Judging Criteria

Landscape Maintenance

Curb appeal

Curb appeal: the attractiveness of the property from the street. There is a good first impression that catches your attention. The exterior looks inviting and welcoming. Curb appeal can be accomplished by any number of methods including; exterior decorations, colour scheme and extensive attention to the landscaping.


  • Softscape comprises live horticultural elements, ornamental grasses, and naturalization of plants and shrubs. The purpose is to lend character to the landscaping, create an aura and provide ambience. Groundcover (moss, ivy) should be well maintained. Sod (grass) should be mowed & edged, weed and disease free and without brown patches (except rural areas or water ban in effect).
  • Hardscape refers to a built environment: stones, rocks, pavers, artificial turf, structures, water elements and mulches (should be weed free, clean and well kept).

Flowers (Annual & Perennials)

Flowers should be well maintained, with healthy colour and foliage, dead headed and part of a colour scheme. They should be of proper size and proportion in containers/ planters.

Trees, Evergreen & Shrubs

Trees, evergreens and shrubs should be pruned, shaped and maintained (deadwood, weak, diseased or damaged branches and stems should be removed).

Property Maintenance

Property is maintained; walkways, driveways, fences and porches are in good order and contribute to the overall appearance of the property. Landscaping is maintained, free of litter and weeds. Elements and structures compliment the landscape and are in working order.

Landscape Design: Elements and Principles


These are tools which are used to achieve Principles of Design. The following information will help you judge properties.

Line: This is eye movement or flow. This can be achieved by bed arrangement, or vertical changes in heights of plants, trees or shrubs. Line can be straight, curved or free flowing.

Form: Individual plant growth or planting arrangement in a landscape (upright, oval, columnar, spreading, weeping, etc.)

Texture: Describes the surface quality of an object that can be seen or felt. It includes buildings, walks, walls, groundcovers and plants. Texture can be fine, coarse, bold, or medium. Texture adds interest to the garden throughout the seasons.

Colour: Should be personal and have a strong effect on the landscape. May include some flowers, however most of the colour should come from foliage. Using green for continuity along with some colour variety in foliage adds interest. Colour should direct attention to the landscape and compliment the house. Consideration should be given to year round interest not just seasonal colour.


Unity/Harmony: The repetition of objects or elements that are alike (repetition of shrubs or colour scheme).

Balance: Can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Is your eye attracted to both sides of the property?

Scale/Proportion: The size of an object in relation to the house and property or the size of parts of the design in relation to each other and to the design as a whole.

Rhythm/Sequence: Smooth blending of different elements. Garden is one unified scene. Does the property have all year round appeal?

Focal Area: Plants or structural elements that complement the garden. (Elements such as an entry way, pond, fountain, arbour, birdbath, pots, stairways…)