Brace Yourself: The 2017 HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards are Here

Prepare to be amazed by the most beautiful landscapes in the country.

Related To:

Everyone knows that the greatest works of art (e.g., Beyonce’s Lemonade and Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange) drop overnight. Well, prepare to be in awe: while you were dreaming of warm-weather retreats, we were busy launching the 2017 Ultimate Outdoor Awards!

With thirty-six nominees in six different categories, you'll have your pick of gorgeous gardens, outdoor escapes and seaside getaways to explore and vote for. See some of our favorite competitors from the past below, and then take a look at this year's hottest contenders.

Across Pool View of Ocean and Pergola

Across Pool View of Ocean and Pergola

This outdoor space offers amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico. The long pool makes use of the narrow space, providing a water element as well as a place to cool off.

Photo by: Greg Wilson Photography

Greg Wilson Photography

We know what you're thinking: Palm trees, pool-topped breezeways and ocean views? It's no wonder why this island estate from architect David Young won the Ultimate Outdoor Awards last year. A private courtyard and deck complete the stunning visual effect. 

See More of 2016's Best Overall:

See All Photos

Front View of Home With Tropical Landscaping

Large palms dominate the landscape of this home giving it the feeling of a tropical resort.

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Walkway Under Elevated Pool Leading to Beach

This walkway features a breathtaking view of the home's elevated pool. The space's simple lines accentuate the warmth of the wood and stone, giving the walkway a welcoming feel.

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Across Pool View of Ocean and Pergola

This outdoor space offers amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico. The long pool makes use of the narrow space, providing a water element as well as a place to cool off.

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Multi-Level Terrace Enertaining Space with Pool, Pergola and Seating Areas

The multi-level terrace provides ample seating and lounge spaces surrounding a pool, spa and fountain with pergola, grill, lounge area, sleeping terrace, and seating areas.

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Tropical Home Courtyard

The home's courtyard is composed of stones surrounded by low-growing ground cover for a low-maintenance space. The large palms and various tropical plants give the space a resort feel.

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Overhead View of Courtyard and Deck to Sculling Launch

This tropical paradise is complete with a low-maintenance courtyard in easy walking distance to the property's private deck and boat launch.

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Serene Asian-Inspired Outdoor Space in New York City
Alex Herring
Asian Outdoor Space With Buddha Statue
Alex Herring

Serene Asian-Inspired Outdoor Space in New York City

A variety of paving materials, including limestone, ipe wood and blue beach stones, were used to fill the ground space in this New York City backyard, adding a sense of serenity and flow to an otherwise small and elongated area.

Asian Outdoor Space With Buddha Statue

A canopy of soothing green bamboo leaves hangs over an outdoor shower area with hardwood ipe flooring. A Buddha sculpture enhances this outdoor area's calming ambiance, creating a tranquil escape from the surrounding bustle of New York City's Soho district.

Photo By: Alex Herring

Serenity comes just as naturally to this Asian-inspired Oasis in New York City's Soho district. Here, the designers at Gunn Landscape Architecture used bamboo leaves and ipe wood to create a beautiful zen space in the middle of the Concrete Jungle.

Look Around The Lot:

See All Photos

Asian-Inspired Outdoor Area With Fireplace

This Asian-themed outdoor living area mixes simple and traditional styles with modern technology, featuring a glass-enclosed fireplace and an outdoor television. Two sofas face one another across a low coffee table among various potted plants and lantern-inspired lighting.

Children's Urban Backyard Play Area

Because New York City has fire regulations specifying the amount of SYNLawn artificial grass an occupant may use, the landscapers made an efficient choice by placing a simple children's play area atop a bed of the grassy stand-in. Children can play in this Soho backyard while adults enjoy a beautiful day outside in the pergola only a few feet away.

Photo By: Alex Herring

Serene Asian-Inspired Outdoor Space in New York City

A variety of paving materials, including limestone, ipe wood and blue beach stones, were used to fill the ground space in this New York City backyard, adding a sense of serenity and flow to an otherwise small and elongated area.

Asian Outdoor Space With Buddha Statue

A canopy of soothing green bamboo leaves hangs over an outdoor shower area with hardwood ipe flooring. A Buddha sculpture enhances this outdoor area's calming ambiance, creating a tranquil escape from the surrounding bustle of New York City's Soho district.

Photo By: Alex Herring

Modern Urban Backyard

Evergreens in custom ipe planters line this modern urban backyard and provide privacy from neighboring buildings. New York City fire code limits the amount of wood decking that can be used in terrace and roof design, so the designers turned this limitation into a design feature.

Photo By: Alex Herring

Modern Outdoor Kitchen With Grilling Station

This custom outdoor kitchen is complete with brushed stainless steel appliances, plenty of counter space and wooden cabinetry to enhance the modern atmosphere of this New York City backyard.

Photo By: Alex Herring

Walkway Lined With Large-Specimen Cactus Plants

Walkway Lined With Large-Specimen Cactus Plants

The large-specimen cacti line the walkway to the home's front entrance. The cacti add color and texture to the landscape.

Photo by: Mike Small Photography

Mike Small Photography

Landscape designer Pascale Sucato knows that paradise can be found in the desert as well. We loved how she gave this modern home major Curb Appeal with a low-water landscape layered in succulents. 

Explore The Entryway:

See All Photos

Walkway Lined With Large-Specimen Cactus Plants

The large-specimen cacti line the walkway to the home's front entrance. The cacti add color and texture to the landscape.

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Large-Specimen Cacti Support Home's Bold Architecture

Large-specimen cacti create focal areas that support the home's architecture. The plants are attractive as well as durable against frost and drought.

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Landscape Lighting in Large Cactus Garden Bed

Well-placed LED lighting brings this large cacti landscape to life. The cacti accentuates the home's architecture day and night.

Tags: 
  1. outdoor spaces

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Front Cacti Garden Bed Focal Point

The large cacti, dark granite and large boulders work together to accentuate the home's natural stone architecture.

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Large Cacti Garden Bed by Driveway

Large boulders create anchor points in this drought-tolerant landscape. The boulders provide a neutral backdrop against the exotic plants as well as add texture to the landscape.

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Large Cactus Focal Point Garden Bed and Container With Seasonal Color

Even cacti and hardy drought-resistant plants can add color to a desert landscape. The large stone container adds seasonal color and texture to the space.

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Pastoral Backyard with Stone Stairs and Walls

Pastoral Backyard with Stone Stairs and Walls

The landscape design features well-crafted elements, such as the stone paver stairs and masonry walls. The slabs of stone serve as a pathway to a fire pit and a dining area underneath an umbrella.

Photo by: 3Sixty

3Sixty

If you prefer a walk among the wildflowers, then you'll love our Gorgeous Gardens section. Last year, our editors couldn't resist this charming New England home from Clinton & Associates, which boasts a backyard full of blooming perennials.

Check Out The Grounds:

See All Photos

Old World-style Garden Design and Architecture with Stone Exterior and Perennials

Over 200 varieties of trees, shrubs and ground covers create an ever-changing palette of garden delight. Bringing the perennials and plant materials closer to the New Hampshire residence with a stone exterior embraces the natural beauty of the property.

Bucolic Outdoor Space with Masonry and Stone Pavers

Using stone pavers and extending the stone wall into the landscape helps embrace the natural beauty of the landscape.

Rustic Backyard with Fire Pit, Stone Pavers and Masonry Wall

Masonry walls and stone pavers lend a timeless feel to this expansive outdoor entertaining space. The residents and guests can gather at the round stone fire pit or in seating under the umbrella on the patio. The landscape design blends perennials and ornamental grasses.

Pastoral Backyard with Stone Stairs and Walls

The landscape design features well-crafted elements, such as the stone paver stairs and masonry walls. The slabs of stone serve as a pathway to a fire pit and a dining area underneath an umbrella.

Vibrant Perennial Garden

Over 200 varieties of trees, shrubs and ground covers means plants are in bloom no matter the season. These colorful perennials and flowering plants bring nature close to the home.

Blooming Perennial Garden with Stone Wall

A variety of perennials, flowering plants and ornamental grasses keep color in this outdoor space year-round. Planting trees just outside of the stone wall is a key element of this garden design.

Reflecting Pool and Cube In Front of Modern Oceanfront Estate

Reflecting Pool and Cube In Front of Modern Oceanfront Estate

The reflecting pool at the entrance of the estate is an attractive, tranquil water feature that matches the clean lines of the home's architecture.

Photo by: Ryan Gamma

Ryan Gamma

With floating walkways, reflecting pools and endless views of the Gulf of Mexico, water is beautifully integrated into this second home from David Young. We can't wait to see what new spaces will compete in this year's Water + Designs category — and maybe take the spot of Overall Winner.

Tour This Oceanfront Oasis:

See All Photos

Welcoming Water

The reflecting pool at the entrance of the estate is an attractive, tranquil water feature that matches the clean lines of the home's architecture.

Photo By: Ryan Gamma

Bamboo Screens

Oldhamii bamboo was selected for its height to create natural walls of privacy surrounding the estate.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Palm-Lined Entrance

Palms native to Florida welcome visitors to the estate. The trees replaced overgrown invasive species.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Parking for Plenty

A large motor court paved with shell-top concrete allows ample off-street parking when hosting guests.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Glass Threshold

An open glass cube flanked by a pair of Chinese foo dogs serves as a threshold to the home.

Tags: 
  1. outdoor spaces

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Pause for Reflection

A view of the reflecting pool from the glass cube offers a moment of solace before approaching the front door.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Indoor-Outdoor Entertaining

A glass-enclosed room makes use of what was once dead space beneath the home, which is raised on stilts to withstand aggressive storms. Easy access to outdoor gathering spaces makes for easy indoor-outdoor entertaining.

Floating Walkways

Another pool surrounds the home's exterior, and shell-top concrete pads lure guests outside.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Water Wall

The sunken spa and fire pit area is defined by a glass-clad water wall, providing a connection to the nearby ocean waters.

Tags: 
  1. outdoor spaces

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Unencumbered Views

The second-story deck features a crow's nest tower as well as ample space for lounging or entertaining. The frameless glass safety wall edging the deck is nearly imperceptible, offering unencumbered views.

Panoramic Views

The crow's nest offers panoramic views of the more than 200 feet of private Gulf of Mexico coastline enjoyed by the estate.

Photo By: Ryan Gamma

Private Spa

A private spa is tucked away to the side of the crow's nest tower, accessible most easily through the master suite.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Postcard Perfect

The natural greenery of coconut palms frame the views from the oceanfront home.

Tags: 
  1. white photos

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Swaying Palms

Palms aid in screening the estate from surrounding properties while adding a sense of movement to the landscaping. 

Photo By: Ryan Gamma

Private Entry

The owner enjoys a private driveway separate of the motor court offered to guests.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Labyrinth Garden

A tranquil labyrinth garden offers an invitation for contemplation.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Contemplation Through Movement or Rest

The labyrinth is surrounded by parsons benches, inviting contemplation through rest in addition to movement.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Private Spa Room

Overlooking the labyrinth is another glass-enclosed room, a spa featuring a sauna and space for a massage table. Outside the spa's walls, a wall of dwarf Buddha belly bamboo creates a natural privacy screen between the room and the more public areas of the property.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Sweeping Views

The back patio area enjoys sweeping views of the private coastline.

Photo By: Ryan Gamma

Night Reflections

As the house becomes illuminated in the evening hours, the angles of the home are reflected in the water garden.

Photo By: Ryan Gamma

Oceanfront Sanctuary

"The homeowner wanted to create a sanctuary that was designed specifically for the way they lived," says landscape architect David Young. "Of importance was the idea of water as connectivity of the architecture and site, privacy, minimalism and experiential components that would provide enjoyment and wonder throughout the day."

Photo By: Ryan Gamma

Storm Protection

A rock revetment protects the property from aggressive surf during storms.

Photo By: Ryan Gamma

Like what you see? Vote in the 2017 Ultimate Outdoor Awards.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Water-Focused Landscape Design Sets Private, Spiritual Tone at Beachfront Home

Award-winning landscape architect David Young uses water gardens and native plants to restore order and create serenity at an estate on the Gulf of Mexico.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts