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

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

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

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.

Editors' Pick: Outdoor Oasis

Asian-Inspired Outdoor Area With Fireplace

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.

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

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.

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.

Editors' Pick: Water, Water Everywhere

A Custom Stone Bridge Crosses Over A Naturalistic Pond

A Custom Stone Bridge Crosses Over A Naturalistic Pond

A flagstone bridge connects walkways around a natural looking pond complete with native plants. The water streams over formal masonry walls balanced with tumbled boulders, creating an engaging and eye catching water feature.

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

The lakeside setting of this Colorado garden provides a stunning backdrop for visitors to enjoy. The use of native plants throughout the garden creates a seamless integration to the landscape beyond the property.

A Wetland Inspired Landscape Frames a Grand Mansion

The natural looking features of the landscape compliment the grand presence of this transitional Colorado home. A large pond with wetland like features is completed with the use of native plants and artfully arranged boulders, helping to soften the areas between the built hardscape features.

Photo By: Steve Glass

Stone Hardscape Features Create Layers in the Landscape

Natural stone architectural features like walls, bridges and waterfalls are arranged to create layers of texture in this Colorado garden. An arched bridge leads visitors over a natural wetland inspired pond surrounded by a bounty of native plants which help to soften the stone features.

Photo By: Steve Glass

A Circular Stone Fire Pit With a Lake View

Architectural stone bridges connect to a circular patio with a wood-burning fire pit. The rough-hewn flagstone boulders are placed in an informal arrangement, complementing the natural feel of the native garden and vistas.

Photo By: Steve Glass

A Custom Stone Bridge Crosses Over A Naturalistic Pond

A flagstone bridge connects walkways around a natural looking pond complete with native plants. The water streams over formal masonry walls balanced with tumbled boulders, creating an engaging and eye catching water feature.

Photo By: Steve Glass

A Dramatic Showstopper Stone Water Feature

Water cascades down the sides of a sandstone architectural water feature, a showstopping element in this calm, native garden. The stand alone feature is built with vertical sandstone boulders, arranged in a circle within the small pond framed by smaller tumbled stones. Uplights at the base enhance the drama of the 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

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

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

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.

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

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

A light, neutral patio tone is perfect for this airy backyard balcony design. A glass wall lining the edge keeps with the open look. Plants border the perimeter adding natural color and texture. Lounge chairs facing the pool and fountain offer cozy seating.

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

A light, neutral patio tone is perfect for this airy backyard balcony design. A glass wall lining the edge keeps with the open look. Plants border the perimeter adding natural color and texture. Lounge chairs facing the pool and fountain offer cozy seating.

Outdoor Dining Area With Fireplace and Waterfall Near Swimming Pool

This outdoor patio structure features a dining space at the bar. Dark chairs line the white brick base that connects to the built-in outdoor fireplace. Above the modern fireplace, five water spouts flow into the swimming pool. A gorgeous garden adds color and life to the poolside space.

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

Brown wicker chairs are placed along a black countertop, creating a stylish yet casual outdoor dining setting. Wood tiles transition the patio to the pebbled section with natural rock water fountains. A collection of succulents adds color and texture to finish the design.

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

Fountains flow from metal cages filled with natural, neutral rocks into small concrete pools. A center cement block allows for easy passage across each pool. The rocks give the design a pleasing natural texture and zen feel.

Poolside Outdoor Fireplace With Stainless Steel Grill

The clean, sharp edges, white brick design and fire stones of this outdoor fireplace give it a fully modern appeal. The white brick wall features a built-in stainless steel grill and black countertop cook space. Landscape lighting throughout the yard extends the warm look of the firelight through the space.

Asian Rock Garden With Fountains Next to Outdoor Dining Space

A pair of fountain features flowing from natural rock casings create a beautiful transition from outdoor dining space to Asian rock garden. Pebbles cover the floor for a fun, natural texture. A cement stepping stone in the fountain pool allows for stepping over the water.

Editors' Pick: Style + Structure

Outdoor Living Space Complements the Home and Existing Landscape

Outdoor Living Space Complements the Home and Existing Landscape

This outdoor living space was designed to reflect the home's interior design. The overlapping decks provide smooth transitions throughout the space and the tiered levels create visual points of interest.

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

This outdoor living space was designed to reflect the home's interior design. The overlapping decks provide smooth transitions throughout the space and the tiered levels create visual points of interest.

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Children's Modern Play Area

The simple lines of this modern play area match the design of the overall outdoor space. The structure can be seen from throughout the outdoor living area.

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Covered Outdoor Dining Area is Perfect for Year-Round Entertaining

This outdoor living and dining space is perfect for year-round entertaining. The covered area offers protection from the elements, and the ceiling fans keep diners cool in warm weather.

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Built-in Bench Provides Extra Seating Around Fire Pit

The multi-tier design of this outdoor living space provides smooth transitions from the deck to the fire pit seating area. The built-in bench offers extra seating around the modern fire pit.

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Walkway to Play Structure at Night with Red Light

The kids will have a blast in the evenings in this play structure. The colored lights add a fun element of extra safety.

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  1. red photos

Photo By: Austin Outdoor Design

Walkway to Play Structure at Night with Blue Light

The colorful light in this children's play structure provides a fun element as well as safety for evening playtime.

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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.

2017 HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards Panel of Judges

From HGTV executives to award-winning landscape professionals, learn about this year's distinguished panel of judges that will select the Overall Winner of the 2017 HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards.

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How to Make a Space-Saving Folding Outdoor Bar

This versatile outdoor bar folds away when not in use, making it perfect for small spaces. A clever paint trick adds a fun colorful pattern that’ll punch up your decor when the bar is folded up; folded down, the bar top provides just enough work surface to mix a cocktail or serve up brunch.

Add Outdoor Living Space With a DIY Paver Patio

If your backyard is more eyesore than lush landscape, adding a DIY paver patio could be just the ticket to transform a patch of weeds into a relaxing outdoor room.

Upcycle Wood Pallets Into a Cozy Outdoor Dog Bed

Give your furry best friend a comfy outdoor nap spot using (free!) wood shipping pallets.

1950s Beach Bungalow Redesigned for Modern, Indoor-Outdoor Living

Wanting to update her ranch house while preserving its rich history, a Santa Barbara, Calif., homeowner turned to Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects to make her vision a reality. See how the architects opened the home to the outdoors without losing sight of its historic charm.

Upcycle Old Pallets Into Colorful Planter Boxes

Old wood pallets are a great (and often free!) source of weathered lumber – perfect for upcycling into a rustic planter box. Paint the slats in watery shades of blue and green for a beachy update.

Turn an Unused Fire Pit Into a Custom Game Table

Easily craft this colorful game board top to give an unused fire pit year-round functionality by turning it into an outdoor coffee table that's great for entertaining guests or family game time.  

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