August 15, 2014
The kids will soon be back to school, and you are wrapping up last season’s unfinished projects. You probably have some really cool new projects just under your belt. It’s time to show it all off.

Until Oct. 1 at 4 p.m., landscape contractors, designers, grounds maintenance, irrigation and interior plantscape contractors may enter their work in the Awards of Excellence program.

The construction, maintenance and design program offers a whopping 43 categories for entry. The entry brochure is enclosed with this issue, or reference

Our association is thriving with resourceful, innovative and creative professionals; the awards allow us to showcase your accomplishments and artistry. It’s important to recognize projects that stand out in quality, workmanship and design, but also as examples to promote our industry’s high level of skill and professionalism to the public.  

Winning entries are viewed each year by thousands of people — both consumers and the trade. Award winning projects have been featured on HGTV, Breakfast Television, in Garden Inspiration magazine, dozens of newspapers and media publications, at Canada Blooms and LO Congress. Photographs have also been used to illustrate articles on numerous websites and in The Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, London Free Press, Toronto Sun and many more — not to mention the numerous trade publications.  

Award winning projects and companies are also frequently profiled in Landscape Ontario magazine. The ceremony announcing the winners for the construction, maintenance and design programs, with more than 600 industry professionals, media and special guests in attendance will be held Jan. 6, 2015, in conjunction with LO’s Congress trade show and conference.

You can take beautiful photos of your projects, but landscapes come with their own rules, when it comes to setting them up and photographing them. To capture a landscape properly, you need to remember several things, such as keeping shadows in mind — they detract from your picture.

Did you know most landscape photography experts say that an overcast day is prime time for taking vivid landscape shots? A bright sunny day does not capture the hues and deeper shades in a landscape, and often results in a washed out looking photo. Also remember to take more shots than you need. That way you have more to choose from. But don’t take my word for it, 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 at special photography seminar being held at the LO office on Aug. 27.

The full-day photography seminar, Capture the Moment, will help landscapers and designers capture images they will be proud to share. A great picture tells not only the story of your project, but also why your work deserves recognition.

The first part of the day will review the basic mechanics of good photography, aperture, shutter speeds and composition skills. The second part will explore the many qualities of light and how to work with natural light to highlight the garden’s best features. Illustrated with beautiful images, and packed with practical tips, you will take better pictures with your digital camera after this session. More details on the seminar are at

So remember to take lots of photos on your job sites, and that before shots really help to sell your work. Photographs from projects that have won in the past are available for viewing online.

For more information on the Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence programs please feel welcome to contact me directly, or visit