Signs have already been made to present to winners of Northern Sunrise County’s Yard Showcase Awards.

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Northern Sunrise County will be hosting a Yard Showcase to commend home, farm, and acreage owners for taking great care of their property.

“Northern Sunrise County established the Yard Showcase Awards to promote community pride, environmental stewardship, and the creation of more vibrant and welcoming communities,” says Family and Community Support Services director Amber Houle.

“Inspired by the success of similar programs in surrounding municipalities and towns, Northern Sunrise County adopted this initiative to encourage residents to maintain and enhance their yards,” she adds.

“These programs have been highly successful elsewhere, and Northern Sunrise County aims to achieve similar positive outcomes in its community.”

Houle says the awards are meant to create a sense of pride in residents. Their goal is to commend homeowners for the time and effort put into beautifying their yards, which inevitably enhances the overall appearance of the community. This creates an attractive place to visit and live in, potentially attracting more people to move or work in the community.

“In addition to their aesthetic value, well-maintained yards often include a variety of plants, trees, and gardens that can positively impact the environment,” Houle explains.

“Gardening and yard maintenance also has positive effects on physical and mental health. By encouraging these activities, a yard showcase promotes healthier lifestyles.”

To qualify for the program, the entrant must me a resident of Northern Sunrise County and the space entered into the competition must also be in the county’s boundaries.

“We hope that the Yard Showcase will foster pride and community spirit and will encourage residents to actively participate in community beautification efforts, fostering a sense of involvement and contribution,” Houle explains.

“By recognizing and celebrating well-maintained yards, it provides a sense of pride among residents, not only in their own properties, also in their community.”

NSC Community services administration team has appointed local judges from each community within the county to participate in the selection of the winners.

Three categories for the Yard Showcase Awards include: Farmyard, Acreage Yard, and Hamlet Yard.

The Farmyard category includes properties that are primarily used for farming and agricultural purposes.

The Acreage Yard category includes properties that are larger than typical residential lots and smaller than full-scale farms.

Finally, the Hamlet Yard category is for properties located within hamlets, which typically have smaller lots and different landscaping considerations compared to rural or farming properties.

Houle says this is the first year they’ve held the competition, but they’re hoping to ensure the awards will be an annual part of council’s recognition going forward.

The deadline to register is June 28, 2024. To register call (780) 625-3287 or visit northernsunrise.net/yardshowcase to access the online registration form.

“Judges will visit each registered yard in early July and will be provided with standardized scoring sheets,” says Houle.

“Criteria for judging is based on overall design, look, use of the space, materials and accessories.”

Winners will be contacted on July 26, and will receive a yard sign acknowledging their achievement.

Winners will also be showcased on the County website, Social Media pages, and within the fall quarter of the county newsletter.