Get out your garden trowels.

Reynoldsburg residents with green thumbs will have a chance to showcase their gardens and yards in the Keep Reynoldsburg Beautiful landscaping contest.

The deadline for submissions is Sept. 20.

"Keeping Reynoldsburg beautiful begins right in our own front yards," said Jamie Zawila, president of Keep Reynoldsburg Beautiful's board of directors.

"Our goal is to showcase and reward the efforts of our neighbors who make Reynoldsburg a clean and beautiful community to live in, work and play," she said.

Entrants should email a digital photo of their front yard landscaping, including the street address, by Sept. 20 to arleyowens@keepreynoldsburgbeautiful.org. Hard-copy photos may also be mailed to Arley Owens, Keep Reynoldsburg Beautiful, 7514 Slate Ridge Blvd., Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068.

The contest is open only to individual homes and properties within city limits.

Criteria include "overall eye-catching attractiveness" of a property; use of a variety of plants and flowers; use of landscaping material such as mulch, pavers, retaining walls, fountains and other items; use of native plants and flowers that attract butterflies.

Winners will be notified by Sept. 22.

Owens, the organization's executive director, said the landscaping contest is an effort to draw attention to a new program.

"We hope to launch adopt a park/spot/street program soon," he said. "We are working with Donna Bauman (director of the Reynoldsburg Parks & Recreation Department) to produce signs that remind residents and groups they can adopt a park or street or some area in Reynoldsburg to care for and keep clean."

He said his group adopted Pine Quarry Park, 8000 Kingsley Drive.

Owens was the special programs group manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources from 2005-09, coordinating the Get Green Program and energy efficiency efforts for Ohio's state parks.

"Adopt-a-park is a tried-and-tested venture," he said. "Many other communities have similar programs."

He said the landscaping contest is designed to develop community pride.

"I think this is an excellent opportunity to showcase the folks who are really taking pride in their neighborhood," he said.

The grand prize for the contest is a bed-and-breakfast stay at one of the Ohio state park lodges managed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, including Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center; Punderson State Park Lodge and Conference Center; Deer Creek State Park Lodge and Maumee Bay and Salt Fork state park lodges and conference centers.

Kerri Kaderly-Joseph, from Xanterra, said the prize includes a complimentary overnight stay for two people, with breakfast and full use of lodge facilities.

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek