endorsed by TrustMark, a government-backed standards initiative. APL’s membership covers landscapers, garden designers, and gardeners, so many if you work in the landscape or gardening industries, there’s a good chance your business can be accredited by this body.

British Association of Landscape Industries

Members of BALI, meanwhile, must sign up to its code of conduct, which stipulates that members must aim to achieve the highest standards of business and professional expertise, be responsible for the actions of their staff and sub-contractors, operate in an environmentally friendly manner, and invest in ongoing staff training and development. According to their website, BALI’s Accredited members can “carry out works in all areas of landscaping, including but not limited to garden design, hard and soft landscaping, lawn care or artificial grass, hydroseeding, irrigation and drainage, groundworks, roof gardens and sports grounds and maintenance”.

Professional garden and landscape organisations in the UK

GOV.UK lists hundreds of approved organisations and societies spanning dozens of sectors, so it's easy to find your representative if there is one. As someone in the garden and landscaping industry, you may want to check out ones related to gardening, landscaping, groundsmanship, or plant propagation. Be sure to thoroughly research any group before joining it so that you fully understand what is expected of you as a member and what benefits they offer.

How to get accredited or join a professional organisation

To join, you'll normally need to pay a subscription fee and sign up to a code of conduct, you may also need to have professional indemnity insurance cover too. Tests are applied in some industries too, for example the Association of Professional Landscapers conducts a rigorous inspection that's repeated annually.

The benefits of membership could well outweigh the burden of regulation and the costs for your business. So, explore your options and research the best option for you before making a decision – and remember that membership to professional bodies can be written off as a business expense under allowable expenses!