Trillium Awards Program

Trillium Awards Judging Criteria

The Trillium Awards program promotes community pride by recognizing residents who by landscaping and maintaining their property, contribute to a more attractive neighbourhood and community. Not just residential properties can be awarded a Trillium Award, but commercial properties can be recognized with an Community Trillium Award.

Judging Criteria

Volunteer judges will review nominated gardens in each ward and use the following judging criteria to score them:

The judges check to see:

  • if the exterior looks inviting, welcoming and attractive
  • if the property creates a good first impression
  • if the property catches your attention immediately

Curb appeal can be accomplished a number of ways, such as:

  • exterior decorations
  • colour scheme
  • attention to landscaping

Softscape refers to the live elements including ornamental grasses, plants and shrubs. Judges will check to see if:

  • groundcover such as moss or ivy is well maintained
  • grass is mowed and edged and without brown patches (except when a water ban is in effect)

Hardscape refers to the built environment including:

  • stones
  • rocks
  • pavers
  • artificial turf
  • structures
  • water elements
  • mulches

Judges will check to see if the build environment is clean and well kept.

Judges will check to see if annuals and perennials:

  • include native species to support pollinators
  • are well maintained
  • have healthy colour and foliage
  • have been dead headed
  • are part of a colour scheme
  • are the proper size in proportion to containers and planters

Judges will check to see if trees, evergreens and shrubs are:

  • pruned
  • shaped
  • maintained (deadwood, weak, diseased or damaged branches and stems have been removed)

The judges will check to see if:

  • property is maintained
  • walkways, driveways, fences and forces are in good condition and contribute to the appearance of the property
  • landscaping is maintained and free of litter
  • elements and structures compliment the landscape and are in working order.

The judges check for:

Unity and harmony

  •   unity is achieved by repeating objects or elements that are alike; there is repetition of shrubs or a colour scheme


  • can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical

Scale and proportion

  • scale refers to the size of an object in relation to the house and property
  • proportion refers to the size of parts of the design in relation to each other and to the design as a whole

Rhythm and sequence

  • smooth blending of different elements
  • garden is one unified scene
  • property has year-round appeal

Focal area

  • plants or structural elements that accent a given area
  • can be achieved using an entryway, front door or a certain location in the garden such as a pond, fountain, arbour, birdbath, pots, rockery or stairway

These are tools used to achieve principles of design:


  • this is eye movement or flow
  • can be achieved by bed arrangement or vertical changes in heights of plants, trees or shrubs
  • can be straight or curved and free flowing


  • individual plant growth or planting arrangement in a landscape such as upright, oval, columnar, spreading or weeping


  • describes the surface quality of an object that can be seen or felt
  • can include buildings, walks, walls, ground covers and plants
  • can be fine, course, bold or medium
  • adds interest to the garden throughout the seasons


  • should be complex, personal and have a strong effect on the landscape
  • may include some flowers; however much of the colour should come from foliage
  • using green for continuity along with some colour variety in foliage adds interest
  • should direct attention to the landscape and compliment the house
  • consideration will be given to year round interest, not just to seasonal colour