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    I recently found out I failed “D” again. According to online result, my score was “11112” (close!), but this doesn’t help me at all to plan strategy for next exam. Please let me know or respond if you can help me on followings.


    1) Sugestions on Study Materials

    I used following books. Please let me know if you have any additional books I may need to cover.


    Time Saver, Landscape Architecture Graphic Standard, Site Engineering for Landscape Architects, Construction and Specifications, and Constructed Wetlands in Sustainable Landscapes.

    PIP LARE prep series Section D


    2) Online Test and Digital Materials

    I took CLARB online test and used some old sample test. Can anyone share useful digital materials?


    3) Section D preparation course, lessons

    I know some institution have short term LARE prep course. Does anyone suggest good LARE prep course? Or, Does any licensed professional offer online tutoring etc?


    I did everything I could and failed. So, I really want to study / prepare differently for next time.

    Any suggestions are grealy appreciated!




    My email address is


    Jordan Lockman

    It looks like you need help on the “materials and methods of construction” portion. It would not hurt to talk to some installers and see if they can help give you some real world information on how things get built.
    Have you taken the trip to Lowes/Home Depot/Menards to touch look at and figure out what pieces work best for what. I got a free book at lowes that showed plans on how to build a bunch of site elements(like pergolas, decks, paver patios).
    What are the best practices for each type of installation. For example look at the interlocking paving institutes best practices. Go further and examine built projects and look at what is used to hold them together.
    Think back to what you have seen fail on an installation. I know that I have seen retaining walls(not mine but other contractors retaining walls)fail because there was nothing behind the wall to handle water, so boom the wall collapsed in a rainstorm.
    Much of the manufacturers information is on their websites and can easily be found.
    Many of the sales staff for different manufacturers would be more than willing to answer any of your questions. They look at each one of us as future clients, no matter if we are licensed or not.
    You may even be lucky enough to have a local hardware store that you can go to and pick their brains. They love to talk about building materials. I work with Architects and they were a great resource on all things building related, like masonry, concrete, wood construction.

    Well good luck.



    Thanks Jordan for your suggestions. I guess I need to dig deeper to understand how installation, connections, and construction techniques work in different context. Textbook or reading can inform me basics, but it seems that LARE D requires more advanced knowledges specific to all different kind of construction. I will do my best!
    What I hate most is design principle question such as appropriate planting type at the base of sculpture etc etc.

    Adam Trujillo

    Ya, as far as materials and construction I would suggest searching online for how to build things. Even though I have had good experience in field observation, I went online and read how contractors built a deck or built a wall. It’s so much easier to understand when you see progress photos of what they are actually building. It helps understand each process and material. As far as planting, I was taken by surprise by how many planting questions there were on the test. For those questions I had to make educated guesses based on my own plant knowledge. But I would check out page 40 of the pdf link below if you’re having trouble with the plant section. Best to luck!

    Jordan Lockman

    I was also surprised about the plant selection questions. I feel that plant selection in my office is the one thing that separates me from the Architects and a big reason why I love the field, but there is not a good way to test on it. So we are left with weird and subjective plant selection questions. I have passed a local nursery association certification exam that was much more rigorous about plant id and selection, but how would you do that nationally? I guess that you can’t. So they are stuck asking questions about planting design principals and other vague subjective questions. The LA Graphic Standards has a pretty good synopsis of the design principals and it is only like half a page long for each residential and public, I have the student edition (pg354-355).

    Otherwise I like the idea of an internet search for more information. Try online forums for landscape construction and masonry.

    I believe when I took D there were quite a few questions on alt storm-water(veg. swales, rain-gardens, etc.) and other environmentally friendly site design. Is that the case for you?


    Thanks for the link Adam! I always didn’t spend much time planting and treated as less important items for D.
    Surprisingly, there was no plant type / species questions for when I took D last time. Usually, there are 3-5
    planting questions at least. I guess I have to take more time on this matter and educate myself.

    I think you are rigjht about referring to online material. I found out that many video on youtube (building deck, concrete test etc) helped lots to understand everything quickly. Thanks again!



    Yeah, Planting questions in D are always weird and subjective. To be honest, I can not really answer what type of planting is appropriate at the base on sculpture without knowing what type of sculpture it is, and what preferred visual sppearance, maintenance strategies are……lol. I always ended up choosing groundcover or perennials. (other options were creeping ground cover, evergreen shrub, I believe)

    I take my exam in WA state. I must say there were about 20 stormwater related questions (maybe more) when I took a test last time. Though I don’t know if LARE exam is customized to different state,
    stormwater is one of the most important sibject to study now.

    What I want to do next, is to post questions I couldn’t figure out. And maybe you guys can help to discuss what the correct answers might be.

    Thanks Jordan!!

    Ray Freeman

    The ABD review class I teach spends about 1.5 days on section D. Next class is January 21-23 in San Francisco area. Plant questions should be general enough so that you can probably do OK with knowing the characteristics of the genus.


    Thanks Ray. I am interested in participating LARE prep class in west coast. Could you email me details?
    My email is People told me about UCLA extension all the time. Is your class similra to UCLA one?

    Ray Freeman


    Hmm. Well yes and no. If you are referring to the UCLA A, B, D classes, I think the basic philosophy is somewhat different. UCLA breaks there classes up into one day sessions per section. Ours are lumped together into a 3 day weekend. We spend a lot more time on D because the amount of material is huge.

    I send you a brochure by mid-December.



    One thing I did that seemed to help was to re-draw a whole lot of details by hand, taking them from various sources (time saver standards, graphic standards, some stormwater treatment details from work and different states’ regs, online army corps/BLM details, etc.). I sort of thought them through during the drawing process, and would double-check different references if something seemed unclear or counterintuitive. I did them all in a nice little hardbound sketchbook, so now I have an easy reference of details that pretty much make sense to me.

    Even though I took the test a while back, I still add to this sketchbook pretty regularly, and when I am trying to work out site-specific details.


    Thanks Ray. Did you send me a brochure yet? I am considering to fly out there since WA doesn’t offer anything.

    Ray Freeman

    went out tonite.


    I passed all sections finally! Thanks for your advises and help everyone!

    Erin Canterbury

    Takkie…any additional advice other than what others told you above?  Taking D again on Friday and had the same original score as you did.  Very frustrating! Thanks!



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