See Which Spaces Won Over Our Pros From the HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards

No matter where you live, there’s no denying that warmer weather is (finally!) on its way. Here at HGTV, lengthening, sunny days put us in an outdoors frame of mind. If you’re also itchin’ to get outside but could use a little designer inspiration to whip your outdoor spaces into shape, then look no further! 

Our HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards features 36 stunning outdoor spaces, designed by the country's leading designers so selecting winners in each of the six  categories was no small feat. With so many great designs, the voting was heated — learn more about the award-winning spaces that wowed our pros.   

Editors' Pick: Gorgeous Gardens

Pastoral Backyard with Stone Stairs and Walls

Pastoral Backyard with Stone Stairs and Walls

Photo by: 3Sixty

3Sixty

Designed by landscape architect Sandra Clinton, "gorgeous" truly defines this lush garden that perfectly complements the property’s mountain locale and home’s stacked stone facade. Sandra planted more than 200 varieties of native trees, shrubs and groundcovers to create, in her words, “large sweeps of color and texture that carry your eye through the garden, and through the seasons, with continuously changing drama.”

The ever-changing planting palette wasn’t Sandra’s only addition, she also added a variety of hardscapes, from low-stone walls and paver patios to ornamental boulders and a stacked-stone fire pit. “The use of local stone helps the design blend into the mountainous backdrop and marries the garden to the natural landscape," says Sandra.

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

Bucolic Outdoor Space with Masonry and Stone Pavers

Rustic Backyard with Fire Pit, Stone Pavers and Masonry Wall

Pastoral Backyard with Stone Stairs and Walls

Vibrant Perennial Garden

Blooming Perennial Garden with Stone Wall

Editors' Pick: Outdoor Oasis

Asian-Inspired Outdoor Area With Fireplace

Asian-Inspired Outdoor Area With Fireplace

Photo by: Alex Herring

Alex Herring

Designers Alec Gunn and Aaron McIntire didn’t let a small amount of space limit their imagination when designing this New York City rooftop garden. They put every square foot to work creating a luxurious urban oasis that includes, in their words, “multiple outdoor living rooms complete with a fireplace, hot tub, comfortable furniture and shade cover.” But what really caught our editors’ eyes is the designers’ attention to detail; Alec and Aaron added a tall juniper hedge to the roof’s perimeter for privacy, then filled every available space with fun and functionality.

Adjacent to the outdoor seating area is a kids’ play fort, along an exterior wall is a slim outdoor kitchen and everywhere are thoughtful touches, like weathered copper end caps on the pergola beams and the homeowner’s own collection of antique Buddha sculptures placed dramatically as garden focal points.

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Asian-Inspired Outdoor Area With Fireplace

Children's Urban Backyard Play Area

Photo By: Alex Herring

Serene Asian-Inspired Outdoor Space in New York City

Asian Outdoor Space With Buddha Statue

Photo By: Alex Herring

Modern Urban Backyard

Modern Outdoor Kitchen With Grilling Station

Editors' Pick: Water, Water Everywhere

A Custom Stone Bridge Crosses Over A Naturalistic Pond

A Custom Stone Bridge Crosses Over A Naturalistic Pond

Photo by: Steve Glass

Steve Glass

Overlooking a large lake, these lush grounds not only feature sweeping water views but also include several thousand square feet of water elements, adding a sense of movement to the garden’s design. From a waterfall composed of stacked boulders — that looks as if it were crafted by nature — to a pond surrounded by native grasses, water influences every aspect of Tim Lindgren’s award-winning design. But the sense of movement isn’t the only role water plays. “No matter where you are on this property, you’re able to hear or see water. Our design moves massive amounts of water through the site to create amazing sound," says Tim.

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A Native Landscape With a Stunning Vista

A Wetland Inspired Landscape Frames a Grand Mansion

Photo By: Steve Glass

Stone Hardscape Features Create Layers in the Landscape

Photo By: Steve Glass

A Circular Stone Fire Pit With a Lake View

Photo By: Steve Glass

A Custom Stone Bridge Crosses Over A Naturalistic Pond

Photo By: Steve Glass

A Dramatic Showstopper Stone Water Feature

Photo By: Steve Glass

Editors' Pick: Love at First Sight

Large-Specimen Cacti Support Home's Bold Architecture

Large-Specimen Cacti Support Home's Bold Architecture

Photo by: Mike Small Photography

Mike Small Photography

One of the few submissions featuring xeriscaping, or landscaping that requires little or no irrigation, this stunning Southwestern front yard wowed our editors, taking the win in the curb appeal category. Designer Pascale Sucato skillfully combined mounded earth, large boulders and mature cacti to create a sculptural garden that can survive the desert’s harsh conditions.

“All the natural elements played a role in this design: extreme heat, freezing temps and wildlife all needed to be considered," says Pascale. "Rabbits, gophers and javelina would feast on young plants so plants large enough to deter hungry animals was a must. Young plants are tender, juicy and inviting while larger specimens are tougher to eat. Plus, installing larger plants adds the look of a mature landscape instantly.”  

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Walkway Lined With Large-Specimen Cactus Plants

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Large-Specimen Cacti Support Home's Bold Architecture

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Landscape Lighting in Large Cactus Garden Bed

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Front Cacti Garden Bed Focal Point

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Large Cacti Garden Bed by Driveway

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Large Cactus Focal Point Garden Bed and Container With Seasonal Color

Photo By: Mike Small Photography

Editors' Pick: The WOW Factor

Plant-Bordered Swimming Pool With Neutral Lounge Chairs and Fire Pit

Plant-Bordered Swimming Pool With Neutral Lounge Chairs and Fire Pit

Photo by: Warwick P Hunt

Warwick P Hunt

Landscape designer Warwick Hunt makes sweeping views of the rugged California countryside part of the plan in this resort-like backyard that includes a modern pass-through fireplace, dual water features and a Zen garden. With plenty of wow-worthy features included, it’s no wonder that Warwick’s design was our editors’ top pick. But what really sets the space apart are the industrial-style gabions or steel mesh cages filled with stones.

“The gabion walls surrounding the Zen garden really appeal to people," Warwick notes. "They have a great natural and slightly industrial feel while still being soft. We created water spills from each end of the walls to add a soothing feel and melodic sound to the space.”

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Plant-Bordered Swimming Pool With Neutral Lounge Chairs and Fire Pit

Outdoor Dining Area With Fireplace and Waterfall Near Swimming Pool

Succulent Garden Surrounding Wood Patio With Brown Wicker Chairs at Outdoor Dining Bar

Two Double-Sided Water Fountains Flow From Natural Rock Cages Into Concrete Pools

Poolside Outdoor Fireplace With Stainless Steel Grill

Asian Rock Garden With Fountains Next to Outdoor Dining Space

Editors' Pick: Style + Structure

Outdoor Living Space Complements the Home and Existing Landscape

Outdoor Living Space Complements the Home and Existing Landscape

Photo by: Austin Outdoor Design

Austin Outdoor Design

Designed to accommodate playtime for both kids and adults, this multi-functional backyard features designated areas for food prep, dining, conversation and lounging. Plus, it's one of the coolest kids' play areas we've seen. Illuminated with red or blue lights, the play structure is thoroughly modern in style, making it a good match for the rest of the backyard’s streamlined design.

Ensuring that the design flowed from one element to the next was important for Jose, as was preserving the existing mature trees. “The large oaks are a key part of the design. We embraced and accentuated them by making them focal points in the design that also help in defining space," says Jose.

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Outdoor Living Space Complements the Home and Existing Landscape

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Children's Modern Play Area

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Covered Outdoor Dining Area is Perfect for Year-Round Entertaining

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Built-in Bench Provides Extra Seating Around Fire Pit

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Walkway to Play Structure at Night with Red Light

Tags: 
  1. red photos

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Walkway to Play Structure at Night with Blue Light

Tags: 
  1. blue photos

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Next Up

You Voted, Now Meet Your Winning Picks From the HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards

Hundreds of the nation's leading designers and architects submitted their best work for our first HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards. From gorgeous gardens to fabulously appointed front yards, our competition showcased the best of the best, all vying for your vote.

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