Celebrating small and large, new builds and maintenance, hardscaping and design projects, landscapers of all sizes and experience levels are encouraged to nominate their best work for the upcoming Landscapes of Distinction Awards
Entries for the 2022 Landscape of Distinction Awards open 19 November and, with a closing deadline of April 2022, interested businesses have plenty of time to prepare nominations and take photos before the award ceremony in August 2022.
The upcoming Landscapes of Distinction Awards is set to be bigger than ever, following a phenomenal 50% increase in entries in 2020 – celebrated in March 2021 – with 87 different projects throwing their hats into the ring. In an industry that’s producing more impressive projects than ever before, RML CEO Janine Scott said she’s confident 2022 will attract even more entrants and set the bar higher than ever.
Feedback suggests some would-be entrants believe only bigger projects can win, but Scott is keen to spread the word that it’s not true – there are categories for most brackets.
“LOD 2022 is open to projects of all levels, and we urge landscapers working on smaller projects to put their work forward for the ‘Construction Under $100,000’ category,” said Scott.
All projects welcome
Sculptural Landscapes managing director Jon Russell said he almost didn’t enter the 2020 awards, for which his company won a gold medal in the Residential Project – Under $50,000*, because he worried it would be a waste of time. Having put in the effort, he is over the moon with the recognition.
“We were made up with the win! When we entered, we didn’t expect to get anywhere but managed to pick up gold. It’s really benefitted us as a business – we’ve actually had a few people contact us just because they’ve seen we’re
an award winner.
“Up until last year we didn’t realise that there were different awards for different scales of projects, which is a great idea as it represents the industry as a whole. It also means landscaping companies of all sizes can be involved and win – not just the ones doing multi-million-dollar projects.”
He’s also found that staff take extra pride in their work, knowing that they’ve been recognised for their excellence, and says Sculptural Landscapes will definitely be back for another crack at in 2022!
Set tongues wagging – the right way
Another gold medal winner in the ‘Residential Project – Under $50,000’ category was Weka Landscaping’s Reid Residence job. Based in Alexandra, owner Andrew Rae echoed Jon Russell’s thoughts on being named a gold medal winner.
“You definitely get name recognition after a win, and people talk. The Central Otago community is small, so if you have a good name you’re busy and if not you’re run out of town! Winning a gold medal puts our name on a much higher pedestal.”
Andrew entered after seeing similar projects perform well, and was quietly confident that his Reid Residence was up to standard.
“I thought our job was on par, if not better than, other jobs I’d seen win that category. I was proud of our work, so I was pretty keen to enter and measure it against others,” he said.
“If you’re confident with your work, then definitely enter! It’s an awesome feeling to pick up gold, because it’s so hard to reach that level.”
Andrew believes offering awards for projects of all sizes is a great way to engage the entire industry.
“It’s really good as it shows punters that whatever your budget is, you can achieve something. If a potential customer sees a business that’s won an award in their price range, they’ll probably want to work with that business.”
Preparing a winning entry
Projects will be judged across more than 15 categories in the residential, commercial and revegetation works sector.
“The LOD awards seek to recognise excellence within the landscape industry,” said Head Judge Penny Cliffin. “The judges look for the highest standard of landscape projects, whether they focus on construction, design, planting or maintenance.”
To help businesses prepare a winning entry, Scott has confirmed there will also be increased support through regional meetups and webinars.
Cliffin also provided advice on how to prepare a winning entry.
“We use an online application system, which means that only category finalist projects are visited, so thorough project documentation and photographs are extremely important. Video is also a very powerful tool to demonstrate the spatial quality of design projects.
She said that, based on the submission, judges should be able to assess the spatial and aesthetic qualities of the project, material selections, construction methods, attention to detailing and maintenance standard, as applicable to the different categories.
For the first time, students will be able to submit their work for a new design-only award. In this new category, they will be asked to prepare a design to a brief set by the judges.
Scott added that the design-only criteria – which is only open to students – was an important milestone for RML.
“A big focus for us has been to increase our support for young people developing careers in the industry, and we see this as a big step on our path to achieving that aim.”
She said there have also been some revisions to award categories and judging criteria due to the impacts of Covid-19 and a strong trend in the market for sustainable landscapes and garden practices.
As such, the ‘Revegetation’ category has been renamed ‘Environmental’, with the judging criteria covering sustainability in materials and management practises.
The project cost categories have also been revised due to the significant rise in building materials and freight costs due to Covid-19. As a result, construction categories for commercial and residential projects will now be judged in two project cost ranges: up to $100k and over $100k. Previously there were three project cost categories – up to $50k, $50-100k and over $100k.
Be in to win
New RML chairperson Janet Clarke called on landscapers to enter the awards and highlighted a number of benefits to doing so.
“The LOD awards are a great way for landscape companies to strut their stuff for the public, providing exposure and providing material for marketing campaigns,” said Clarke.
“It could also help build connections with other landscape companies and suppliers who may be interested in working with you.
“Winning awards and attending the awards evening as a team is a great way for your company, large or small, to build staff pride and morale, which is particularly valuable in these Covid times.”
Registered Master Landscapers is committed to supporting landscape professionals and young future leaders.
For more information contact CEO Janine Scott on email@example.com or phone 0275 444 090 www.masterlandscapers.org.nz