Nominated books are judged not just on writing, but on overall quality including art (photography, illustration, and/or graphics), design, and quality of production. Up to five books will be chosen to receive the award each year. Publishers may nominate as many candidates as they wish, as long as they meet the following requirements:
- Book must be published in the current year.
- Publisher must be based in North America.
- Books must be original editions or have been significantly revised and updated.
- Book authors must either reside principally in North America or their work must demonstrate familiarity with, and sensitivity to, gardening conditions, plant choices, and design aesthetics relevant to American gardeners.