Gasp-Worthy Gardens and Outdoor Spaces

Nature can be an amazing backdrop for great landscape design. Check out these outdoor designs, featured in previous awards, that will take your breath away.

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April 06, 2018

Photo By: Chris & Cami Photography, LLC

Photo By: Mark Scott Associates - French Provence

Photo By: Jerry Finley Photography

Photo By: Morgan Howarth Photography

Photo By: Chris & Cami Photography, LLC

Photo By: Mark Scott Associates - French Provence

Photo By: Chris & Cami Photography, LLC

Photo By: Marion Brenner

Photo By: Andre Baranowski

Photo By: Jack Coyier Photography, Lisa Romerein Photography

Photo By: Chris Gilliland

Photo By: Morgan Howarth Photography

Photo By: Martin Mann

Photo By: Chris Gilliland

Photo By: Jerry Finley Photography

Photo By: Marion Brenner

Photo By: Andre Baranowski

Photo By: Morgan Howarth Photography

Photo By: Lepere Studio

Photo By: Steve Silverman Imaging

Photo By: Donald Pell and Keith Gibilante

Photo By: Juxtapose Design Build

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Photo By: Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Photo By: Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, a member of Luxury Portfolio International; Damon Moss Photography

Photo By: John R. Wood Properties, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Photo By: Rick Meinzer

Photo By: Mark Pinkerton, vi360

Photo By: Matt Vacca

Photo By: Judy Davis

Photo By: Shelley Metcalf

Photo By: Steve Glass

Photo By: Steve Glass

Photo By: Nick Martin

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

Photo By: Joe Traina

Photo By: Ciro Coelho Photography

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Photo By: Mary Andrulaitis

Photo By: Ciro Coelho Photography

Photo By: Joe Fletcher

Photo By: Paul Steimer

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

Photo By: LGB Interiors

Photo By: Joe Fletcher Photography

Photo By: Darren Edwards

Photo By: Steve Glass

Photo By: Steve Silverman Imaging

Photo By: Warwick P Hunt

Photo By: 3Sixty

Photo By: Mark Scott

Photo By: Ciro Coelho Photography

Photo By: Lepere Studio

Photo By: Tamara Alvarez

Photo By: Michael Saunders & Company, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Photo By: Greg Wilson Photography

Photo By: George Dzahristos

Photo By: Tamara Alvarez

Photo By: Matt Vacca

Photo By: Rodger Wade Photography

Photo By: Westphalen Photography

Photo By: Jason Oleniczak

Photo By: Lepere Studio

Photo By: Mark Pinkerton, vi360

Photo By: Matt Vacca

Photo By: Harold Leidner Company Landscape Architects

Photo By: Bullis Photography

Photo By: Steve Thompson

Charming Courtyard in Charleston, S.C.

Anyone who's strolled down the streets of historic Charleston, S.C., knows that behind every gate or wall lies a picture-perfect garden. These matte black doors are no exception, marking the entrance to a charming courtyard on lower King Street.

Tranquil, Tropical Garden

Entering this tranquil garden is like stumbling upon another world, as busy streets give way to towering palm trees and flowering bushes. A paver walkway winds gently through the space, and so sets an easy-going tone that will carry throughout the property.

French Provence Home With Private Fireplace and Patio

Another wonderful feature of this French-themed home is a private patio area and fireplace that appears separate from its main gathering space. One can relax, take a breather or even meditate in this small, out-of-the-way area that is as beautifully apportioned as the rest of the home. Mark Scott and Associates designed the landscaping with a more secluded space in mind.

Pavilion Encourages Quiet Reflection

Made from northern white-cedar and bamboo, this quiet pavilion beautifully complements its woodland surroundings. A small reflecting pond and lush vegetation all around ensure that the owners will want to sit and enjoy this space for hours.

Fairytale Garden Includes Koi Pond

Rich green plants and an abundance of koi fish prove that life thrives in this fairytale garden. Thanks to broad windows against the back of the house, the owners can enjoy the view from inside as well.

Courtyard Makes Room for Parking

When the courtyard isn't being used as an entertaining space, the owners and their guests can park their cars right on the bluestone. The gate closes, too, for additional privacy.

Path Leads to Secluded Sitting Area

When the owners need a little peace and quiet, they can simply follow the stone path to a secluded sitting area. With trees and plants all around, this space is perfect for reading or reflecting.

French-Inspired Home With Rustic Pergola and Stone Walkway

Designers at Mark Scott and Associates created a special area adjacent to the house and swimming pool featuring a rustic pergola and greenery that harmonize with the outdoor scene, yet add dimension and texture with their presence. A stone walkway leads from the backyard to a dining table and grill for easy access.

Antique Gates Allude to City's History

To further evoke Charleston's rich history and charm, the Carolina Landscape team hung iron gates along the garden wall. Greenery enhance's the vignette's beauty.

Handcrafted Fence With Bronze Hardware

Even the fencing is extraordinary -- all Brazilian handcrafted hardwood with bronze detailing. No matter which side of the garden they stand on, guests will enjoy views of the wood, stone paths and ornamental grasses.

Formal Garden Inspires Thoughts of France

Well-defined walkways, topiaries, hedges and flowers transform this beautiful backyard into a formal garden. As the guests stroll along the gravel path, they'll surely feel like they're visiting Versailles or another European palace.

Views of Santa Monica Mountains

Clusters of kangaroo paw plants and ornamental grasses fill the garden with seasonal colors. Thanks to their short stature, these plants also allow the owners to enjoy views of the Santa Monica mountains. Credits: Architecture: John Corry; Landscape Contractor: Steven Z. Volski + Associates

Sunsets Over Pacific Ocean

Somehow, those rolling hills become even more beautiful at Golden Hour. After enjoying dinner and a quick dip in the pool, the owners can take their drinks to the lower terrace and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Pavilion Features Outdoor Dining + Kitchen

A smooth stone walkway guides visitors over a bridge and towards a pavilion. Here, a dining table and custom kitchen give the owners room to entertain, while a fireplace allows for enjoying the outdoors year-round.

Brick Trim, Pavers Create Cohesion

Though this outdoor living room is brand new, brick columns and trim help it feel cohesive with the existing landscape. Brick pavers complement the design and cut through a lush little garden.

Walkway Leads to Private Patio

A stone walkway wraps around the side of the house, guiding visitors to a private patio and infinity-edge pool out back. Ornamental grasses and other native plants ensure that the journey is as gorgeous as the destination.

Bridge Guides Visitors Over Water

To enter the pavilion, guests first need to cross a wooden footbridge over a meandering stream. With boulders and plants on either side, this vignette sets a soothing tone for the rest of the garden.

Tranquil Garden With Japanese Maple Trees

A wall of Devonshire limestone encloses the garden, emulating the shape of a traditional Tansu chest. The treasure within is just as extraordinary, with sculpted pine trees, rare Japanese Maples and a hedge of weeping cherries enlivening the landscape.

Topiaries, Hedges Radiate From Center of Garden

Even at a distance, guests can appreciate the regal nature of this formal garden and see how its different hedges and topiaries radiate from the center. Clusters of lavender decorate the setting for additional color and texture.

Waterfall Surrounded By Vibrant Flowers

Wanting to make full use of the lot's natural slope, the landscape architects created a custom waterfall that flows right into the koi pond. Flowers color the setting and make it feel even more enchanting.

Cedar Hot Tub With Beautiful Ocean Views

The cedar hot tub is tucked into the hillside, surrounded by field stone walls and a cozy flagstone patio. Restrained plantings take their cue from the stunning natural setting. Sweeps of native grasses and succulents dot the garden; olive trees provide structure and shade.

Entry Garden with Island Patio

A traditional Balinese garden features a patio designed to feel like an island. This garden design juxtaposes strict formal lines and shapes with free-form movement and informality.

Beautiful Meadow With Lush, Green Grass

Bright green grasses and purple perennials encircle a well-maintained lawn with two Adirondack chairs for lounging and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Front Entrance to Beautifully Landscaped Home

The front yard of this contemporary lakeside home features a beautiful, symmetrical design with concrete retaining walls, a gravel walkway and green shrubs filling the landscape with natural color.

Koi Pond Surrounded by Antique Pavers

The semi-radius stone work above the pond picks up on an architectural element found in another part of the home’s garden. Water is heard as it gently pours from a hand-chiseled stone rill into an elongated pool. Filled with koi and water lilies in bloom, the water reflects the sky above, surrounding trees and plants.

Tropical Stone Patio With Salt Water Pool and Waterfall

Step out onto this stone patio and kick back in one of the lounge chairs lining the home's 50-foot salt water pool and waterfall grotto. Just beyond the pool area lies a variety of tropical foliage and flowering plants, while off in the distance is a panoramic view of the mountains framing Hawaii's Hanalei Bay.

Infinity Pool Overlooking Kauai's Kalihiwai Bay

Spectacular waterfront views can be enjoyed from all angles of the deck. From this vantage point, the infinity edge of the pool almost juts into Kalihiwai Bay. For the more adventurous, a footpath meanders from the home down the bluff to the lower tier of the property where a stream and waterfall await.

Luxury Pool at Night With Walkway

This private pool has the luxurious feel and striking design of a pool at a grand resort, with its unusual layout, floating paver walkways and infinity hot tub.

Rustic, Imaginative Kid's Playhouse With Water Wheel

A gorgeous playhouse complete with a water wheel enhances the northern side of the landscape while screening the neighbors' house. The sound generated by the water cascading off the water wheel is soothing and accents the private setting.

Backyard Mediterranean Backyard at Night

Gorgeous established trees surround this Mediterranean backyard to provide shade and privacy. Terracotta roof tiles mix with a stucco exterior and wood-framed windows and French doors for an Old World-inspired home.

Relaxing Lounge Chairs in Southwest Pool

Ledge Loungers sit the lagoon area of the contemporary pool soaking in the Santa Catalina Mountain view.

Manmade Stream

Hidden in a wooded area, overgrown trees and underbrush were brought to life by intertwining 360 linear feet of a manmade stream.

A Swimming Pool Reflects the Vibrant Energy of A Subtle Courtyard Feature

A minimalist covered courtyard lounge reveals its intensely colorful interior when it's reflected by the swimming pool beneath it, revealing the warm glow of a lantern candelabra and a central fireplace otherwise contained by the room's pillared archway. In the background, a palm tree reveals a resemblance to the archway's textured pillars, demonstrating how the garden's topiary features carry through the property's architecture.

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.

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.

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

Pool and landscape lighting give a luxurious glow to this tropical swimming pool design. The deep blue of the pool pops against the neutral tones in the landscaping. Small tile structures in the pool support water features, giving the pool a feel of motion. Palm trees complete the oasis vibe and add color to the space.

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.

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

This South Florida home boasts a unique outdoor entertaining space highlighted by a sunken circular fire pit in the swimming pool. The space features ample cushions for relaxing as well as a bespoke lighting arrangement in the seating area and swimming pool.

Gorgeous Lap Pool With Underwater Lights and Rows of Fountain Jets

The beautiful wood folly is the focal point at one end of the pool, with rows of fountain jets arching over the pool leading to it. The fountains create calming white noise to ensure this garden-framed pool oasis is completely relaxing. The evening setting allows the underwater lights and pergola lighting to shine in the garden.

Asian Garden With Fountain and Gravel

A rectangular fountain brings energy and soothing sound to this serene Asian-inspired garden. The surrounding area is a mix of lawn and gravel beds, a visually compelling blend of textures.

Swimming Pool With Waterfall

Native plants were used throughout the multi-level landscaping, helping the home blend in more naturally with its surrounding environment. Here, the gorgeous pool gets even more decadent with a waterfall.

Long Lap Pool Surrounded by Lush Tropical Garden

A long lap pool stretches through this yard and is bordered by a lush mix of tropical trees, shrubs and flowers. The gorgeous garden reflects in the pool's water. At the end of the pool, a relaxing seating area is perfect for enjoying the atmosphere and enjoying the sunshine.

Stunning Modern Home With Sleek Infinity Pool

Sleek lines and sharp angles pair with glass walls and a flat roof for an ultra-modern exterior design. An infinity pool with equally sleek lines completes the stunning look.

Walkway and Yard in Prairie Setting

Sweeping prairie vistas surround this home on all sides, meshing beautifully with the thoughtful landscaping and outdoor patios and walkways.

Cottage Garden Pond Framed by Lilacs

A naturalistic pond is planted with aquatic plants to give the property an authentic cottage garden feel

Party-Ready Backyard With Grouped Seating

Festive lighting and ample seating make this traditional backyard pool a fantastic spot to entertain. Seating is grouped into zones for conversation, dining and poolside lounging. Ample terraces connect the indoor and outdoor spaces and give the home great views of its retreat-like backyard.

Sleek and Bold Modern Outdoor Space.

Clean, sharp lines and bold, geometric shapes create this modern outdoor space. A concrete walkway leads down to a patio with outdoor seating that boasts a sleek, modern arbor.

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

A traditional Balinese Lumbung is well-lit against a backdrop of tropical plants as it seems to float over the lagoon-like swimming pool. The design of the hut was specified by the clients who wanted to imbue a strong tropical vibe into their backyard poolscape.

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.

Pool and Outdoor Space with Lighting

Lighting can make a huge difference to the look of an outside space. Bistro lights in the oak tree, illuminated containers and landscape lights help create a romantic and fun atmosphere. The pergola was designed to have decorative privacy screens in between the posts and is lit with decorative sconces.

Modern Zen Garden with Water Feature

Large stones serve as restful art in this modern, zen backyard. A classic rock garden features rows of succulents, while subtle lighting accents the wood garden wall and water feature. A shaded seating area rests nearby.

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.

Beautiful Mediterranean Home With Ivy Facade

A paver driveway and walkway blend into one cohesive design that goes perfectly with the home's Mediterranean style facade.

Stone Patio With Pool, Lounge Chairs and Gazebo at Twilight

Blue evening light accentuates the blue of the swimming pool in this stylish backyard. Warm light from the gazebo catches the eye. White cushions on the wood lounge chairs add touches of bright color in the cool setting.

Rustic, Cozy Fire Pit With California Coast View

This small weekend retreat on the flank of the rolling grassy coastal plain in Hollister Ranch, near Gaviota, Calif., looks out on breathtaking panoramic views of ocean and foothills. The flagstone and gravel patio leads to a cozy fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs.

Tropical Landscape Design with a Water Feature, Bridge and Hut

The designer wanted to create specific rooms for the family to enjoy throughout their garden. The tiki hut became a tropical outdoor dining area with a dining table and chairs from Janus et Cie. The client also requested two more elements: a water feature and a bridge, which features oolite and coral stone.

Dreamy Pond at Sarasota Home With Assorted Trees

A serene pond reflects the natural beauty at this Sarasota home. Assorted trees bring a variety of green hues and life to the gorgeous yard. The white home peaks through the greenery across the water.

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.

Corten Steel and Stone Water Feature

A beautiful corten steel water feature with geometric design flows over stone into the pool below.

Outdoor Waterfront Sanctuary

The lanai is designed to be a relaxing retreat and a place for the homeowners to get out of the hot Florida Keys sun while enjoying the view of their infinity edge swimming pool and ocean.

Contemporary Outdoor Space Perfect for Entertaining

The mirror surface of the pool reflects the ambiance of an evening under the open ramada. The sleek fire pit is surrounded by modern armchairs, while a geometric light fixture hangs over the natural wood dining table and chairs.

Contemporary Wyoming Home in Aspen Grove

The main living area of the home is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that seamlessly blend the indoors with the out. Gorgeous views of the aspen tree grove and man-made water features, like the soothing pond, allow the home to be an integral part of its natural surroundings.

View of Open Poolhouse and Swimming Pool

The pool and poolhouse is set away from the main house as a destination and its own outdoor room.

Lower Sitting Area and Koi Pond

The client wanted to incorporate the feel of an Italian grotto fountain into the design. In this location, Harold Leidner Landscape Architects was able to take advantage of the natural grade change of the site and the finished grade of the house. The difference between these two grades allowed for a retaining wall to become the fountain wall.

Cedar Hot Tub With Beautiful Ocean Views

The cedar hot tub is tucked into the hillside, surrounded by field stone walls and a cozy flagstone patio. Restrained plantings take their cue from the stunning natural setting. Sweeps of native grasses and succulents dot the garden; olive trees provide structure and shade.

Mediterranean Backyard is Open and Welcoming

Hardscaping and landscaping blend seamlessly in this Mediterranean-inspired backyard. Soft walkways lead to a brick patio under the Old World pergola. A traditional tiered water fountain is an elegant focal point.

Open, Southwestern Outdoor Living Space

Black-and-white starburst tiles create a striking, graphic look to the outdoor fireplace. Above the chunky wood mantel, a flat-screen TV is concealed behind sliding rustic doors. A comfortable sofa with bright red cushions combines with an exposed wood coffee table and deep-seated armchairs.

Night Shot of Pool and Spa From Upper Patio

LED lighting in the pool and spa in addition to subtle landscape lighting help illuminate the luxurious outdoor space at night.

Globe-Shaped Water Feature Next to Infinity Pool

The main focus of the design was the infinity pool. It was positioned so the infinity edge faces the largest view of the lake. The designer created a large, lounging patio for big parties as well as a lower patio for drinks and cigars. The unique water feature with plants breaks up and softens the extensive hardscaping.

Sleek Back Patio With Stunning Rainfall Water Feature

Enjoy a dip in the refreshing lap pool or lounge around and take in the beautiful views this back patio has to offer. A trickling rainfall water feature streams into the pool, adding a relaxing element to the outdoor space.

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