Professional Landscaper Training

Water efficiency is an important part of maintaining a beautiful landscape in the Sacramento region. Applying just the right amount of water to plants is a great skill for a professional landscaper to develop and refine. The landscaping industry is competitive and the ability to offer customers a sustainable or “green” service helps your business stand out among the competition.

Below is a brief overview of several professional landscape training offered in the Sacramento region to help you decide which training program is best for you.

Training Target audience Is there a referral list?
QWEL Training Landscape professionals ready to learn more about irrigations systems. Yes
ReScape Qualified Professional New landscape professionals and landscape maintenance professionals. Yes
CLIA Training Landscape or water industry professionals learning to assess the detailed performance and efficiency of irrigation systems. Yes

Check the events calendar for more information (dates, locations, etc.) about educational opportunities for professionals. A description of the training opportunities are outlined below.

QWEL Training
ReScape Qualified Professional Training
CLIA Training

The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is excited to offer the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) professional certification program. The QWEL professional certification provides landscape professionals with 21 hours of education on local water supply, sustainable landscaping, soils, landscape water budgets, irrigation system components and maintenance, irrigation system audits, and scheduling and controller programming. In order to obtain the QWEL certification, an individual must demonstrate their ability to perform an irrigation system audit as well as pass the QWEL exam. The list of topics covered in the QWEL curriculum includes:

  • Where Our Water Comes From
  • Sustainable Landscaping
  • Soils
  • Landscape Water
  • Irrigation Systems
  • Irrigation Maintenance & Trouble Shooting
  • Irrigation System Auditing
  • Irrigation Scheduling
  • Irrigation Controllers
  • Bringing It All Together

The training is $50 and includes an irrigation audit and exam during 4 classroom sessions. To register go to

The training has been approved for 19.5 APLD CEUs.

Instructors are Lori D. Palmquist and Cheryl Buckwalter.

  • Lori Palmquist, CID, CIC, CLWM, CLIA, QWEL, WWLP; Principal, WaterWonk. She is the founding partner of WaterWonk, a company whose mission is to empower all landscape professionals to practice impeccable water efficiency in their projects.
  • Cheryl Buckwalter, Principal, Landscape Liaisons. As a residential landscape designer, consultant, and educator, Cheryl specializes in water‐efficient, ecologically‐responsible landscapes.

Presented by the Regional Water Authority and ReScape California, ReScape Professional Landscape Qualification Trainings provide high-quality education in the key principles of regenerative landscaping, training landscape professionals to conserve water, protect the soil, and reduce the use of pesticides. ReScape Landscaping is an approach to landscaping that works with nature to reduce waste, prevent pollution and support the integrity of the Sacramento River watershed.

The 8 ReScape Principles for Regenerative Landscapes include:

  • Act Local — Working with local ecosystems, rather than against them
  • Reduce Waste — Reducing yard waste which helps conserve landfill space
  • Nurture Soil— Promoting healthy soil to support healthy plants
  • Sequester Carbon—Utilizing healthy soil and vegetation to mitigate climate change
  • Save Water — Preserving water for future generations
  • Conserve Energy — Reduce our dependence on fossil fuels
  • Protect Air and Water — Keeping pollutants out of our water and air to protect the health of our watersheds
  • Create Habitat — Providing shelter and water to local habitat

The ReScape Qualified Professional training program is offered as a 3 or 4-day course, geared towards landscape maintenance and design professionals.

Participants must complete all classes to become a ReScape Qualified Professional and to be advertised on the Professional Directory.

To find a class and to register go to

Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor (CLIA) Certification provides a deep dive into irrigation systems. Become a certified landscape irrigation auditor and add instant credibility with customers and employers, increase job opportunities, and demonstrate your commitment to efficient water management.

CLIAs quantify and analyze landscape irrigation water use including the following tasks:

  • collect site data.
  • make maintenance recommendations and perform minor repairs.
  • perform field measurements and observations.
  • determine irrigation uniformity and efficiency.
  • develop a basic irrigation schedule.
  • work with a water manager or property owner to manage overall irrigation water use.

To become a CLIA, you must:

  • Register for the CLIA exam. Recommended: one year of irrigation-related work experience prior to taking the exam.
  • Take the CLIA exam.  The three-hour exam includes 125 equally weighted, multiple-choice questions on irrigation audit procedures, soil-plant relationships, irrigation scheduling, and equipment/technology.
  • Pass the CLIA exam.
  • Submit a landscape irrigation audit. Audits must be completed independently and verified by an CLIA-certified professional in good standing within one year of acceptance into the certification program.
  • In addition a CLIA professional must:
    • landscape audit guidelines
    • landscape audit policies, procedures and worksheets
    • landscape audit resubmission form
    • Comply with the Select Certified Code of Ethics.
    • Remain in good standing. CLIAs must submit 20 continuing education units per two-year cycle.

To find a class and register go to