There are six areas that the judging team will consider: soil, water, plants, materials/hardscaping, cultural practices, and aesthetics.

Soil How healthy is your garden soil?
Water How do you conserve water and deal with runoff from roofs?
Plants How many plants? Lots of variety? Some natives?
Materials and Hardscaping Chosen wisely? Used carefully?
Cultural Practices What do you do in your garden to enhance natural systems?
Aesthetics Does it look like a garden? A pleasing effect?

Your garden doesn’t need to excel in ALL these areas– if you’re doing most or even some of them well, please apply! It’s not about “winning”– it’s about recognizing people who are on a special kind of gardening journey and showcasing their gardens to a wider audience. We want to show what’s possible, provide inspiration, and motivation to keep moving along the garden path towards more ecological diversity and more sustainable horticultural practices.

New this year! Caterpillars!
In 2018 we’ll be recognizing the efforts being made by new gardeners, small gardens, and young gardens. Special “caterpillar” awards will go to gardens not quite ready for the big time, but demonstrate moves in the right direction. So if you’re a newbie gardener who still figuring things out, or your garden is years away from its full glorious maturity, or if you’re doing what you can on a tiny bit of land, don’t hesitate to apply. On your application tell us how old your garden is, how big, and be sure to tell us about your gardening journey. The Caterpillar awards are all about doing what you can with what you’ve got.