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Three Pillars

Beautiful Scotland is judged according to the three pillars of horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community participation, which accord with the spectrum of activity of our charity. Therefore, while shrubs, flowers and trees form an important part of a submission, so do considerations of the litter and graffiti in the area and the area’s work on sustainability issues such as planting for wildlife and recycling. This breadth helps groups to focus on general civic pride in their surroundings.

Horticultural achievement

Horticultural achievement (Section A) is worth 40% of the total judges’ marks. Judges look for achievements in the following four key areas, worth 10% each:

  1. Overall impression
  2. Maintenance of planted areas
  3. Plant selection
  4. Plant quality

Entrants should consider the following:

  • Taking account of all relevant factors, how strong is the impact of the entry in creating a memorable impression? Are the designs and materials used appropriate to their locations? Emphasis here is on coordination and overall quality.
  • Are the areas within the entry maintained to an appropriate standard, including cultivation, weeding, feeding, pruning, grass maintenance, tree management and maintenance?  
  • Are the plants used in the planting schemes suited to their growing conditions and locations and is there year-round interest, where appropriate?
  • Are the plants vibrant and grown to their full potential? Are they generally free of all pests and diseases?

Environmental responsibility

Environmental responsibility (Section B) is worth 30% of the total judges’ marks. Judges look for achievements in the following three key areas, worth 10% each:

  1. Local identity and pride of place
  2. Natural environment
  3. Environmental quality and resources

Entrants should consider the following:

  • Is there a sense of place, with appropriate acknowledgement of local heritage and its relevance for the community e.g. art in the landscape, signage and interpretation etc.? Consider the pride taken in hard landscaping (including streets), open spaces (including grass areas and beaches if appropriate), street furniture maintenance etc.
  • Is there an understanding of what biodiversity means locally e.g. regarding protection and conservation of the natural environment and wildlife habitat? Have any provisions been made e.g. wildflower areas, bat and bird boxes as well as insect hotels and, where applicable, aquatic/marine conservation sites? Has an assessment of their effectiveness been made, where possible?
  • What has been done to minimise the use of resources e.g. water, chemicals, pesticides and to implement solutions like recycling, composting etc.? To include cleanliness, absence of litter, street weeds, graffiti, vandalism, flyposting/temporary signage, chewing gum and effective dog fouling control measures.

Community participation

*Community participation (Section C) is worth 30% of the total judges’ marks. Judges look for achievements in the following three key areas, worth 10% each:

  1. Year round activity and future commitment
  2. Communication, education and awareness
  3. Support and funding

Entrants should consider the following:

  • Evidence of forward planning and year-round activities, initiatives or events. Highlighting where an entrant is adding value and demonstrating the strengths or uniqueness of the entry.
  • Use of suitable interpretation, enabling learning and a greater understanding of purpose. Engagement with schools, young people or other groups. Promotion within the immediate area through local and regional communications. Appropriate communications and media involvement evidenced.
  • Has the entry made every effort to engage the support of a wide variety of local groups and organisations? Participation should be representative of the local community. Evidence of fundraising and on-going support from a range of businesses and organisations appropriate to the size of the entry, making it viable and able to continue moving forward.

*Supporting local It’s Your Neighbourhood groups can earn entrants marks in this section.

NB: BID, Town Centre and City Centre entrants should refer to their specific mark sheet for guidance on the key areas and what to consider - this is available here.

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