Landscape Challenge


Before and after photos of 2013 Landscape Challenge site

Each year one lucky homeowner is chosen to receive a front yard makeover; transformation of excess turf into a native Missouri landscape.

Since 2006, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter, Grow Native!, and Shaw Nature Reserve have sponsored the Landscape Challenge, which encourages homeowners to landscape with native plants. The three sponsoring organizations collaborate to provide the services of a professional native landscape designer, up to $1,500 worth of native plants and other landscape materials, and volunteers to install the landscape. The homeowner prepares the site and agrees to maintain the new plantings.

In cooperation with St. Louis Audubon Society’s  Bring Conservation Home Program, the 2017 Landscape Challenge pool of eligible homeowners is based on participants who live within the 63105, 63117, 63124, 63132, 63143, or 63144 zip codes with a completed Bring Conservation Home survey and available report. This year’s application period is now closed. The planting date will be on Saturday, September 23.

2017 is our eleventh year of the program. It is great to think about how each of the previous winners’ yards have impacted friends and family, who impact more friends and family… how many new native gardens exist because of this program?



2011 planting day

Our landscape makeover contest was inspired by a pilot project in 2005 designed by the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Grow Native! program and the Mid-Missouri chapter of Wild Ones Natural Landscapers. They laid the organizational groundwork and coached us through the 2006 St. Louis contest. In St. Louis, the partnership consisted of Grow Native!, Wild Ones – St. Louis chapter, and Shaw Nature Reserve. Other chapters might consider partnering with a wildflower nursery, the local Sierra Club, nature study groups or similar organizations.



Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article from 2006 and watch the video we made of the 2006 challenge

The project has several steps from beginning to end:


2008 “Dirty Hands” pose

  • The geographic area and objective are defined in March, and the application window opens in April.
  • In recent years, furthering our collaborative efforts, the candidates are participants in the St. Louis Audubon Society’s Bring Conservation Home program in the defined geographic area.
  • The selection committee reviews the applications in June, and the lucky homeowner is notified toward end of June.
  • The sponsors provide the services of a professional native landscape designer who works with the homeowner on the design and plant selection in July and August.
  • The sponsors also provide up to $1,500 worth of native plants and other landscape materials, that are delivered to the site near the planting date.
  • The homeowner prepares the site in August and September, prior to the planting date.
  • In August and September, Wild Ones recruits volunteers for planting day.
  • Learn, plant, eat (we always have snacks!), and enjoy the company of other native plant enthusiasts on the planting date in September.
  • Lastly, provide support for the homeowners, particularly through the first year when there can be many questions.

Ed Schmidt presenting homeowners Nick and Donna Giunta with native landscape resources

The steps of the process are available in more detail in this document, written by Betty Struckhoff.

A HUGE thank you goes out to all of our partners, sponsors, chairs, designers, volunteers, and homeowners who make this yearly project possible!



Landscape Challenge Winners

YearLocationHomeownerChairpersonLandscape Designer
2006Webster GrovesNathan and Julie JacobsScott Woodbury
Betty Struckhoff
Simon Barker
2007North St. LouisHabitat For HumanityScott Woodbury
Betty Struckhoff
Scott Woodbury
2008South St. LouisMary LambEd SchmidtScott Woodbury
Scott and Walter Peterson
2009Richmond HeightsKevin and Melissa BaumEd SchmidtPenney Bush-Boyce
2010Creve CoeurNick and Donna GiuntaEd SchmidtJeanne Cablish
2011ChesterfieldNeil and Erica RoseEd SchmidtJeanne Cablish
2012Pasadena HillsTim and Caroline YauEd SchmidtJeanne Cablish
2013St. Louis CityDawn WeberEd SchmidtJeanne Cablish
2014KirkwoodLisa WilhelmsEd SchmidtJeanne Cablish
2015University CityTerry Egan and Rosalie UchanskiEd SchmidtJeanne Cablish
2017BrentwoodMarlene BeckerJames FaupelRobert May