This annual award program is presented by the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC) to recognize local establishments for their outstanding contributions to Richmond Highway beautification in the form of landscape improvements. This annual award was named to honor a community champion and long-serving board member, the late Mary Thonen.

While SFDC and Fairfax County have improved the highway’s center medians, it is the responsibility of the establishment owners to care for their own landscaping. Attractive landscaping serves the purpose of attracting consumers to individual establishments and betters the visual appeal of the highway as a whole.

How to Participate

Any establishment that is visible from Richmond Highway is able to participate in the competition; this includes, but is not limited to restaurants, apartment/condominium complexes, shopping centers, specialty stores, etc. Although the SFDC has already built up a robust list of participants, we may have accidentally missed a few! Please feel free to submit your establishment (or check to see if you’re already in the running) by emailing us at

Why Participate

The better question is, why not participate? By doing a bit of routine maintenance and keeping your establishment looking nice, you have the chance to be rewarded without any additional cost to you! Compete to win first place, second place, or for honorable mention and gain the valuable public exposure that comes with it. Each year, after the winners have been selected, we announce the results to the press, and then throw a big party to celebrate the competition with the community!


Who judges?

The M-CAPT (Marketing, Community Appearance, Planning, Transportation) Committee is responsible for judging the competition’s participants. The M-CAPT Committee is composed of a team of dedicated volunteers who are also members of the community. Learn more about the M-CAPT Committee here. This year SFDC is also asking the community to weigh in on the voting process.

Judging Factors:

General aesthetics of the plantings and/ or accent materials (e.g. benches, fountains, trim, etc.)

Well-maintained/ groomed throughout the year (e.g. litter monitoring, re-planting, plant trimming, etc.)