May 15, 2011
Photographs are important when entering LO Awards of Excellence program
Eco Landscape Design
By Kristen McIntyre CHT
Conference and event coordinator

The new season is upon us and so is Ontario’s spring weather. As I write this (third week of April), I have watched a blinding snowstorm, the sun shine through a wind-powered rain event and an intense dispersing of hail – and that was just this afternoon!

It takes a lot of fortitude to be in this industry, and those who spend many years perfecting their craft know this weather will pass and consumers will soon be clamouring for a professional’s knowledge, time and expertise. So how can you set your company heads-above other businesses, and be the one that they call?

LO’s Awards of Excellence program provides the opportunity to showcase talent. This industry is alive with creative, skilled and enthusiastic people, and it allows us to shine a light on the best of our best. The awards are important not just for recognizing projects that stand out in quality, workmanship and design, but they also promote our industry’s high level of skill and professionalism to the public.  

LO offers several programs, including Retail Garden Centre with 14 categories, Growers with 11 categories and Construction, Maintenance and Design with an astounding 39 categories.

“Award-winning projects consistently show outstanding design sophistication and horticultural knowledge, says Denis Flanagan, Landscape Ontario’s director of public relations. “Our members continue to reach new levels of craftsmanship and the award winners consistently raise the bar for the rest of the industry. “
evergreen trees with a pond and waterfallNaturally Maintained Ltd.

Overcast day is best

Taking great photographs that showcase the true depths of your landscape takes time and practice. Did you know that most landscape photography experts say that an overcast day is prime for taking vivid landscape shots? A bright sunny day does not capture the hues and deeper shades in a landscape (often results in a washed out looking photo). Also recommended is keeping shadows in mind. They detract from your picture. And, remember to take more shots than you need, because that way you have more choices. For more tips and to learn more about how to maximize the visual potential of your own creativity and gain a greater understanding of the elements that make a powerful photograph look for information on upcoming Landscape Photography Seminars at

Winning entries are viewed each year by thousands of people — both consumers and the trade. Award-winning projects have been featured on HGTV, in Garden Inspirations magazine, dozens of newspapers and media publications, Canada Blooms and at Congress. Photographs have also been used to illustrate articles on numerous websites and in The Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen, the London Free Press, the Toronto Sun, and many more – not to mention the numerous trade publications, including Landscape Trades.  Award-winning projects and companies are also frequently profiled in Horticulture Review.  

A recognition ceremony for the garden centre and grower award winners is held during LO’s Expo trade show in October, and a ceremony with more than 600 industry professionals, media and special guests in attendance is held in January in conjunction with LO’s Congress trade show for the construction, maintenance and design programs.

So, while you’re out working this season and wonder if anyone will notice the extra hours put into re-designing end cap displays, facing the stone or re-positioning every annual and shrub exactly into place — if you submit into LO’s Awards of Excellence program, the judges will!

Best wishes to everyone for a great season, and remember to take lots of photos on your job sites and at your retail operations this summer. ‘Before’ shots really help to sell your work. Photographs from projects that have won in the past are available for viewing at

Entry online opens July 1. Deadlines for three programs are as follows: Growers, July 14 (enter at auction), Garden Centre, Aug. 15, Construction, Maintenance and Design, Oct. 3.
For more information on the Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence programs, please feel welcome to contact me directly, or visit
Kristen McIntyre may be contacted at