Enter the Awards of Excellence

How to Enter

Eligibility

  • Projects must not be owned by the entering firm (including showcase projects completed at your facilities)
  • Projects that have previously received a Gold (previously Grand) in a category may not be re-entered in the same category
  • A project may only be entered in one category per year (except for Special Events)
  • Projects entered in the Special Events category may be entered in one other category in the same year
  • NALP keeps records of previous year’s awards – if you are interested in entering for a Decade award and are uncertain of eligibility, we can help with that

Categories and Judging Criteria

Installation/Contracting (click here to expand)

For installation or contracting projects, it is helpful to the judges to include two to three “before” and “in-process” photos and explain the installation’s special challenges. For example, if access was difficult, show the judges how difficult it was, and how you managed the plant material. If you had to use heavy equipment or inventive ways to access the building, be sure to show this. Your photos and descriptions should focus on the installation and the final result, not the design or selection of materials. In addition, the judges will look at how you used the space, so be sure to provide photos that show the overall areas of the project, rather than only close up shots.

Interior Installation projects

  • Under $25,000
  • $25,000 - $75,000
  • $75,000 -150,000
  • Above $150,000

Exterior Contracting projects (Residential and Commercial)

  • Under $25,000
  • $25,000 - $100,000
  • $100,000 - $500,000
  • $550,000 - $1,000,000
  • Above $1,000,000

Judging Criteria

  1. Overall appearance –25% (includes design for D/B entries)
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
  3. Quality of all materials – 25% (for Interior entries, includes containers and silk/artificial/preserved foliage)
  4. Appropriate scale and functionality in relation to structures/space – 25%

Design/Build (click here to expand)

In this category, you must submit a photo depicting the landscape design plan (delete your company name from the plan). The entering firm must have created the landscape design as well as the installation or construction of the project. Your description should focus on the client’s request, and how your landscape design met his or her specific needs. Do not forget this is a design/build project — include two to three photos about the actual installation of the project and any special challenges.

Interior Design/Build projects 

  • Under $25,000
  • $25,000 - $75,000
  • $75,000 -150,000
  • Above $150,000

Exterior Design/Build projects (Residential and Commercial)

  • Under $25,000
  • $25,000 - $100,000
  • $100,000 - $500,000
  • $550,000 - $1,000,000
  • Above $1,000,000

Judging Criteria

  1. Overall appearance –25% (includes design for D/B entries)
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
  3. Quality of all materials – 25% (for Interior entries, includes containers and silk/artificial/preserved foliage)
  4. Appropriate scale and functionality in relation to structures/space – 25%

Landscape Management (click here to expand)

For the projects in these categories, the entering firm must currently be managing the project and must have managed it for at least 12 months prior to the entry date. Photos should be taken at least 12 months after the firm assumed the project and must show sufficient detail to allow the judges to adequately determine the quality of the work performed. Be sure to include the date that the project was assumed on the entry form. You should show a range of photos that clearly portray the turf and/or plant material. Talk specifically about the project's scope and the maintenance procedures involved at the site - particularly if this involves some out-of-the-ordinary constraints. Give the judges information about disease and pest control programs, maintenance schedules, and any unusual or significant challenges associated with the project, and what steps you took to correct any problems.


Residential Landscape Management Projects (no subcategories)
Commercial Landscape Management Projects (select one subcategory)
  • Housing
  • Office and Industrial Sites/Hotels & Resorts
  • Retail
  • Institutional
  • Multi-Use Properties

Judging Criteria

  1. Overall appearance – 25%
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
  3. Appearance of turf – 10%
  4. Appearance of trees – 10%
  5. Appearance of annual color – 10%
  6. Appearance of shrubs – 10%
  7. Appearance of ground cover – 10%

Lawn Care (click here to expand)

For the projects in this category, the entering firm must currently be managing the project and must have managed it for at least 12 months prior to the entry date. Photos should be taken at least 12 months after the firm assumed the project and must show sufficient detail to allow the judges to adequately determine the quality of the work performed. You should show a range of 6-8 photos that clearly portray the turf and/or plant material. Talk specifically about the project's scope and the maintenance procedures involved at the site - particularly if this involves some out-of-the-ordinary constraints. Give the judges information about disease and pest control programs, maintenance schedules, and any unusual or significant challenges associated with the project, and what steps you took to correct any problems.


Residential Lawn Care (no subcategories)
Commercial Lawn Care (select one subcategory)
  • Housing
  • Office and Industrial Sites/Hotels & Resorts
  • Retail
  • Institutional
  • Multi-Use Properties

Judging Criteria

  1. Overall appearance – 50%
    1. Lush
    2. Thick
    3. Mower trucks in turf
    4. Setting/composition
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
    1. Obstacles to overcome
    2. Drainage conditions
    3. Sun/shade
  3. Appearance of turf – 25%
    1. Weed free
    2. Health

Landscape Interior Maintenance (click here to expand)

For the projects in this category, the entering firm must currently be managing the project and must have managed it for at least 12 months prior to the entry date. Photos should be taken at least 12 months after the firm assumed the project and must show sufficient detail to allow the judges to adequately determine the quality of the work performed. Be sure to include the date that the project was assumed on the entry form. You should show a range of photos that clearly portray the turf and/or plant material. Talk specifically about the project's scope and the maintenance procedures involved at the site - particularly if this involves some out-of-the-ordinary constraints. Give the judges information about disease and pest control programs, maintenance schedules, and any unusual or significant challenges associated with the project, and what steps you took to correct any problems.


What percentage, if any, of the project is silk, artificial, preserved foliage?

Judging Criteria

  1. Overall appearance – 25%
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
  3. Appearance of containers – 10%
  4. Appearance of trees – 10%
  5. Appearance of annual color – 10%
  6. Appearance of preserved/silk foliage– 10%
  7. Appearance of live plant material– 10%

Decade Awards (click here to expand)

Photos must show the current quality of the work performed. "Before" photos are not required but are sometimes helpful to judges. The entry form must include the date that the project was assumed and the year the project received the Grand/Gold Award. PLCAA legacy members, PLANET members and NALP members who have received a Grand/Gold Award and have managed their project continuously for 10 years or more after receiving the Grand/Gold Award may submit their project in this category.

Interior Maintenance Decade Award
Exterior Lawn Care Decade Award
Exterior Landscape Management Decade Award


Judging Criteria

Exterior Lawn Care Decade
  1. Overall appearance – 50% (lush, thick, mower tracks in turf, setting/composition)
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25% (obstacles to overcome, drainage conditions, sun/shade)
  3. Appearance of turf – 25% (weed free, healthy)

Interior Maintenance Decade
  1. Overall appearance - 25%
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
  3. Appearance of containers – 10%
  4. Appearance of trees – 10%
  5. Appearance of annual color – 10%
  6. Appearance of preserved/silk foliage – 10%
  7. Appearance of live plant material – 10%
Exterior Landscape Management Decade
  1. Overall appearance - 25%
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
  3. Appearance of turf – 10%
  4. Appearance of trees – 10%
  5. Appearance of annual color – 10%
  6. Appearance of shrubs – 10%
  7. Appearance of ground cover – 10%

Interior Containerized Plantings (click here to expand)

For projects in this category, be sure the project you are entering is unique in some way or demonstrates creativity in selection of plant material and containers. The entering firm must have provided and installed all plants and containers and must have played a significant role in the design process. Your project description should focus on the client’s requests and how you satisfied them. Your photos should show the entire space where containerized plantings were used so that judges can realize their impact.

Interior projects

  • Under $25,000
  • $25,000 - $75,000
  • $75,000 -150,000
  • Above $150,000

Erosion Control/Ecological Restoration (click here to expand)

Entries in this category are unique. You should show all phases of the project in your photos — before, during, after — and describe the process you went through. Be sure to explain the project’s intent and how you fulfilled the client’s requests. Also include in your project description the impact this project has had on the environment, and how you coordinated the work with any outside agencies. Projects in this category should contain similar values and functions of native landscapes.

Judging Criteria

  1. Overall impact/benefit to the environment – 25%
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
  3. Accomplishment of project intent – 25%
  4. Coordination of work with outside agencies – 25%

Special Events (click here to expand)

For this category, focus on the project’s unique aspects and the special challenges you overcame. These projects are defined as short term, such as seasonal displays, banquets, weddings, or exhibits, and must not have been completed within your own facilities (e.g., a showcase room or flower show held at your nursery for prospective clients). Include in your project description the project’s intent and how you satisfied the client’s requests.

Interior and Exterior Special Events

Judging Criteria

  1. Overall appearance – 50%
  2. Degree of difficulty – 25%
  3. Quality of all materials – 25%

Photo Requirements

A picture is worth 1,000 words. Make sure you share some great ones. Here are some rules and tips:

  • Submit a minimum of 10 photos and a maximum of 17. (note that Design/Build entries must include a minimum of 12 photos and a maximum of 17 and the design layout should be the last photo in your series. Lawn Care entries may submit 6 – 8 photos.)
  • No company information, name or branding is allowed to appear in the photos
  • Provide current, high-quality, well-lit photos. Make sure the landscaped areas are clean and well-staged
  • Suggestion: start and end your photo series with some “after photos,” and only submit 2-3 “before” or “in process” photos (judges really want to see the finished product)
  • Horizontal photos are preferred
  • Be descriptive, but concise with photo descriptions. Don’t use your company name in any write-ups and be sure to proofread
  • Photo File format – JPEGs are preferred with at least 2 megapixels each (for best viewing). No PowerPoints or other presentations please.
  • Rename your image files using an abbreviated version of the project name and number them 01, 02, 03, etc., to reflect the order in which you wish the judges to view them. (use leading zeros on single digits so the files stay in order).
  • Please complete the photo release form in the application. We publish photographs of projects in our publications and marketing and promotional materials, on the website, and we share them with the media. Please include any photo restrictions or photo credit information in the application form. NALP cannot guarantee photo credit will be given.

Fees and Deadlines

$399 per submission until April 15, 2021 (Earlybird fee)

$499 per submission from April 16- August 9, 2021 (Regular fee)

No late submissions will be accepted.

Judging

  • Entries do not compete against each other; they are judged on their own merit.
  • Submitting firm is kept anonymous from the judges.
  • The judging panel is made up of industry professionals from all regions of the United States.

Awards

  • Gold: For projects judged as setting the highest standard of quality and excellence in all facets of the project
  • Silver: For projects judged as showing beautiful work, and quality of project.
  • Bronze: For projects judged as showing great effort and a nice project, yet still needing more to move towards the higher levels.
  • Judges: Gold projects receiving 97 points or higher are evaluated by a select panel of judges. They are judged on the degree of inspiration, difficulty, uniqueness, and scope of work. There is only one awarded per category: Contracting, Design/Build, Maintenance and Interior.