7 Smart Outdoor Home Improvement Projects That Up Your Curb Appeal

outdoor home improvement projects

Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report measures which home improvement projects retain the best value over time.

The 2020 Cost vs. Value report determined that nine of the top ten renovation projects that delivered the highest value returns were outdoor home improvement projects.

Homeowners want their houses and property to be something they can show off and be proud of. Investing in the right outdoor home improvement projects can turn an average-looking house and property into something special that can make your home really stand out in the neighbourhood.

Boosting curb appeal doesn’t just have aesthetic benefits, however. Investing in your home’s exterior appearance also enhances your comfort level and adds value to your home that can be recouped to varying degrees whenever you move.

7 smart outdoor home improvement projects

Curb appeal isn’t restricted to only your home’s street-facing features, either. Sprucing up the backyard is also important and we’re seeing more interest in this area of home improvement.

It pays to do your homework about which outdoor home improvement projects pay off and which ones don’t.

Adding a pool, for example, might provide you and your family with many hours of enjoyment for as long as you own your house. Unfortunately, pools have a notoriously lousy return on investment (typically in the 40-50% range). The vast majority of anyone buying a home views pools as the least appealing outdoor feature for a house.

Which outdoor home improvement projects are considered the smartest picks if you want to invest in your curb appeal and retain a higher amount of your remodeling investment?

Here are seven worthwhile projects that will refresh the exterior appearance of your house and add value to your home.

1. A new roof

As you can see from the Remodeling Impact Report infographic below from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a new roof provides an outstanding return on investment.

home improvement projects infographic

A roof upgrade has a huge impact on curb appeal and provides a great return on investment. (Source: The National Association of Realtors)

Not only is redoing a roof a wise investment and great for curb appeal, but it also ranks very high when it comes to the satisfaction of consumers with their outdoor home improvement projects.

The NAR’s “Joy Score” measures the happiness of homeowners with their renovations on a scale of 1-10 and a new roof gets a score of 9.2.

Giving your roof a facelift isn’t cheap, so it tends to be one of those outdoor home improvement projects that get put off for as long as possible. The lifespan of asphalt roofing shingles in Canada ranges anywhere from 15-30 years, depending on the quality of the shingles.

However, waiting to replace your shingles isn’t the kind of thing you want to procrastinate on for too long, as anyone who has dealt with a leaky roof can attest. Even if a roof isn’t leaking, missing and faded shingles, along with other types of roof damage, can present your house in a poor light.

Performing annual roof inspections yourself can mitigate unexpected roofing issues in the future. Look for wind damage that may have caused some shingles to get ripped off or loosened, curled shingles, an excess of missing granules on the surface of shingles, and damage from hail. Ensure your downspouts and gutters are regularly cleaned, as clogs can potentially cause roof damage.

If you can afford it, a roof upgrade project also presents a good opportunity to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency and value. A study by Zillow (a leading real estate and rental digital company) found that homes with solar panels sold for more than homes without solar energy systems.

Some people don’t care for the aesthetics of roof solar panels, which Tesla has addressed with its Solar Roof system. It replaces the large, shiny, and futuristic look of traditional roof solar panels with much smaller high-efficiency solar panels that replicate the look of a traditional shingled roof.

2. Front door replacement

One of the more cost-effective outdoor home improvement projects worth doing is replacing your front entry door. A stylish and modern front door creates a strong first impression to anyone entering your home.

A professionally installed new front door typically falls in the $1,000-$5,000 range. Larger doors that have high-end hardware and include more intricate glass designs will naturally increase the price of the project.

New front doors provide a solid return on investment of around 70-75%. On the most recent Remodeling Impact Report, homeowners who had gotten recent fibreglass and steel front door replacements rated their project a 9.7 on the Joy Score scale.

Steel and fibreglass exterior entry doors are popular with homeowners nowadays because they cost less than most wood doors. Unlike wood doors, steel and fibreglass also requires little to no maintenance.

In addition to aesthetics, one of the reasons given by homeowners for a steel or fibreglass exterior door replacement was energy efficiency considerations. Homeowners also cited security concerns as a reason for getting a modern door that was sturdier than their old door.

If your budget doesn’t allow for getting a new front door, even sprucing up your existing door is beneficial to your home’s appearance.

A fresh coat of paint or stain for your door and upgrading hardware features like the lock, knob, handle, and knocker can make an old front door look brand new. You can also update the door by adding a smart lock system.

3. Adding an outdoor kitchen

outdoor kitchen on patio

Kitchen remodels are consistently one of the most popular home improvement projects. The American Institute of Architects’ recent Home Design Trends Survey is taking this concept to a whole new level.

45% of the 500 members of residential architecture firms surveyed predict that outdoor kitchen additions will become the most popular type of home improvement project in the kitchen category in the coming years.

Adding an outdoor kitchen gives Canadians who are looking to maximize their time outdoors when the weather is nice with another option when it comes to cooking at home. And when we say “option”, we’re not just talking about using a single grill with a side burner.

Outdoor kitchens are capable of truly bringing the indoors outside, implementing many of the amenities and features of a traditional kitchen into an outdoor cooking space.

A professional outdoor kitchen design company like Outdoor Kitchens & Cabinetry can create a cooking space that is fit for a gourmet cook.

From design to installation, we take care of everything for your outdoor cooking space. Our outdoor kitchens have a sophisticated, high-end look and are designed to incorporate all of the features your cooking needs require. This includes:

A creative and thoughtful touch like adding a nearby garden (or a vertical garden that’s actually right in the kitchen) with fresh herbs and veggies for your meals is also an option for an outdoor kitchen.

4. Adding an outdoor living space

To complement an exterior cooking area, adding an outdoor living space can really help you get the most out of your backyard and connect more with the great outdoors.

An outdoor living room with plenty of comfortable seating and an area for dining al fresco extends your home’s living space.

Backyard living spaces also create an ideal space for entertaining during the warmer months of the year. These attractive benefits are why many buyers of new luxury homes consider an outdoor living room a must-have feature.

Outdoor living spaces can be designed to accommodate all types of budgets and sizes of backyards. A simple design for a small patio or a larger, more lavish outdoor living space design will improve your comfort level while at home.

A talented designer will ensure your outdoor living space and outdoor kitchen blend seamlessly with your existing home’s style and décor.

A few extra amenities worth considering for an outdoor living space are:

  • an outdoor fire pit or fireplace
  • a pergola or retractable awning for sun and rain protection, as well as for privacy
  • an outdoor audio system
  • lighting upgrades for more ambiance and functionality
  • a weatherproof/outdoor TV

5. Home siding or stone veneer upgrade

Appearance-conscious homeowners should consider a siding replacement if their home’s siding has seen better days.

This home improvement project can greatly impact your curb appeal. Compared to siding products from 20-30 years ago, modern siding is a lot more durable, is easier to maintain, and gives you a lot more design options with a variety of profiles and colours.

While the return on investment for vinyl and fibre cement siding is in the 65-75% range, a siding replacement left homeowners who undertook the project very satisfied with a 9.3 Joy Score.

For a different look that stands out from the long horizontal panels used for siding on most homes, you could choose textured shake siding made from engineered wood.

Another visually impressive alternative is to add a stone veneer to your home’s exterior for a distinct, natural look. While it’s not cheap, adding a manufactured stone veneer to your home had one of the highest returns on investment in the latest Cost vs. Value report at 96%.

6. New garage doors

outdoor home improvement projects garage doors

One of the home’s major focal points is the garage doors, which can account for as much as a third of a house’s front exterior. It’s a simple fact that attractive garage doors and strong curb appeal go hand in hand.

While the approximate returns on investment for various renovation projects can vary from year to year depending on trends, new garage doors are as rock-solid an investment as it gets in home improvement for the amount recouped. Year after year, they stay in the 85-95% range for return on investment.

Like front doors, garage doors offer a wealth of styles and customization options nowadays to effectively complement a house’s exterior, in addition to improving the energy efficiency of homes.

An aluminum capping upgrade is a rather underappreciated way to add to a home’s exterior visual appeal, too. Most people aren’t familiar with what aluminum capping is. It involves wrapping a garage doorframe in aluminum sheeting that is colour-matched to the garage doors and home exterior, which gives a house a clean, more finished look.

7. Upgrading or adding a deck or patio

Decks ranked number one among the features wanted most by homebuyers, according to the Homeowners’ Most Wanted survey from Porch, an online home improvement resource.

Their return on investment is in the 70-75% range, with wood decks recouping slightly more than decks made from composite materials.

It’s no surprise that a deck or patio upgrade or addition is usually one of the most popular outdoor home improvement projects in Canada during the spring and summer.

These areas are the foundation of a backyard cooking and living space. Whether you’re working on a tan, cooking for your family or guests, or just relaxing with friends, there’s a real value in having a spacious, comfortable area at the ready in your backyard.

If you already have a wood deck, giving it a little TLC every few years by spending a weekend restaining it can give this part of your home a beneficial refresh. Deck stain applications will last for about five years.

Get started on your outdoor home improvement projects!

Which outdoor home improvement projects are on your to-do list this spring and summer?

If an outdoor cooking and living space is something you’ve always wanted, make this the year your dream becomes a reality.

Request a consultation with Outdoor Kitchens & Cabinetry to start planning your outdoor project now so you’ll be able to maximize the use of your outdoor kitchen and living space this summer.

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5 Reasons a Pro Should Install Your Landscape Lighting and Audio

There are plenty of home improvement projects that are suited to a DIY approach, but many projects are best left to the professionals.

Complex jobs like replacing electrical wiring, plumbing fixes, roofing upgrades, or a room remodel are no place for anyone who can’t tell the difference between a wrench and some pliers.

Installing landscape lighting and audio is another type of home upgrade project that is smarter to leave for a pro instead of attempting to do yourself.

outdoor lighting and audio

A landscape lighting and audio project needs a pro’s touch

If you’re planning to improve an existing outdoor cooking area or add an outdoor kitchen, making landscape lighting and audio upgrades to the areas surrounding this space is important.

These two additions will enhance your outdoor living space with extra functionality and boost your backyard curb appeal.

You’ll want to ensure the project gets done properly, on time, and with products that will last. Most of us don’t have the time or patience to contend with the headaches a project of this nature can present to an inexperienced DIYer.

Therefore, the wise choice is to hire a professional for the job. Here are five reasons to hire an expert for your landscape lighting and audio installation.

1. They’ll use high-quality landscape lighting and audio products

There are many outdoor audio and lighting products of a higher quality on the market that are only available to professionals and not the general public.

Outdoor Kitchens & Cabinetry is proud to be a certified supplier of Coastal Source products. These high-end components are vastly superior to the products available in your local home improvement store.

Coastal Source products are designed to withstand temperature changes, moisture, and basically any type of weather conditions. In our challenging Canadian weather, that kind of durability ensures greater reliability and less maintenance for your lighting and audio products.

Cheaper models of outdoor speakers produce lacklustre sound and limited functionality. Premium audio products with high-performance sound and modern features that conveniently allow you to control the audio system with a mobile device will make your outdoor living experience that much more enjoyable.

High-quality LED outdoor lighting products also typically come with a better warranty and are more energy-efficient than cheaper lighting products.

2. Design and installation experience matter

Experienced lighting and audio professionals have a deep understanding of the art and science of installing these features on your property.

They know what works, what doesn’t work, and how to achieve the look you want for your outdoor kitchen and entertaining space.

The installation process will be completed seamlessly and with care, so as not to disturb your home’s existing style and outdoor décor.

outdoor kitchen toronto

3. The results will be more satisfying

Choosing a pro to handle a landscape lighting and audio installation gives a home a higher-end, more professional look that’s more satisfying than if you attempted the job yourself.

You’ll see results that you never imagined, such as how the architectural accents of your home are now more noticeable at night.

Both the audio and lighting systems will be inconspicuous and blend effortlessly into the surroundings of your outdoor living space.

Setting up an outdoor audio system isn’t as simple as placing many speakers simply anywhere. A pro will know the perfect locations to place the speakers and properly balance them for an optimal listening experience.

4. You’ll save money in the long run

Even though you might not think hiring a professional will save you money, it will in the long run.

When you buy landscape lighting and audio products online or from a big-box store, the quality of the products is typically inferior to what a professional would use.

Chances are, you will have to replace low-quality lighting and audio fixtures more often than fixtures and components of a higher quality.

DIY installation mistakes due to inexperience can also necessitate getting a pro out to your house to fix a poorly executed outdoor lighting and audio project.

An expert can help you avoid those costly mistakes.

backyard lighting and audio

5. Add to your home’s value

Professionally installed audio and lighting will significantly add to the outdoor aesthetics of your house at night, which can increase the value of your home.

When your home is properly lit and complemented by an outdoor sound system that has been professionally installed and optimized for your outdoor living space, you will boost your home’s backyard curb appeal.

Let us handle your landscape lighting and audio project

Outdoor Kitchens & Cabinetry don’t just design and professionally install outdoor kitchens.

We are a full-service company that can create the ultimate outdoor living space, including installing landscape lighting and audio systems to complement your outdoor cooking area.

Request a design consultation with us to take advantage of what an experienced pro brings to your outdoor home upgrade experience.

Your outdoor paradise awaits!

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7 Outdoor Kitchen Trends That Will Transform Your Outdoor Living Space In 2020

Grilling and outdoor entertaining go hand in hand, with the experience moving well beyond how things used to be with a backyard get together.

Remember when an outdoor cooking area consisted of a standalone basic barbecue and a small rickety side table overloaded with meats, condiments, grilling tools, and the chef’s open beer?

Your guests might dine at a picnic table in need of a new coat of paint and relax in uncomfortable folding or Muskoka chairs.

That has now given way to decidedly more upscale outdoor cooking and entertaining spaces and experiences.

outdoor kitchen trends toronto

Outdoor kitchens are the most popular kitchen upgrade project

Forbes recently wrote that “outdoor kitchens and living areas are trending strongly and richly, with more enhancements than ever before”. Google “outdoor kitchen trends” and you’ll be met with 163,00,000 returned results.

The American Institute of Architects’ recent Home Design Trends Survey provides further evidence of the growing popularity of outdoor kitchen additions among homeowners and design professionals.

500 members of residential architecture firms were asked about their predictions for home design trends.

45% of the surveyed architects forecast that outdoor kitchens would be the most popular kitchen product and feature in the coming years.

7 outdoor kitchen trends and essential design features

The more sophisticated designs of modern interior kitchens are being utilized in the outdoor space, whether it’s a smaller setup in the corner of a deck or a larger, more elaborate outdoor cooking and entertaining area. Outdoor kitchens typically range from 100 to 400 square feet.

We took a look online at what real estate and home design professionals are projecting to be the hot outdoor kitchen trends, as well as what essential features they believe should be included in any outdoor living space that a homeowner wants to stand out.

With the right design and luxurious amenities, you just might find that your outdoor kitchen and lounging area even displaces the living room as your home’s go-to social hub!

1. A versatile, premium grill that’s built to last

The grill is an outdoor kitchen’s centrepiece, so choosing a high-quality cooking appliance worthy of a professional chef is essential for any upscale exterior kitchen.

Premium grill brands like Alfresco, Coyote, Lynx, and DCS make fine-tuned products that are far superior to even the highest-end grill models you’ll find in your local big-box store.

It starts with the construction. Any grill needs to be able to withstand the rigours of Canadian weather, even if an outdoor kitchen and the grill itself are covered up during the winter.

Premium propane and natural gas grills use high-quality stainless steel and construction materials to ensure long-lasting durability and reliable performance.

Grills with expansive cooking surfaces and handy extras like a smoking box, rotisserie, warming and grilling racks, a warming drawer, and side burners are a must-have for anyone who takes their barbecuing seriously.

Today’s luxury grills also come with some very swanky features that would have seemed unimaginable back in the days when grease-caked charcoal grills were the standard tool for barbecuing. Here are a few examples of some premium grill features:

  • integrated illumination with backlit control knobs, interior lighting, and halogen surface lights
  • advanced electro-mechanical valves to automatically maintain the preset surface temperature
  • smart controls that respond to voice commands or a smart device
  • a heat-treated hood assist system that makes opening the grill hood almost effortless

Another of the growing outdoor kitchen trends includes incorporating a built-in grill into the kitchen’s design, as opposed to having a standalone grill. This saves space, looks professional and elegant, and makes for a more efficient workspace.

2. Stylish, yet durable built-in cabinetry

You can’t call a space a kitchen without cabinetry. Naturally, an outdoor kitchen requires a special type of cabinetry.

It must be durable enough to handle being outdoors, while still maintaining the exterior cooking space’s stylish aesthetic. It needs to maximize your storage space as well.

Stainless steel is the material of choice for custom and semi-custom built-in cabinet systems used in the majority of outdoor kitchens.

Brands like Brown Jordan and Danver are made with commercial-grade stainless steel for superior durability. Powder-coated finishes ensure the cabinets stay rust-free for many years.

Stainless steel cabinets have a sleek look that can be customized to match your style preferences and to conform with your grill system and other outdoor kitchen features.

Another weatherproof cabinet option is a hi-density resin cabinet system, such as what NatureKast offers. Their cabinets replicate the texture and natural colour of real wood remarkably well.

Marine-grade aluminum kitchen cabinets are also engineered to withstand harsh weather and climates. Quebec’s Urban Bonfire is one of the leading manufacturers of this type of outdoor cabinet.

outdoor kitchen with grill and grey cabinets

Danver cabinets were used for this outdoor kitchen.

3. A resilient outdoor kitchen countertop

An outdoor kitchen countertop has three main functions. It has to:

  • have a resilient surface that can handle the requirements for a food prep area
  • be engineered for long-lasting structural and aesthetic integrity in an outdoor environment
  • visually complement the kitchen’s other stylish features

Some of the more common types of countertop materials include marble, granite, porcelain, soapstone, and concrete.

One of the outdoor kitchen trends we’re seeing more with countertops is to use surfaces made with sintering technology. This high-tech manufacturing process produces extremely durable surfaces that are highly customizable.

Any higher quality outdoor kitchen countertop will be non-porous and provide strong resistance to abrasions, stains, chemicals, and ultraviolet light (which will prevent the surface’s colour from fading over time).

4. An efficient, full-service food prep area

A well-designed outdoor kitchen should include a full-service food prep area. A practical layout for everything facilitates an efficient workflow.

The need for good lighting and an ample amount of counter space are a given.

Having all the amenities you’ll need to handle all of your food prep within easy reach is helpful, too. With so much to do getting your guest’s meals ready, there’s no time to waste shuttling in and out of the house to retrieve a needed item!

There are a full complement of interior kitchen amenities that can be added to an outdoor kitchen. Here are a few examples:

  • faucet and sink
  • built-in countertop side burners, flat top grill, and fryer
  • outdoor pizza oven and countertop oven
  • built-in countertop steam table
  • pullout electric warming drawer
  • refrigeration and ice-making appliances

5. Plenty of refrigeration

Let’s look a little closer at refrigeration in an outdoor kitchen. After all, ice and keeping things cool go hand in hand with cooking and lounging outside when the weather warms up.

Ensuring an outdoor kitchen is fully equipped to take care of both the host’s and guest’s refrigeration needs is the ultimate in convenience for an outdoor entertaining space.

Once again, having enough refrigeration in your outdoor cooking area saves you from making trips to your indoor fridge or freezer to restock on meats.

It saves guests from needing to make trips inside to get a fresh cold drink. You also won’t have to keep coolers or tubs of ice filled with bottled beverages scattered around your outdoor entertaining area.

There is no shortage of outdoor kitchen refrigeration options available. Top outdoor appliance brands like Alfresco and Lynx offer under-grill refrigerators, wine fridges, built-in under-counter fridges, and professional fridge/freezer combos.

How about adding an outdoor ice machine? Lynx has an energy-efficient luxury appliance that can produce almost 40 pounds of ice and provides audible alerts and programmed cleaning reminders.

6. Décor that coordinates with your home’s interior

The attention you pay to the design and décor of an indoor living space should extend to the outdoor living space as well.

The modern trend of “style continuity” in the home (where there’s a natural decorative flow from room to room) drives another of the outdoor kitchen trends gaining traction with designers.

More and more, the décor of outdoor kitchens installed on decks or patios is coordinated to align with and complement the style of the interior kitchen or the closest room to the outdoor kitchen.

Decorative flair can also be added to the already-impressive looks of a premium grill, cabinet system, and countertop in the form of cabinet backsplashes and decorative moulding elements.

7. Add-on features that elevate your outdoor living experience

We’ve covered a lot, but there’s still more you can do to elevate your outdoor living experience. Some add-on features and design elements to consider are:

  • an outdoor fireplace or fire pit
  • a TV mounted in your cabinetry
  • an integrated sound system with hidden speakers and wiring
  • high-end outdoor furniture
  • landscape lighting to boost the ambiance in your outdoor lounge area
  • a herb garden close to the food prep area
  • an outdoor kitchen island that has multiple uses as a supplementary food prep area, extra storage space, and as a flat surface for guests to use

Start adopting these outdoor kitchen trends for your cooking space

All of these outdoor kitchen trends and essential features will contribute immensely to the enjoyment of any outdoor cooking and entertaining space.

If you’re planning to upgrade or add an outdoor kitchen in your home, request a design consultation with Outdoor Kitchens & Cabinetry today.

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Coastal Source-Certified Dealer for Outdoor Lighting and Audio

Coastal Source creates high-quality lighting and audio products that are designed to last and defy the elements. Their products are radically different from mass-produced products that typically fail over time.

Outdoor Kitchens & Cabinetry is proud to be a supplier of Coastal Source products, which are only available through certified dealers. These are high-end components that you simply can’t purchase at your local home improvement store.

coastal source certified

Creating a stunning landscape for your home requires great design skills and proper technical training. You’ll end up with beautiful lighting that complements your yard and speakers to provide a consistent, balanced sound for years to come.

What does it mean to be a certified dealer?

Our goal is to transform your landscapes into a backyard paradise. We want to exceed your expectations for the highest-quality outdoor lighting and audio to leave a breathtaking impression on your yard. That is why we use Coastal Source – the only manufacturer that makes certain all product specialists are certified. After going through a series of training sessions and passing a written examination, our experts will help you hear and see a new perspective.

Experience a difference in functionality, clarity, and appearance with a certified dealer. Using products and services that are a cut above the rest, we provide our customers with an oasis they can escape to.

Why is using a certified dealer important for you?

Choosing Outdoor Kitchens & Cabinetry is a great long-term investment. You’ll receive high-quality Coastal Source fixtures that are professionally installed and ready to withstand any weather, debris, or environmental changes. Taking into consideration both interior and exterior aspects, we show off your landscapes and gardens for optimal enjoyment and performance year after year.

coastal source outdoor speaker

The process of using a certified dealer goes beyond just building superior sound and lighting. It ensures that the installation is properly done by a trained and certified professional to guarantee excellent results. With ongoing training, each member is knowledgeable in design theory and positioning the lights and speakers in the right places.

Benefits of a Coastal Source solution

Here are a few ways you can benefit from using a Coastal Source solution for your home:

  • reduces energy costs by increasing lumens with LED lighting
  • no maintenance required – fixtures are sealed tight to keep outside debris and moisture from corroding the product
  • lifetime system warranty on lighting
  • 5-year warranty on lamps
  • 5-year warranty on speakers
  • 2-year warranty on electronics

Contact us if you’re looking for outdoor lighting and audio that is superior to all others on the market today!