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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

5 Things to Improve Curb Appeal and Increase Your Property Value

Best outdoor improvementsSo, you know you need a certain something to improve curb appeal for your home. You’re just not sure what it is.

Maybe you flip through home decor magazines for inspiration, or hit the boards on Pinterest.

Your instinct is right on.

Curb appeal is a real thing. Certain outdoor home improvements add automatic curb appeal, as well as getting you a good return on investment if you decide to sell your house.

While decorating trends come and go, certain updates endure that you will increase your property value. Let’s take a look at a few of the best outdoor improvements.


Think about the difference between a beautifully landscaped front yard and a home sporting a couple scraggly juniper bushes.

Landscaped yards have instant appeal. And they add value to your property.

A study by the University of Michigan found that consumers value a landscaped home 11.3 percent higher than the same home without good landscaping.

Plant trees to shade your yard, add oxygen to your property and save energy. Plus, they’re beautiful and stately and can offer a dazzling show of color in the fall.

Flowering shrubs soften the front edges of your home and add a burst of color when they bloom.

It’s easy to be wowed by all the fancy flowers at your local nursery or home improvement store, but don’t forget native plants. They’re gaining in popularity, and for good reasons.

Unlike many nonnative plants, native plants are hardy and less susceptible to pests and diseases. They grow well and require little care. By choosing the right native plants, you’ll likely need fewer pesticides and less water.

Here in Utah, we have plenty of beauties.

Silvery lupine has long-lasting violet flowers on a showy spike and attracts butterflies.

Desert marigold offers vivid yellow flowers and is drought tolerant. Birds love the pale tan seeds in the fall. Watch for black-throated sparrows.

Four o’clock is stunning with its large, bright pink flowers that open in late afternoon and close in the morning. Hummingbirds love them.

Water Features

best home improvement water featuresEverybody loves the soothing sound of water. A fountain, waterfall or pond can turn your yard into a sanctuary.

Stressful day? Unwind within ear shot of a trickling fountain and the worries of the day slip away.

Water also attracts wildlife. Provide a place for birds to splash the dust off their wings and savor a sip, and you get the bonus of backyard entertainment.

The great thing about fountains is they can go almost anywhere. They come in all sizes and budgets.

Nestle one into the landscaping near your front door to welcome guests with a peaceful vibe. Position one on your back patio where you unwind after a busy work day.

Fountains also look great as a focal point of your garden. A small-scale water feature can keep you company right on your deck. Ponds are a bit pickier, but still a project you can accomplish in a weekend.

When deciding on your pond placement, think about the size — you’ll need at least 40 cubic feet for your pond to keep the water clean — and where it will be visible.


pergola best home improvementsPergolas are among the most popular outdoor improvements, providing the perfect little getaway spot in your own backyard.

This popular garden structure is made of vertical posts or pillars that support crossbeams and sometimes sturdy open lattice. The pillars and beams offer a perfect place to train wisteria and grape vines that offer dappled shade overhead.

As one of the best outdoor improvements, a pergola is a great way to define an outdoor space and still offer lots of flexibility.

Add comfy furniture, an outdoor rug, some large potted plants for a privacy screen, and it becomes a cozy outdoor room, but open to the cool breeze.

Cedar is a popular material choice, because it resists decay. Leave it unfinished and let it gradually turn gray. Or, apply a stain or sealer designed for outdoor use.

As for size and style, that’s up to you. Keep it to a cozy 8 x 8 feet for romantic dinners for two or branch out to an expansive 14 x 24 feet and volunteer to host the next family reunion.

Outdoor Kitchens

The outdoor kitchen continues to be one of the best outdoor improvements.

While indoor kitchens are all about cooking, outdoor kitchens are as much about socializing.

Wine coolers, beverage stations, ice machines, plush furniture, fireplaces, beer taps, meat smokers, space heating and music systems are all heading outside as part of expansive kitchen layouts.

The latest trend in outdoor kitchens? The wood-fired pizza oven. They can be built in or freestanding, installed on top of a cart or other base.

Invite your friends for a build-your-own pizza party under the stars.

Add a cozy fireplace, and your outdoor kitchen will be the most popular space at your house.

It’s easy to get carried away by all the shiny trappings, but remember to follow the same design rule for your outdoor kitchen as designers use for indoor kitchens — think about function.

For Even Better Curb Appeal, Add Light

best outdoor improvements outdoor lightingWhen you think about the best outdoor improvements, one thing is clear: every single one of them becomes even better with artistic, professional landscape lighting.

Customized outdoor lighting can highlight the best architectural features of your home, illuminate your landscaping, cast your garden in a magical glow. Lighting adds beauty to your pool, pergola, patio and more.

A skilled combination of uplighting and downlighting brings your landscaping into magnificent view, so you can enjoy your investment of trees and native plants long into the night.

Just when you thought water features couldn’t get any more magical, you see one with professional lighting, at night.

Waterfalls sparkle. Fountains become dramatic focal points. Pond surfaces glimmer and the lights beneath the surface reflect off fish as they swim past.

Lighting an outdoor kitchen isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity.

Today’s elaborate outdoor kitchens need practical task lighting so the cook can see, as well as artistic, creative lighting that sets the mood for entertaining.

If you have a pergola, it can work hard for you right into the evening. The pillars and crossbeams of your pergola provide a great platform for a variety of pergola lighting options.

Give Us A Call

Curb appeal isn’t just for daylight hours. It’s just as important at night.

If you decide professional landscape lighting is the key to improving your home’s ROI, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our simple contact form.

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves customers throughout Utah’s residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper and Holladay. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects from Salt Lake County and Utah County, to Davis County and Summit County — and beyond.

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