November 15, 2019
Myscha StaffordA panel of well-seasoned industry experts recently spent a few days judging over 350 entries in this year’s Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence program. With a record breaking number of entries this year, we once again asked the question, “How many winners is too many?”

When I’m showing horses, most classes have a maximum of 10 winners. If there are more than 50 showing in a class, the show will do something called a ‘California split’ where no more than 16 horses will be awarded prizes (divide the total group by two, then each group is then placed first through eighth). Now I am not saying we should only award the top eight to 10 winners in each category when there are so many more amazing projects, but perhaps there is validity to raising the bar and creating a limit to the total number of top scoring entries. As the total number of entries continues to increase, this may be something we will have to explore in the future.

For the first time this year, each entry will be judged against a scoring rubric (which is available for your reference at so that entries can be given more constructive feedback from the judges. It also acts as a point of reference for companies interested in entering the awards. So even if you don’t win, the feedback may be helpful to you and your company.

A promotional tool for your company

By entering projects into the LO awards program, you are giving your company the chance to have a unique and exclusive marketing tool. Our winners are recognized through press releases picked up by various media outlets — some even get featured on CityTV’s Breakfast Television. Winners are also showcased online and across the association’s social media platforms. The LO awards program acts as a sales and marketing tool that you can use to show potential clients the high standard of work, quality craftsmanship and attention to detail that comes from working with a professional member of Landscape Ontario.

Recognition for your staff

Entering your best projects into the LO awards program is a great way to show your staff how proud you are of their hard work. Celebrate that hard work by attending the awards ceremony with your team. Your project could even be announced as a winner and your entire team will be there to join in the excitement and celebrate a job well done. Including your staff in the event is an excellent way to foster a positive company culture.

This year, everyone who attends the awards ceremony will also receive a show program listing all award entries, rather than just the winners featured on stage. Your staff work hard and we want them to be able to celebrate their success. You will receive a complimentary ticket for each entry submitted. If you need more tickets, or want to reserve a table, visit

Thank your clients

Submitting your project for an award is a great way to thank a client for choosing you to make their project come to life. Each winning company receives a plaque with their award, and additional plaques can be ordered for your client or designer. Many LO members proudly display plaques at their place of business and property owners are equally proud to put this keepsakes on display. They are also proud of the work you do. Not only is it a great perk for your client, it’s also a nice looking advertisement.

A learning opportunity

Whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Not everyone can win, and maybe, not everyone should. If everyone received an LO Award of Excellence, we would risk the program losing credibility as a true showcase of the very best-of-the-best. Not winning doesn’t mean a project was not very well done. Use the judge’s feedback as an opportunity to learn. And, just like a horse show, while the judge’s decision can be subjective, it is final.

Follow the LO brick road to the Emerald City and join us for the 47th annual Awards of Excellence ceremony on Jan. 7, 2020. This year’s ceremony will include winners from the Garden Centre, Construction, Maintenance, and Design categories.
Myscha Stafford
LO Membership and Chapter Coordinator