Criteria

Tips for submitting a good application

  • Read and use the garden scoring rubric (link opens in new tab).
  • Read and bookmark the application questionnaire. Prepare your responses in advance. Don’t rush. You can save the form and return later, but once you submit it, it can’t be changed.
  • Visit and read through the resources page on this site ( Resources page opens in new tab). This will help you understand what the criteria terms mean. For example, our reviewers will know if you have a good understanding of what is meant by “healthy soil.”
  • We know you’re busy, but the more detail you provide, the better your chances will be.
  • Photos are key. Show us the big picture, not pretty close-ups.

Repeat Applications

If you’ve applied in in the past and not received (or “won”) a Monarch Award, you’re encouraged to apply again. This includes applicants from 2016 -2019 who were “runners up”– go ahead and apply for a full award.
Although we don’t accept applications from previous Monarch Award recipients / winners, we welcome repeat applications from Caterpillar-level recipients.

Six Criteria

Soil How healthy is your garden soil? What makes your soil healthy?
Water How do you conserve water and deal with runoff from roofs? How do you water your garden?
Plants How many plants? Lots of variety? Some natives? (You need a lot of natives)
Materials and Hardscaping Chosen wisely? Used carefully? Permeability?
Cultural Practices How you “tend” your garden. 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 a contest. 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.

Caterpillars!
We recognize 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.