See Which Stunning Outdoor Spaces Wowed Our Pros

Dive into the award-winning spaces our editors loved from the 2017 Ultimate Outdoor Awards.

Hundreds of the nation's top pros entered their best outdoor designs, but only 36 made the cut. We then chose our favorites from each of the six categories. Learn more about the award-winning spaces that won over our editors from the 2017 Ultimate Outdoor Awards.

Editors' Pick and Overall Winner: Water + Design

Rustic Meets Contemporary Wyoming Home and Barn

Rustic Meets Contemporary Wyoming Home and Barn

The northwestern Wyoming home and barn is dominated by jurisdictional wetlands and natural water courses, so man-made water features are a natural enhancement to the landscape. In the front, the pond butts against the foundation of the barn and family room. The water exploits the glass chinking between the logs of the barn, providing a quietly dazzling mirror image of the barn.

Photo by: Rodger Wade Photography

Rodger Wade Photography

Both our panel of expert judges and team of editors fell in love with this waterfront home where nature and architecture are perfectly in balance. Architects Tom Ward and Mitch Blake took inspiration from the surrounding aspen grove and protected wetlands when designing the home and outdoor spaces that tie the contemporary indoors to the home's rugged environment.

Open, Welcoming Porch With Stunning Wyoming Views

Open, Welcoming Porch With Stunning Wyoming Views

Nestled in a grove of aspen trees, this Wyoming home incorporates seamlessly blends with its natural surroundings. The porch is even designed around some of the aspen trees, making them a welcomed part of outdoor dining spot.

Photo by: Rodger Wade Photography

Rodger Wade Photography

An ingenuous series of sluices move water through and around the home's many decks, porches and raised walkways, contributing the calming sound of running water. The property's native aspen trees not only form the scenic backdrop, the designers also incorporated them into the decking to create a living pergola and dramatic focal point.

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Mountain Estate With Barn

Nestled at the foot of mountains in Wyoming, this property is spectacular and includes a barn, main residence, pond and graceful landscaping.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Pond and Cabin Exterior

A long, low pond borders the front of this Wyoming property. To get to the front door, residents and guests cross a dock-style walkway.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Pond, Trees and House Exterior

Meadow grasses creep right up to the edge of the pond overlooked by the house and stands of aspen trees.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Contemporary Wyoming Home in Aspen Grove

The main living area of the home is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that seamlessly blend the indoors with the out. Gorgeous views of the aspen tree grove and man-made water features, like the soothing pond, allow the home to be an integral part of its natural surroundings.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Cabin Living Room Exterior and Pond

The living room, surrounded by windows, seems to float above the pond and is treated to views of an aspen grove.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Rustic Home Nestled in Wyoming Hills

Sited in a natural clearing of a huge grove of aspen trees between the Teton Range and the Snake River in northwestern Wyoming, this home mixes natural water courses with man-made water features that highlight the landscape.

Rustic Wyoming Home Nestled in Aspen Trees

Sluiceways, reminiscent of irrigation canals, surround the open porch, channeling water from the pools next to the barn to the ponds in front of the house. The Wyoming home is built in a natural clearing of aspen trees, which are also used as part of the porch design.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Welcoming Porch to Rustic, Contemporary House

This Wyoming home sits in a natural clearing of a huge grove of aspen trees on a low lying lot situated between the Teton Range and the Snake River. A sluiceway, reminiscent of irrigation canals, brings water around the house, where an open porch is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Natural Water Features Surround Rustic, Contemporary Home

The landscape design of this Wyoming home utilizes water as the primary component in the form of a series of ponds that thread their way through the site and house floor plan. A body of water surrounds the spa and is confined on all sides by man-made edges. It is channeled into a sluiceway, reminiscent of irrigation canals, to flow around the house and recycled back to the front pond.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Rustic Wyoming Home Surrounded by Soothing Ponds

Floor-to-ceiling windows seamlessly blend the inside of this Wyoming home with its beautiful natural surroundings. Water plays a pivotal role, encompassing the home in a variety of forms. A pond reflects the contemporary, rustic home.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Rustic Meets Contemporary Wyoming Home

Situated between the Teton Range and the Snake River in northwestern Wyoming, the home is dominated by jurisdictional wetlands and natural water courses, so man-made water features are a natural enhancement to the site design. A series of ponds thread their way through this Wyoming's home site and floor plan. In the front, the water design takes on a natural pond-like form that butts against the foundation of the barn and family room.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Open, Welcoming Porch With Stunning Wyoming Views

Nestled in a grove of aspen trees, this Wyoming home incorporates seamlessly blends with its natural surroundings. The porch is even designed around some of the aspen trees, making them a welcomed part of outdoor dining spot.

Rustic Water Features Surround Wyoming Barn

A sluiceway reminiscent of irrigation canals carries water around the Wyoming home, recycling water back to the front pond or allowing it to seep back into the water table from whence it came. The rustic meets contemporary barn combines logs with glass chinking that creates a unique reflective look.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Relaxing Water Features Surround Rustic Wyoming Home

Between the contemporary meets rustic home and barn is a body of water that surrounds the spa and is confined on all sides by man-made edges. The glass chinking between the barn's logs creates a striking mirror for the reflective water.

Rustic Water Feature at Wyoming Home

Water plays a pivotal role in the landscape design of this Wyoming home. The ponds around the front of the barn are channeled into a sluiceway reminiscent of irrigation canals to be deposited into a natural-appearing body of water. The water is then recycled back to the front pond or allowed to seep back into the water table from whence it came.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Rustic Wyoming Barn With Breezeway

Situated in a natural clearing of a large grove of aspen trees, this Wyoming home's landscape design makes the most of its wetlands and natural water courses. A breezeway connects the front drive, barn and main house.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Rustic, Contemporary Barn With Glass Chinking

The man-made water features of this Wyoming home feel perfectly at home in the natural surroundings. The water surrounding the spa and outdoor living area reflects the glass chinking between the logs of the barn.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Rustic Meets Contemporary Wyoming Home and Barn

The northwestern Wyoming home and barn is dominated by jurisdictional wetlands and natural water courses, so man-made water features are a natural enhancement to the landscape. In the front, the pond butts against the foundation of the barn and family room. The water exploits the glass chinking between the logs of the barn, providing a quietly dazzling mirror image of the barn.

Rustic Wyoming Home Blends Indoors and Out

Rustic stacked stone mixes with exposed wood beams and sleek wooden columns to create a home that's rustic meets contemporary. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide the family stunning views of the natural and man-made water features, as well as the Wyoming mountains.

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Barn and House With Pond

The property offers up sweeping mountain vistas on nearly every side and includes a barn (on the left) and a main house (on the right). A pond connects the two buildings.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Cabin Entry With Covered Walkway

The path up to this cabin's front door is under a long portico, with pretty landscaped beds on either side.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Modern Cabin Foyer With Sculpture

The front door opens into this streamlined, elegant foyer with sculpture, stone floors and a vaulted wood ceiling.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Hallway and Dining Room

A long, low colorful wall makes a partial boundary down this home's dining room and kitchen, an innovative way to set up a hall without closing off the sight lines.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Rustic Living Room at Night With Stars

At night, this living room reveals a surprise: fiber optic stars that twinkle out from the ceiling.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Fireplace From Foyer

This fireplace is two-sided: One side can be seen from the foyer; the other from the living room.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Rustic, Contemporary Living Room With Tree View

The living room livens its brown palette with layers of texture: glass, stone walls, leather furniture and a fireplace.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Brown Living Room With Pond View

Walls of glass enclose this living room that keeps the decor simple: A brown leather sofa and armchairs and a muted color palette letting the views outside take center stage.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Cabin Great Room With Leather Armchairs

A pitched window perfectly frames in majestic mountain views in this cabin's great room; the room's warm wood tones are pretty foils for the blues and greens outside.

Rustic Open Kitchen With Mountain View

It's easy to whip up culinary masterpieces with a view like this to inspire you. Open shelving and wood paneling helps the kitchen feel casual and friendly.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Contemporary Dining Room With Round Table

A round table easily fits six in this cozy dining room that opens up to meadow vistas.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Rustic Game Room With Mountain View

This rustic game room keeps things interesting with a foosball and pool table and peeks out onto wraparound mountain views.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Rustic Master Bedroom With Deck

This master bedroom is as serene as can be with walls of windows and a glass door connecting the space to a scenic deck. Warm, light-colored wood paneling makes the space simple and cozy.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Master Bedroom Deck and Trees

The master bedroom has a uniquely private feel with a deck that extends off the back of the room and views out onto aspen trees.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Rustic Guest Bedroom With Aspen View

This luxurious guest bedroom pampers occupants with views of mountains, a pond and aspen tree groves.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Fire Pit and Hot Tub

When night cools things down, not to worry! There's a fire pit and a hot tub. Reclaimed wood blocks make fun, sculptural seats.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Meadow and Cabin Exterior

Feathery meadow grasses brush up against this cabin's exterior and deck, one of the ways in which the home blends gracefully with its surroundings.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Pond and Barn With Mountain View

The residence sits in a meadow surrounded by miles of land and, off in the distance, the mountains. A pond surrounds part of the house and the barn.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Exterior and Deck With Aspen Trees

Walls of windows and a wraparound deck intimately connect this home to its picturesque surroundings including groves of aspen trees.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Sluice Box and Deck View

A dreamy retreat in the mountains, this property features landscaping that seamlessly blends with meadows and aspen groves. This view shows off the home's rear deck and living room as well as the sluice box water feature.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Country Guest House Exterior and Trees

This sweet guest house is nestled among the trees with meadow views. It's a truly blissful retreat away from the fray.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Guest House and Deck

As appealing as a gingerbread house, this guest cabin peeks out from behind aspen trees. Walls of glass let its lovely surroundings be a constant part of the interior.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Path Through the Aspens

A little path winds through the long grass and aspen trees, adjacent to a pond, guest house and barn.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Walkway and Grasses

A beautiful walkway connects the guest house and barn, with graceful landscaping blending the path into its surroundings.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Path and Guest House Exterior

A pathway cuts through long grasses from the main house to the cozy guest house.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Farmhouse and Barn With Aspen Trees

On this amazing property in Wyoming's wetlands, a farmhouse and a barn are tucked gracefully amidst aspen trees and meadows.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Cabin Guest House in Woods

This charming guest house seems like it's been on the grounds forever, it fits so harmoniously with its woodsy surroundings.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Guest Cabin Exterior and Spiral Staircase

An adorable guest house peeks out from behind aspen trees on this lovely Wyoming estate. To the right, a spiral steel staircase leads to the main residence's upper floor.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Small Guest House Living Room With Leather Sofa

A petite sitting area in this guest house cozies up with a leather sofa and views of the property's pond and main residence.

Open Plan Small Kitchen and Dining Nook

This lovely guest house offers up a cozy open kitchen that connects to a colorful breakfast nook. Both spaces feature light-colored wood paneling and lots of natural light.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Guest House Interior With Aspen View

The interior of this guest house is open with a vaulted ceiling that seems to reach sky high. Large windows let the space look out onto an aspen grove.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Dining Nook With Cowgirl Art

A built-in banquette creates a cozy dining nook in one corner of the guest house. Playful artwork and bright pink and green cushions give it fun personality.

Guest Bedroom With Ladder

This guest bedroom is small, but stylish with plenty of windows and a ladder leading up to overhead storage.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Small Bathroom With Sliding Glass Door

A glass door that slides open and closed allows for the luxury of a walk-in shower in this small bathroom, without needing any additional floor space.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Guest House and Ladder to Loft

Towards the back of the guest house, there's a bedroom and (calling all kids!) a ladder that leads up to a loft hideout.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Sleeping Loft With Wood Railings

A ladder leads from the guest house's bottom floor up to this adorable loft. Wooden railings fence in the opening for added safety.

Photo By: Roger Wade Photography

Editors' Pick: Gorgeous Gardens

Covered Outdoor Lounge With Red Cushioned Chairs

Covered Outdoor Lounge With Red Cushioned Chairs

The covered lounge area includes cove lighting so that the spot can be enjoyed well into the evening. Red cushioned chairs offer a comfortable place to rest and enjoy company.

Photo by: Stephen Govel Photography

Stephen Govel Photography

Lush and lovely is how this Pennsylvania backyard grows. Hess Landscape Architects set the scene with a backdrop of mature conifers and deciduous trees for privacy, while hydrangeas and other seasonal bloomers add colorful interest.

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Stepping Stone Pathway to Renovated Barn

A stepping stone walkway provides the path to the renovated barn's entry and splits off to lead the way to the backyard pool and covered lounge area.

Photo By: Stephen Govel Photography

Wrought Iron Entry to Pool

The bespoke wrought iron fence was designed to meet pool enclosure code requirements.

Photo By: Stephen Govel Photography

Renovated Barn With Pool, Red Chaise Lounges

The barn’s paint scheme is evocative of the materials and plantings selected for the landscape. The distinctive red chaise lounges offer eye-catching contrast against the greenery surrounding the spaces.

Photo By: Stephen Govel Photography

Covered Outdoor Lounge With Red Cushioned Chairs

The covered lounge area includes cove lighting so that the spot can be enjoyed well into the evening. Red cushioned chairs offer a comfortable place to rest and enjoy company.

Photo By: Stephen Govel Photography

Private Pool With Red Cushioned Lounge Chairs

Red cushioned lounge chairs next to the pool add a pop of bold color to the outdoor design. Lush vegetation surrounds the space to bring natural beauty and give the pool area some privacy.

Photo By: Stephen Govel Photography

Pool and Outdoor Lounge at Night

A key part of the landscape architect's effort was to marry the buildings with one congruent exterior space. Smaller footpaths flank the main terrace spaces, creating a hierarchy within the circulation network, and interconnecting the different structures around the site.

Photo By: Stephen Govel Photography

Editors' Pick: Outdoor Escape

Contemporary Meets Rustic Outdoor Living Space

Contemporary Meets Rustic Outdoor Living Space

This Tuscon, Ariz., backyard and sleek swimming pool has stunning views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The outdoor dining and living areas sit under a redwood ramada, which creates an open, expansive environment while providing shade from the Arizona sun.

Photo by: Matt Vacca

Matt Vacca

This spacious backyard lounge, designed by Kathryn Prideaux, features multiple zones for entertaining family and friends. To take a break from the relentless Arizona sun, guests can shelter under the ramada, an open outdoor structure with a solid roof, or if they'd like to catch a few rays, dine under the adjacent pergola. The nearby pool beckons with a built-in hot tub and in-water lounge chairs.

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Contemporary Tucson Outdoor Space With Pool

The Tucson, Ariz., home has an amazing outdoor living space that combines the outdoor kitchen and dining room with a sleek, contemporary pool. Large square and rectangle pavers are surrounded by Bermuda grass. Bright red lounge chairs are submerged on the sundeck, creating the perfect spot to relax in the pool.

Relaxing Lounge Chairs in Southwest Pool

Ledge loungers sit in the lagoon area of the contemporary pool soaking in a view of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Contemporary Swimming Pool in Tucson, Arizona

The contemporary swimming pool overlooks the Santa Catalina Mountains. Colorful tiles bring southwestern flair to the steps up to the hot tub, while the sundecks feature submerged red lounge chairs with black-and-white umbrellas.

Contemporary Meets Rustic Outdoor Dining Room

Etched finish pavers surrounded by a pebble border define each space, the living room and dining area. Weathered redwood slats are used to create an open ramada that provides shade from the hot Tucson sun during the day.

Open, Southwestern Outdoor Living Space

Black-and-white starburst tiles create a striking, graphic look to the outdoor fireplace. Above the chunky wood mantel, a flat-screen TV is concealed behind sliding rustic doors. A comfortable sofa with bright red cushions combines with an exposed wood coffee table and deep-seated armchairs.

Southwestern Outdoor Living Space With Fireplace

Black-and-white starburst tiles create a striking, graphic look to the outdoor fireplace. Above the chunky wood mantel, a flat-screen TV is concealed behind sliding rustic doors. A comfortable sofa with bright red cushions combines with an exposed wood coffee table.

Contemporary Meets Rustic Outdoor Living Space

This Tucson, Ariz., backyard and sleek swimming pool has stunning views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The outdoor dining and living areas sit under a redwood ramada, which creates an open, expansive environment while providing shade from the Arizona sun.

Outdoor Dining Space Under Redwood Ramada

Bright turquoise chairs surround the wood-and-iron dining table to create a welcoming and open outdoor dining space. Etched-finish pavers are set in a grid and surrounded by a pebble border to define each space, while a redwood ramada provides shade overhead.

Editors' Pick: Curb Appeal

Boxwood Parterre Garden Adds Curb Appeal

Boxwood Parterre Garden Adds Curb Appeal

The foundation planting in front of the porch are gardenias which give a vibrant and fragrant show in the spring.

Photo by: Lazyeye Photography

Lazyeye Photography

Nestled in New Orleans' historic Garden District, this gem of a home is surrounded by perfectly manicured plantings. Reflecting the area's rich European influence, Mullin Landscape Associates gave the property massive curb appeal with a traditional parterre, or a formal garden consisting of symmetrical beds which are separated and connected by paths. Boxwoods create the framework, while showy annuals bring on the blooms.

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New Orleans Home With Curb Appeal

This residence is in the heart of the Garden District in New Orleans. This style is very characteristic of the city with additional design features added in for a hint of surprise. Walking down the street, this residence stands out with grandeur and beauty.

Photo By: Lazyeye Photography

Boxwood Parterre Garden Adds Curb Appeal

The foundation planting in front of the porch are gardenias which give a vibrant and fragrant show in the spring.

Photo By: Lazyeye Photography

Formal Boxwood Parterre Garden

The front yard boasts lovely curb appeal with a formal boxwood parterre garden filled with pink and white annuals. A small bird bath centers the garden design.

Photo By: Lazyeye Photography

Beautiful Boxwood Parterre Garden

This front yard features a formal boxwood parterre garden with pockets of annuals to brighten up the curb appeal of the home.

Photo By: Lazyeye Photography

Pebblestone Driveway

A traditional pebblestone driveway is the perfect complement to the landscape design of this New Orleans home.

Photo By: Lazyeye Photography

Brick Courtyard With Well-Manicured Lawn

Bushy green trees offer shade in this beautiful courtyard design, which includes a perfect green lawn lined with boxwoods and Japanese yew hedges.

Photo By: Lazyeye Photography

Courtyard Lined With Boxwoods

The lovely brick courtyard features a well-manicured lawn lined with boxwoods and evenly spaced evergreen holly trees.

Photo By: Lazyeye Photography

Editors' Pick: Outdoor Architecture

Chic Poolhouse for Entertaining

Chic Poolhouse for Entertaining

Inside, the poolhouse contains a studio apartment and bathroom/changing room.

Photo by: Westphalen Photography

Westphalen Photography

Constructed away from the main house, this rustic poolhouse and entertaining space was sited to make the most of the property's unobstructed mountain views. Landscape architects Keith Wagner and Jeffrey Hodgson kept the landscaping simple with symmetrical plantings of ornamental grasses. The low plantings not only mirror the poolhouse's streamlined aesthetic, they also don't detract from the surrounding mature trees and distant mountain views.

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View of Open Poolhouse and Swimming Pool

The pool and poolhouse is set away from the main house as a destination and its own outdoor room.

Photo By: Westphalen Photography

Poolhouse Displays Breathtaking View of Mountains

Designed by Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture, a wood-burning fireplace was cast in place of concrete with a board-form finish. Its covered position protects it from the summer winds in its Vermont setting.

Photo By: Westphalen Photography

Open Poolhouse With Mountain View

A large opening frames the view to the mountains from the arrival court at the main house. The poolhouse and pergola have one largely solid wall that lends privacy to the pool area with the exception of one large opening.

Photo By: Westphalen Photography

Contemporary Poolhouse

The poolhouse and pergola are integrated into one linear structure. Simple materials of copper siding, bluestone paving, cedar and board form concrete tie the design together.

Photo By: Westphalen Photography

Chic Poolhouse for Entertaining

Inside, the poolhouse contains a studio apartment and bathroom/changing room.

From: Wagner Hodgson and Wagner Hodgson

Photo By: Westphalen Photography

Entertainment Pergola

The large pergola provides plenty of room for entertaining. The fireplace takes the chill off of the cool summer evenings, while lighting adds drama to the space at night. The floor of the pergola is one step up from the pool deck to give it more prominence.

Photo By: Westphalen Photography

Editors' Pick: Art of Outdoor

Cozy Patio With Cushioned Seating, Fire Pit and Water Feature

Cozy Patio With Cushioned Seating, Fire Pit and Water Feature

A trio of cushioned armchairs with navy throw pillows offer a comfy place to sit by the fire pit. A stacked stone wall, lush plantings and Corten steel water feature next to the pool complete the outdoor design.

Photo by: George Dzahristos

George Dzahristos

Corten steel sculptures, that double as a water feature, add an artistic focal point to this serene outdoor lounge. Corten is a weathering steel that's corrosion-resistant and, when exposed to the elements, develops a deep rusty patina over time. So, these artful elements, designed by AguaFina Gardens International, will durably add both form and function to this backyard for many years to come.

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Cozy Patio With Cushioned Seating, Fire Pit and Water Feature

A trio of cushioned armchairs with navy throw pillows offer a comfy place to sit by the fire pit. A stacked stone wall, lush plantings and Corten steel water feature next to the pool complete the outdoor design.

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Flagstone Patio With Modern Water Feature and Pool

The existing flagstone patio receives a touch of modern design with the Corten steel water feature by the pool. A stacked stone wall with an antique gate provides entry to the stunning space.

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Corten Steel and Stone Water Feature

A beautiful corten steel water feature with geometric design flows over stone into the pool below.

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Rusted Steel Water Feature at Night

At night, landscape lighting illuminates the Corten steel water feature next to the pool.

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Corten Steel Water Feature Connected to Pool

No matter the time of the day, this stunning water feature made out of Corten steel is the focal point of this outdoor design.

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Modern Corten Steel Water Feature

Made of Corten steel, this gorgeous water feature fulfilled the client's wish to replace their leaking waterfall connected to the pool.

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Corten Steel Water Feature, Landscape Lighting

Next to the pool, a modern corten steel water features steals the show both day and night.

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Stacked Stone Wall With Antique Gate

Landscape lighting casts a dramatic shadow on the patio's gated entry at night.

Photo By: George Dzahristos

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