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.

HGTV fans cast thousands of votes and chose the following designers as the cream of the crop. Take a peek at their breathtaking photos and learn more about their award-winning designs.

Judges' Choice Overall Winner + People's Pick: Love at First Sight

Front View of Home With Tropical Landscaping

Front View of Home With Tropical Landscaping

Photo by: Greg Wilson Photography

Greg Wilson Photography

David Young's breathtaking design topped all other contenders, in part thanks to his use of lush, native tropical plants and his skillful approach to enhancing the home's architecture with the surrounding landscape. David suggests, "For an outdoor space to be successful, consider the scale, micro-climate, functionality and use while providing good visual interest with easy or direct access from the interior spaces."

Across Pool View of Ocean and Pergola

Across Pool View of Ocean and Pergola

Photo by: Greg Wilson Photography

Greg Wilson Photography

His design does all this and more, lending the property a resort-like feel that not only ties the home’s exterior spaces to the interiors but also highlights the oceanfront locale. He notes, "This design honors the site's beach-side setting with many native tropical species including seagrape, sea oats and Buccaneer and Sabal palms. Native tillandsia, or air plants, add life and soften the entry stairs while local limestone was mined and cut to specification for use in the motor court and entry walls."

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Front View of Home With Tropical Landscaping

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Walkway Under Elevated Pool Leading to Beach

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Across Pool View of Ocean and Pergola

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

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

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Tropical Home Courtyard

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Overhead View of Courtyard and Deck to Sculling Launch

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

People's Pick: Style + Structure

Brick Pavilion With Wisteria Framed Peaks, Garden and Weathered Gate

Brick Pavilion With Wisteria Framed Peaks, Garden and Weathered Gate

Photo by: Kenny Collins, The Collins Group, Inc.

Kenny Collins, The Collins Group, Inc.

Sweeping the outdoor architecture category are Kenny Collins and J. Dabney Peoples with their storybook-style backyard pavilion that's perfectly in step with the lush garden surrounds. Designed to add outdoor entertaining space to a historic Southern home, the designers wisely chose materials that feel as if they’ve been there all along.

In their words, they "add to the property's timeless quality. Since [our] design was an addition to the existing property, we wanted to give the impression of an aged structure. Slate, granite, copper and hand-hewn timber all contribute to this effect." But, don’t let the pavilion’s fantasy look fool you; the structure is wired for the 21st century with bluetooth speakers, overhead fans and a refrigerated wine bar.

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Brick Pavilion With Wisteria Framed Peaks, Garden and Weathered Gate

Gorgeous Brick Pavilion and Water Feature in Sunny Garden With Wisteria and Iron Decor

Photo By: Kenny Collins, The Collins Group, Inc.

Wisteria Framed Garden Pavilion With Lantern Lights Mounted on Brick Columns and Wrought Iron Chairs

Photo By: Kenny Collins, The Collins Group, Inc.

Red Brick Pavilion With Slate Roof, Gravel Walkway and Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture

Whimsical Garden With Brick Water Fountain Structure, Gravel and Concrete Yard Frame and Black Wrought Iron Seating

Photo By: Kenny Collins, The Collins Group, Inc.

Distressed Wooden Garden Gate on Decorative Red Brick Columns With Large Mounted Lanterns

Photo By: Kenny Collins, The Collins Group, Inc.

People's Pick: Water, Water Everywhere

A Luxurious Outdoor Entertainment Paradise

A Luxurious Outdoor Entertainment Paradise

Photo by: Joe Traina

Joe Traina

It's no wonder that this resort-style backyard getaway by Ryan Hughes made a splash with HGTV fans. With a circular seating area and fire pit sunken within the pool, Ryan's design is certainly a showstopper. But what really sets it apart is how the design brings indoor comforts out. Wrapping around the pool are a series of shady rooms for dining, TV viewing or gaming and food prep.

Ryan says, "The dining and lounging areas include interior-style seating options with fabrics fit for an indoor kitchen. Even the hearth area includes a modern gas fireplace that would provide a cozy gathering spot within any interior family room.”

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A Backyard Oasis Bursting with Elements for Entertaining

A Serene Poolscape With Multiple Focal Points

A Tropical Pool Space With Unique Features For Entertaining

A Dramatic Sunken Fire Pit Area in the Middle of a Pool

A Luxurious Outdoor Entertainment Paradise

A Corner Hot Tub Invites You to Relax

People's Pick: Gorgeous Gardens

Aquatic Plant Surround a Wetland-Like Pond

Aquatic Plant Surround a Wetland-Like Pond

Photo by: Andrew Grossman

Andrew Grossman

Lush and lovely are how this cottage-style garden grows. Designer Andrew Grossman enhanced the property’s natural setting with densely planted beds and a pond that blends so seamlessly into the natural environment that it looks as if it's always been there.

"The effect is so convincing that visitors are surprised to discover that the pond is man-made," says Andrew. To maximize the garden’s cottage-style charm, Andrew went big with the beds. He suggests, "In general I find that beds, particularly those that frame a home's foundation, are too small in relation to the size of the house and surrounding lawn areas. For this property, I ensured that the proportion of the beds, walkways and lawn areas enhance the feeling of spaciousness. Although the property is only one acre, it feels like a much larger space."

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A Formal Cottage Garden with Gazebo

Aquatic Plant Surround a Wetland-Like Pond

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

Cottage Garden Pond Framed by Lilacs

Formal Cottage Garden with Metal Gazebo

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

A Gravel Pathway Through a Formal Cottage Garden

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

A Formal Cottage Garden to Frame the Cape-Style House

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

People's Pick: Outdoor Oasis

A Tropical Backyard Poolscape With Luxurious Features

A Tropical Backyard Poolscape With Luxurious Features

Photo by: Darren Edwards

Darren Edwards

Taking the win in the Outdoor Oasis category is designer Dan Ramos who turned a San Diego backyard into a luxurious, tropical hideaway complete with a stacked stone waterfall, swim-in cave and custom stone waterslide. But the real cherry on top is the thatch-roofed lumbung, constructed by Balinese craftsmen to Dan’s exacting specifications, the cabana features a Merbau wood frame and seems to float above the lagoon-like pool. Says Dan, “The lumbung makes a statement and takes the design to a whole new dimension.” 

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A Tropical Backyard Poolscape With Luxurious Features

An Outdoor tropical Balinese Cabana Floats Over a Lagoon-Like Swimming Pool

A Balinese Lumbung Pool Shelter

Outdoor Pillows Create the Prefect Outdoor Lounge Area

An Inviting Tropical Stone Waterslide

A Backyard Tropical Pool Waterfall

People's Pick: The WOW Factor

Stone Tile Fire Pit Patio Above Luxurious Swimming Pool and Tropical Landscaped Yard

Stone Tile Fire Pit Patio Above Luxurious Swimming Pool and Tropical Landscaped Yard

Photo by: Nick Martin

Nick Martin

Landscape architect Nick Martin pulls out all the stops in this tropical getaway that features an infinty-edge pool accented by both fire bowls and a waterfall. A nearby fire pit offers a cozy spot to lounge on cool nights, while a 90-foot-long waterslide really takes this backyard design from a serene oasis to a fantasy playground.

Nick explains, "The biggest challenge was the waterslide which had to be fabricated in Tennessee then shipped to California for assembly. The process involved a structural engineering team to ensure the slide would be properly constructed on raised pier footings while still accommodating a lush tropical garden below." Overall, the design fits the homeowner's desire for an elegant entertaining space while still encouraging in Nick's words, "a sense of fun and adventure for all."

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Luxurious Tropical Swimming Pool With In-Pool Tile, Water Features and Palm Trees

Gorgeous View of Tropical Landscaping and Levels of Hardscaping in Luxury Backyard With Swimming Pool and Fire Pit

Stone Tile Fire Pit Patio Above Luxurious Swimming Pool and Tropical Landscaped Yard

Tropical Home Exterior WIth Textured Stone, Lavish Swimming Pool and Palm Trees

Swimming Pool With Hardscape Levels, Waterfall Features and Striped Lounge Chairs

Tropical Pool Deck With Stone Fire Pit, Unique Wicker Chairs With Blue Cushions and Scenic View

Next Up

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! 

Give an Outdoor Pouf an Easy Beachy Update

Easily give a plain-Jane outdoor ottoman a beachy upgrade with a nautically inspired stencil and exterior paint.

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.

Upcycle Wood Pallets Into a Cozy Outdoor Dog Bed

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

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 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.  

Jazz Up a Plain Tablecloth With a Colorful No-Sew Patchwork Detail

Time to spice up that boring, bland dining space? Easily turn assorted patches of colorful, patterned fabric into a vibrant Moroccan-inspired tablecloth that’s no-sew, so anyone can make it.

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