Awards Info

Open to current ACTIVE and INTERIM ACTIVE MBNLA members

The 2024 Awards of Excellence nominations are now open.

The 2024 winners will be announced at the GROW25 show, date TBD.

Showcase your favourite projects in the Installation, Maintenance and Design Awards of Excellence Program. Or, apply for the Garden Centre Award.

Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association recognizes the high standard of expertise in the landscape industry through the annual MBNLA Awards of Excellence. These prestigious awards recognize the best in creating the exceptional gardens and landscapes and honours the outstanding skill and workmanship of Manitoba’s landscape professionals.

Each year, landscape construction, maintenance and design firms submit their best projects ranging from $5,000 to more than $150,000. Additionally, the Garden Centre Award recognizes the professional work of MBNLA retail garden centre members. These projects and award submissions are evaluated against rigorous criteria by highly accredited judges selected from various sectors of the horticulture industry including municipal and public gardens, nurseries, landscape companies, landscape architect firms, educational institutions, garden communications and garden centres.


Projects must have been completed within three years of the entry deadline.


  • Less than $35,000
  • $35,000 to $100,000
  • More than $100,000


  • Less than $75,000
  • $75,000 to $150,000
  • More than $150,000


Projects must have been maintained a minimum of two years.

Private Residential

  • Single-family homes

Multi-Unit Residential

  • Condos, townhouses, apartments


  • Office buildings, shopping centres, industrial complexes, public buildings


Design only. Projects do not have to be built.

Garden Centre Award

This award has been designed to encourage participation from companies of all sizes. Entrants must provide written information and supplementary photos on the following categories:

  • Growing Teams
  • Growing Connections
  • Growing Sales
  • Growing Gardeners
  • Growing with Technology
  • Continuous Growth
  • Growing Environments

Showcase your Favorite Projects.

Be recognized by your peers. Promote your business. Inspire others.

Promote Your Work Quality

Only the best businesses can say they are award-winning! MBNLA will help back you up by promoting your projects through all electronic and print platforms.

Build Customer Relationships

Word-of-mouth advertising is the most valuable marketing tool. Your client will be thrilled you won an award for their property and will spread the word to potential clients.

Motivate Employees

Winning awards reinforces to your employees they are doing a great job and motivates them to continue to improve.

Build A Photo Library

Documenting your hard work will help you better explain the details of new jobs to prospective clients.

Recognition at MBNLA Awards Ceremony

Your company will be highlighted in front of your industry peers during the awards ceremony at our annual premiere event, The Grow Conference.


Eligibility for Installation, Maintenance, and Design

  • Entrant must be a current ACTIVE or INTERIM ACTIVE member of Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association.
  • The required fee must be included with entry.
  • Entrant and/or lead contractor must have contracted and executed 80% or more of the “dollar value” of the work.
  • Entrant may submit up to four entries per category.
  • A project may only be entered in one category per year.
  • Installation projects must have been completed not more than three years prior to the entry deadline.
  • Maintenance projects must have been maintained and under the care of the entrant for two full growing seasons prior to the entry deadline.
  • Installation projects may be later entered in the Maintenance category.
  • Design entries must be completed 100% by entrant.
  • Project site may not be the property of the entrant.
  • Projects that have previously received an award in a category may not be re-entered in the same category.
  • Note: that entries are graded against a pre-determined criteria and not other entries.
  • Note: The same company cannot submit the same property for maintenance entries more than once in 5 years.

Eligibility for Garden Centre Award

  • Entrant must be a current ACTIVE or INTERIM ACTIVE member of Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association.
  • The required fee must be included with entry.
  • Entrant may submit only one entry.
  • Note: that entries are graded against a pre-determined criteria and not other entries.
  • There are no National Level Awards for Garden Centers.

Submit your Entry in 3 Simple Steps

1. Photograph your project

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure yours tell the project’s entire story. See this link for some tips on taking great pictures.

* Please Note: No images or videos should have any components that would or could reveal the name of the company who completed the work, or any other company involved in the project.

2. Register your entry

Complete a separate registration for each entry online.

3. Submit entry description and photographs

Follow the link received in your confirmation email to complete the online project worksheet and upload photographs.

* Please Note: No images or videos should have any components that would or could reveal the name of the company who completed the work, or any other company involved in the project.


Project worksheet (sample)
Eight to 20 colour images
Six 30-second video clips are optional for provincial submissions and mandatory for National Awards submissions.


Project worksheet (sample)
Eight to 20 colour images
Six 30-second video clips are optional for provincial submissions and mandatory for National Awards submissions.


Project worksheet (sample)
Set of design plans to scale
Up to five ‘BEFORE’ photos
Two ‘AFTER photos for presentation

Garden Centre Award

Project worksheet (sample)
Weblink to company website/webpage
Up to 5 documents
Maximum of 15 images
Optional video clip


  • Entries are judged on submitted material only, no site visits are undertaken
  • Submission materials are given to members of the judging committee who review the content and photos and complete individual judging reports
  • All entries will be judged between December 1 and January 10
  • Feedback on entries is available by written request to from March 1 to April 15 only
  • Judging will be conducted by professionals in the fields of architecture, contracting, education and horticultural services
  • Each project is evaluated on individual merit, independent of other entries, regardless of size or cost
  • Top point scorer(s) may be selected by Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association for submission to the National Awards of Landscape Excellence
  • Entries are confidential
  • The decisions of the judges are final
  • Awards may not be awarded in all categories

Award of Excellence

90 to 100 points

Award of Merit

80 to 89 points


Must have been completed within THREE years of the entry deadline.

Design (35 points)

  • Overall first impression and general appearance
  • Degree of difficulty and uniqueness of situation
  • Harmony of design elements
  • Integration of hard and soft materials
  • Ecological balance between hard and soft areas
  • Inclusion of unique hardscape ornamentation features such as statuary, fountains, structures, fences, decks, gazebos or lighting (optional)

Hardscape (35 points)

  • Overall impression
  • Quality of materials used
  • Construction and installation techniques
  • Correctness of all hard surfaces, structures and design elements (wooden, natural or fabricated)
  • Compatibility with surroundings

Softscape (30 points)

  • Overall impression
  • Quality and health of plant materials used
  • Pest-free plant material
  • Cultivated, weed-free, low weed pressure planting areas
  • Unique use of plant materials
  • Installation techniques and correctness
  • Turf and/or groundcover installation techniques and correctness
  • Quality and condition of turf and/or groundcover areas


Projects must have been maintained a minimum of TWO years.

Overall Impression (20 Points)

  • Overall first impression and general appearance

Turf Areas (25 Points)

  • Overall impression
  • Free of weeds/low or acceptable weed pressure
  • Mowing, trimming and edging of turf
  • Uniform color

Softscape (40 Points)

  • Healthy plant material free of pests and disease
  • Weed-free/low weed pressure in display areas
  • Use of organic or inorganic mulch in display areas

Hardscape (15 Points)

  • Overall impression
  • Maintenance of hardscape materials and features
  • Free of debris, litter and weeds


Design only. Project does not have to be built.

Overall Impression (20 Points)

  • Unified and memorable impact with space transformed creatively
  • Clear design intent with intent of the design met
  • Design shows sensitivity to the client’s needs and lifestyle, site’s potential and environment, creative solutions to challenges demonstrated
  • Design principles are appropriately and effectively used, such as order (composition, balance and massing), unity (accent, repetition and interconnection) and rhythm (sequence, alteration, gradation/flow)

Technical Merit (30 Points)

  • Design functions well, difficult problems have been solved
  • The choice of hardscape and softscape materials and elements blend harmoniously and enhance the design
  • Project shows sensitivity to sustainable practices, such as conserve natural resources and energy, reduce waste, protect ecosystems, for the location
  • Grading and/or drainage elements are well defined

Planting Design (20 Points)

  • Appropriate selection and quantity for property size, design space light conditions and hardiness
  • Creativity is displayed in plant use and in plant placement and masses, where appropriate, masterful use and variations of texture, color, scale and form
  • Design principles are clearly displayed (unity, balance, layering, etc.)

Landscape Design (20 Points)

  • Constructions details; scale, labeling cross sections, delineations, clearly and accurately referenced, and constructability is valid and appropriate for design space
  • Accuracy and sizing of landscape design elements are appropriate in the design drawings
  • Clearly defined and delineated elements including softscape and hardscape elements, such as specimen plantings, plant masses, pathways, walls and built features (gazebos, water features, etc.)
  • Title block, legend (keys and symbols) and labeling information (north arrow) are inclusive and accurate

Garden Centre Award

Entrants must provide written information and supplementary photos on the following categories:

Growing Teams (20 Points)

  • What health and safety programs are in place for staff?
  • Highlight other training opportunities and incentives available for continued education
  • Outline your team building activities, and provide employee testimonials

Growing Gardeners (15 Points)

  • Outline in-store programs that are directed at youth and/or novice gardeners
  • Describe your stores participation in external programs and events and community partnerships

Growing Environments/Community (10 Points)

  • What in-store activities support the community and/or environment?
  • Describe participation in community projects, charitable support, and highlight any awards or recognition your garden center has received

Growing Connections (15 Points)

  • Describe owner and staff involvement in your association (at any level), and highlight and recognition received
  • What other activities do you staff participate in that demonstrate leadership, education and/or industry support?

Growing Sales (20 Points)

  • Highlight your merchandising, displays, store layout, signage, etc.
  • What promotional activities are undertaken by the company over the past 12 months?

Growing with Technology (10 Points)

  • How is your store integrating new technologies into your retail and store operations to promote employee and environmental efficiencies?
  • Are staff trained on the new technologies?

Continuous Growth (10 Points)

  • What environmental initiatives does your store support (i.e. plastic recycling/reuse)?
  • How does your store educate consumers on the benefits of plants?
  • What methods do you use to improve your business (i.e. peer groups, consultants, etc.)?

Photo Procedures and Guidelines


Choose only the best images for award submission. Photographs must be current. Multiple views within one image are not allowed. Photographs must provide a thorough view of the project. Submit eight to 20 photos. Do not change the original image size or adjust with photo-editing software. Remove distracting objects such as garden hoses, stray tools or litter before photographs are taken. Leadoff and end with beautiful “after” photographs. Entrant’s company name cannot appear in any photographs (uniforms, trucks, etc.).


JPEG files are PREFERRED – but only if saved at the lowest compression/highest quality settings. Images should be at least TWO megapixels (2000 x 1312 pixels or larger). Smaller photos will look fuzzy when viewed by the judges and at the awards ceremony. TIFF, BMP or PNG files may also be submitted. Use lossless compression when saving other bitmap formats. DO NOT submit images in PowerPoint or another presentation program.


Provide a range of images showing the scale of the project. Include up to five “before” or “in process” images as the judges need to see the final result to fairly assess the finished project. For judging and awards presentation video purposes, horizontal photographs are preferred. Vertical photographs must be severely cropped for the awards presentation. If you need to illustrate vertical scale of a project feature, use a wide angle lens while holding the camera horizontally.


All images used in the awards presentation video will be cropped to a 16 x 9 widescreen aspect ratio after judging. The entrant may pre-crop images to achieve the most pleasing aesthetic. Ensure final cropped images are a minimum of 2000 pixels wide.


Be concise with the verbiage, especially with special features, obstacles, timelines, etc. Avoid overly dramatic language. Do not use entrant’s company name in the description.


Before submitting photographs, rename image files using an abbreviated version of the project name and number them 01, 02, 03, etc., to reflect the order in which the judges should view them. Use leading zeros on single digits so the files stay in order. For example, MBNLA01, MBNLA02, MBNLA03.


All submitted materials become the sole property of Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association (MBNLA). MBNLA publishes photographs of projects in its publications and marketing/promotional materials, on its website, and sends them to the media. These photographs serve to inspire others in the lawn and landscape industry, to enhance our industry’s value and reputation, and to recognize your hard work. You will be asked to complete the photo release form during the application process.

Tips for Award Entries

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure yours tell the project’s entire story!

General Information

  • Begin and end your submittal with a “wow” photo.
  • Make a list of things to do to get the site ready for the shoot.
  • Photo document any site difficulties mentioned in the project description.
  • Make sure the job site is tidy in ‘in progress’ photos.
  • Allow a freshly completed project to mature a season or two.
  • Make sure company name and logo are NOT visible in photos.
  • Have someone proof your submittal to ensure it makes sense.

Take Great Photos

  • Use a tripod for better depth of field and composition.
  • Get down low. In most cases, a lower view looks better.
  • Squint when looking for composition to abstract your view and increase contrast.
  • Take photos right before sunrise and just after sunset for a wonderful light spectrum.
  • Take advantage of hazy or overcast days for saturated colors and elimination of shadows.
  • Take ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots from the same vantage point.
  • Include people in photos to highlight the landscape and design to demonstrate use and scale.

Prepare the Site

  • Freshly sweep, trim and mow the site.
  • Remove weeds from shrub and garden beds.
  • Sweep mulch from hard surfaces.
  • Deadhead and prune plants and trim shrubs uniformly. Remove all tags and flagging.
  • Check turf for consistent color, texture and weeds.
  • Remove visual distractions such as hoses, litter and toys.
  • If night lighting is part of the photo, ensure there is enough lighting to show the site.
  • Use props such as dishes, candles or bowls of fruit to make outdoor furniture look inviting.