For over thirty years now, the Memorial Northwest Ladybugs Garden Club has been consistently judging Yard of the Month for several strong reasons.  The award promotes excellent landscaping, colorful gardening, and the subdivision’s remarkable curb appeal.  The promotion of the award has remained as steady as the purposes have remained.  Often, the Ladybugs publish in the Memorial Northwest Newsletter the special criteria for earning the Yard of the Month award. You will find those careful, longstanding guidelines listed below along with their point values.

  1. General Appearance: Grass mowed and edged, weed free, green with no brown grass: = 20 pts.
  2. Beds cleaned and edged: = 10pts.
  3. Walks, driveways, and curbs edged and swept: = 10pts.
  4. Shrubs neatly pruned: = 10pts.
  5. Color contrast: = 10 pts.
  6. General neatness: Garbage cans out of sight; no toys, bikes etc. on front lawn; hoses rolled up; air conditioners hidden by shrubs, etc.: = 20 pts.
  7. Overall landscape design in keeping with the architecture of the house: = 10 pts.
  8. The front lawn has a discernable, intentionally balanced landscape design: = 10pts.

Reminders: A yard cannot win more than once per year. A house with a “For Sale” sign is not eligible to win.  A house cannot win with a boat or R.V. in the driveway. (This is a deed restriction.  Those items have to be hidden behind a fence.)

Each judge uses this list every time she takes her turn in judging.  With about 25 women in the Garden club, you can see why each member has to take two turns in the judging of over 2000 homes in our neighborhood.  This year the Ladybugs have decided to judge the months of September, October, and November, and then the months of March, April, and May of next year.  December is in a class by itself because the club does not use these same criteria for judging the Christmas award.  As you know, the neighborhood yards are too dimly lighted to judge the grass and flower beds, so the judges for the Christmas Award are primarily looking at lights and theme decorations that the judges can see from their cars. 

Each month of the September to May Garden Club year, the members sign up for the months that they can serve as YOM judges.  This judging system insures that the same people will not do the judging every month. The system also spreads the responsibility for choices around to help eliminate any biases that could possibly exist.  The subdivision is always divided into three separate sections for judging YOM, so that no team has to judge all 2000 homes in one day. The two-member teams have five days to do the judging, starting on the first day of each month going to the fifth day, giving the ladies flexibility with their personal schedules.  On judging day, the Ladybugs teams drive down each and every street of their assigned section first selecting the strongest competitors and writing those addresses down. Then, the judges make a second sweep, comparing those three or four strong contenders more carefully.  At this time, when the selected houses are so impressive, the judges take a harder look to see if any one of the limited selections is a clear winner.  Really, when all the criteria have been met by all of the potential “winners,” the subject of “color” usually comes up.  Most often, the addition or “color” to the already excellent yards will decide the final YOM winner.

Remember, this same judging system is being used in all three sections so that each month three first-place awards are actually given, and three equally stunning yards are photographed for our MNW Newsletter.  Most of the time, the competition is severe because there are so many high quality landscaped yards in our neighborhood.  When you win this coveted award, your household is not eligible to win until one year later. This “fairness” rule has been a longstanding one in the club. The reason for it is that we want to pass the praises out to as many different homes as possible to accomplish our mission of encouragement. The whole point of Yard of the Month awarding is to compliment you for maintaining such wonderfully groomed front yards. When you win this award, you will receive a $25.00 gift card from Plants for All Seasons on Louetta.  You will also stand as a shining example to every house on your street.  By looking at your award winning yard, your neighbors will see clearly for themselves what it take to win Yard of the Month in Memorial Northwest.