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BCSLA Publications

Canadian Landscape Standard

The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects are pleased introduce that the Canadian Landscape Standard (CLS) First Edition. Based on the highly successful British Columbia Landscape Standard, the CLS is a single, authoritative resource for landscape construction projects across Canada. For the first time, there is a national guideline to set the standard of landscape work in every province across the country.   

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About the Canadian Landscape Standard

The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) joined forces to create a new tool that sets guidelines for landscape construction projects across Canada. The Canadian Landscape Standard is intended for use by anyone who specifies, designs, builds or maintains landscape work.  Using the highly successful BC Landscape Standard as a basis for the Canadian version, the standard is a national document, with regional supplements.

The Canadian Landscape Standard shows your clients that your work meets a nationally recognized standard.  Industry will be able to refer to the standard during the bid process.  It is intended to be user-friendly, available in both hard copy and digital formats.  The Canadian Landscape Standard will be a living document that will continually be reviewed and updated to remain current.  A subscription will keep users updated as new sections are available and revisions are made.

CNLA and CSLA would like to recognize the BC Landscape Standard Committee, consisting of volunteers from the BC Landscape & Nursery Association, and BC Society of Landscape Architects, who worked diligently over the last 20 years to create the BC Landscape Standard, and who allowed the BC document to be adopted nationally.  A legacy page in the Canadian Landscape Standard acknowledges their immeasurable contribution to this new document.  A national committee consisting of representatives of CNLA and CSLA has put in many hours to ensure that the Canadian Landscape Standard is a tool that can be used across the country.  In addition, many reviewers across the country examined specific sections in depth to ensure national application.

Dedication to BCSLA and BCLNA

The CSLA and the CNLA humbly dedicate the Canadian Landscape Standard to all the volunteers from the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA) and the British Columbia Nursery Landscape Association (BCNLA – previously known as the BCNTA). They envisioned the BC Landscape Standard and through their leadership, turned that vision into reality. Landscape architects Ken McKillop and David Mitchell, and nursery growers John Mathies (Cannor Nurseries) and Don Fraser (NorthWest Landscape Supply) worked alongside Dr. John Neill (founder of the landscape architecture program at the University of British Columbia) to create the BC Landscape Standard. We are deeply indebted to these visionaries.


The roots of the Canadian National Landscape Standard are firmly planted in the development of the BC Landscape Standard. In 1982, a group of BC landscape contractors and landscape architects met to discuss the varying levels of professionalism and quality of landscape projects in the province. Many stakeholders had reported inconsistencies in planting methods, installation methods and maintenance practices. The decision was made to develop a BC Landscape Standard, a joint effort between the BCNTA (the predecessor to the current BCLNA) and the BCSLA. 

The first BC Landscape Standard was published in 1984. Landscape managers and supervisors, landscape architects and landscape industry specialists developed and wrote the many sections that comprise the BC Landscape standard. Industry professionals reviewed all sections to assure their clarity and accuracy. 

The BC Landscape Standard has been a continual ‘work in progress’ (or living document). It has been updated regularly in order to remain current with technological advancements and innovations in product, methodology and design. The BCSLA and BCLNA provided time and funds where needed to review and improve the document, and joint funding was also provided by industry funders such as the BCLNA’s Industry Development Council. 

The BC Landscape Standard was in its 8th Edition in 2012, when the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association approached the BCSLA and the BCLNA to ask whether the BC Landscape Standard could serve as the basis for a national standard. 

This Canadian Landscape Standard is a testament to the professionals of the BC industry who have developed it from its beginnings in BC to its new national presence.  Many volunteers, including individuals, companies and firms have invested their time, energy and expertise over the past 35 years to ensure the perennity of the BC Landscape Standard. This has resulted in an authoritative national standard applicable across the country. 

To the many, many people who have since collaborated and participated in meetings and discussions to build this into an excellent reference document that has formed the basis for the Canadian Landscape Standard; our industry owes you a debt of gratitude. 

This Canadian Landscape Standard is an invaluable national resource and we collectively thank you.

Click to view background photo & credits
Project: Richmond Gate
Landscape Architect / Firm: LADR Landscape Architects
Location: Saanich, British Columbia
Photo Credit: LADR