Alley Garden Award Judging

Remember that the Alley Garden Awards program is a crime prevention and environmental initiative. We appreciate elaborate gardens, but simple gardens often fit all the criteria needed to win an award. On the flip side, elaborate gardens that are not in the alley, or are accompanied by a dilapidated garage, trash, or weeds should not be awarded. 


Alley garden judging frequently asked questions

Read below to learn more about the Alley Garden Award Judging and email if you have any follow up questions.

How much time commitment is it to be a judge?

Most judges prefer to walk through the alleys 2-3 times so it can take anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on how efficient and quick at making decisions you are. Judges may also be asked to follow up and recheck properties after the judging period.

What is the best way to do the judging?

We recommend walking through the alleys once and marking down the addresses that are an absolute YES and an absolute NO, and those that are a MAYBE. Then you can gauge how many flags you will be distributing and get a better sense of which “maybes” should actually be awarded. Then walk through a second time to place your flags. This is just a suggestion so do what works best for you, but it has worked well for many past judges.

Can a business win an Alley Garden Award?

Yes! Businesses do just as much to contribute to the community to deter crime by keeping their alleyways clean and well kept. We want to recognize their efforts.

What if a garden is behind a fence?

Gardens that are behind a fence are not considered an alley garden, even if you can see through the fence. If the garden is at ground level or above a retaining wall, easily visible from the alley, it should be considered an alley garden.

Do flower pots count as gardens?

Yes, flower pots help beautify the alley too so please consider them as an alley garden, even if there is just one.

What about landscaping (bushes, rocks, grasses, etc.) without flowers?

Use your judgement on this. If the landscape is generally contributing to the beautification of the alley and looks well-kept, consider it an eligible alley garden.

Other things to keep in mind:
  • Pay attention to property lines. What may look like one property may in fact be from two different houses. Look at the full property line in the alleyway to make sure it kept up all the way across, not just by the garden.
  • Talk to neighbors while you are out judging. They will likely be out and about wondering what you are doing, so talk to them about the judging criteria, your role as a volunteer judge, and welcome them to get involved!
  • People take the Alley Garden Awards very seriously. Please use care when judging. Be sure to take a special look at the list of nominated addresses, as they will likely be looking for their award!
  • Have fun! Enjoy walking around the neighborhood and seeing the beautiful gardens we have in Mac-Grove.

Winning Addresses Form