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

Large Palm Trees in Front of Home

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

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 Lines with Palm Trees

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

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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People's Pick: Style + Structure

Cottage Garden Pavilion

Brick Pavilion With Wisteria Framed Peaks, Garden and Weathered Gate

The weathered-finish gate serves both an aesthetic and functional purpose to the space. It creates a dramatic focal point as well as a practical entrance for staging of events. Wisteria frames the peaks of the pavilion, giving it a storybook quality that fits well with the beautiful flower garden and the structure's cottage feel. In an effort to maintain a seamless span, the wooden beams used in the timber frame we hollowed out and reinforced with steel.

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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People's Pick: Water, Water Everywhere

A luxurious backyard with multiple entertaining areas

A Luxurious Outdoor Entertainment Paradise

This South Florida home boasts multiple outdoor entertainment areas in one cohesive design. Neutral stone pavers cover patios and walls to create a harmonious feel throughout the three distinct spaces seen here. A sunken seating area in the pool is framed by the same stone material used in the coping around the pool's edge, helping to connect and define the spaces. Rough-hewn stone veneers are carried throughout the covered lounge and kitchen areas.

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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People's Pick: Gorgeous Gardens

Aquatic plants around a pond

Aquatic Plant Surround a Wetland-Like Pond

Layers of aquatic plants surround a naturalistic wetland pond in this serene cottage garden.

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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People's Pick: Outdoor Oasis

a large lagoon like pool in a backyard

A Tropical Backyard Poolscape With Luxurious Features

The Balinese feel of this luxurious backyard is provided by the construction of a lagoon-like swimming pool surrounded by an array of tropical plants. A tan stone patio creates a neutral frame for the tropical elements to shine.

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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People's Pick: The WOW Factor

Fire Pit and Swimming Pool

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

A stone tile patio with fire pit features brown wicker chairs with bright blue cushions that complement the deep blue color of the pool. Palm trees and plants add natural color and give the yard a tropical feel.

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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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! 

Upcycle Old Pallets Into Colorful Planter Boxes

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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.

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.  

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.

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