Years ago, my neighborhood had an ongoing "yard of the month" award, complete with a sign that declared your yard to be awesome, and, I think a gift card was thrown in as well. I wouldn't know for sure, because my yard never won. 

We tried our best, but ultimately we couldn't compete with the homeowners who had professionals fertilizing, weeding, trimming, and mowing. After a short while, the contest sort of went the way of the dodo.

While my neighborhood's contest has been relegated to the dustbin (or, yard waste bin) of history, The SwedishAmerican Foundation along with Keith Creek Neighborhood Association and Jackson Oaks Neighborhood Association are officially kicking off its Yard of the Month contest:

The Yard of the Month contest was established by the neighborhood associations to promote goodwill and reward exemplary lawn and garden care in the community. The purpose of the program is to recognize neighbors who demonstrate great efforts in maintaining their property, and thereby contributing to the overall appearance of the community at large.

It's funny how that works. As I watched some (certainly not all) of my neighbors doing their level best to win a sign and a gift card, I got into the idea of keeping my lawn at least competitive because I didn't want to have the yard that stuck out like a sore thumb amidst all those manicured ones. The net effect was that the neighborhood simply looked better, win or lose.

Go from this:

Uppercut, Getty Images

To this:

Getty Images

The SwedishAmerican Foundation's contest offers more than just a sign and gift card, too:

The Yard of the Month contest will take place every May through October. The Keith Creek & Jackson Oaks Neighborhood Associations will select one residential yard each month. The winner of Yard of the Month will be provided with a yard sign for display indicating they are the winning yard. The winner also will receive a $25 gift card to Nicholson Hardware, receive recognition in the neighborhood newsletter and also on the neighborhood association Facebook page.

For more information on SwedishAmerican's lawn contest, click here.