Isokern fireplace in outdoor home sitting area

A funny thing happened on the way to the pandemic; people stayed home. Of course, the practical reason for this trend was to stay away from crowds, some of which were composed of people who were ill and didn’t even know it. However, many clouds of sad stories have silver linings!
As millions of homeowners soon learned, working, cooking, and entertaining at home is not half bad. In fact, it’s pretty darn good. It’s convenient, cost-effective, and healthy, especially when it’s done outdoors. 
While most homeowners didn’t see this trend coming, an unintended consequence of the modern-day “plague” of COVID has been a massive increase in interest in buying homes or remodeling existing residences with outdoor entertainment spaces. This has led many to consider entertainment nooks, fire features such as fireplaces, and outdoor kitchens that outfit every cooking appliance imaginable.  
What This Means for You — Outdoor entertainment spaces with fire features are in great demand from homebuyers and current homeowners. While climate will dictate the number of evenings a family can spend outdoors, enjoying the sights and smells of a backyard garden and a thick steak sizzling on the grill, a warm fire will always enhance the ambiance!

Acme Brick is more than just brick. The company’s outdoor entertainment products are carefully curated for their long-term value and durability. Take a quick peek

Table firepit by American Fyre Designs, Acme Brick

Does an Outdoor Space Add Value to a Home?

Fluctuating mortgage rates, the current inventory of homes, and population migration trends make buying and selling residential real estate seem like a jigsaw puzzle with a few dozen pieces missing! As a real estate writer at Forbes magazine points out, “The selling price of your home is based on a variety of factors, including location and comparable homes in the area.” There are certain features that can make the home more desirable to buyers, according to Amanda Pendleton, home trends expert at Zillow. “Many of the home features aren’t inside the home; they’re in the backyard.” 
Some of these features include:

  • TV or Not TV?
    According to Zillow, a home with an outdoor TV can sell for 3.1% more, which equates to an additional $10,749 for the average U.S. home. The article notes, “An outdoor television is a wonderful addition to an outdoor living space because it can help to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor living.”
  • Showering Au Naturel 
    Zillow projects that an outdoor shower can boost a home’s sales price by 2.6%. However, this will depend on the setup. “Some outdoor showers offer only basic functionality, serving primarily as a place to rinse off. However, properties boasting well-designed outdoor showers with ample privacy can modestly contribute to the overall value.”
  • Hold the Anchovies
    A pizza oven in the backyard can help the home sell for 1.9% more, according to the business magazine. While it may be a desirable feature for some buyers, Forbes doesn’t think it would add a lot of value. “A pizza oven is way too specific to have enough widespread appeal to alter the value equation of a home. Outdoor pizza ovens can look a variety of ways, but the ones that will yield the greatest return on investment will be the brick variety that are built in.”

  • Order Up!

    Outdoor kitchens are wildly popular. The Forbes analysis notes that an outdoor kitchen can boost the home’s value by 1.7%. “Outdoor kitchens can be small with a grill and landing space on each side or full kitchens complete with appliances and shelves.”

In many ways, the fascination that humans have for fire has evolved over the millennia. There are few experiences more pleasing and even primal than staring into a roaring fire. Obviously, our prehistoric ancestors were not concerned about things like homeowners’ associations (HOA’s) and city fire codes! 
Therefore, before that first match is struck on an outdoor fireplace such as the Isokern-Earthcore or that RCS grill both available from Acme, there are several factors a homeowner should consider before adding a fire feature. According to, “When planning an outdoor living space, many homeowners wrestle with deciding which fire feature is best suited for their home and lifestyle. A fire pit or an outdoor fireplace? Gas or wood-burning?” 
From the experts at Houzz, here are a “Quick Six” things to consider.
#1 Check the “Regs”
“Before getting your heart set on a specific feature, make sure you don’t have any property constraints related to HOA rules, building codes and fire regulations. For example, it’s not uncommon for HOAs in wooded neighborhoods to ban open fires, meaning wood-burning fire pits are out of the question.
“Additionally, some building codes and fire regulations don’t allow open fires within a certain number of feet of flammable structures, such as a house, shed, or fence; these regulations can prevent wood-burning fire pits in backyards with limited space.”
#2 What’s the Budget?
The price of the feature is always a consideration. “While product prices can vary significantly depending on the craftsmanship and design, an outdoor fireplace is always more expensive than a fire pit. Expect to pay between $1,500 and $6,500 for a fire pit and between $10,000 and $25,000 for an outdoor fireplace built by a reputable contractor.”
#3 What’s Your Style?
Every outdoor entertainment space should reflect the style of the home and its owners. Is the vibe rustic or elegant? This makes the “style” of the fire feature an important consideration. For example, the experts at Houzz suggest, “If you’re looking to create a more formal and elegant experience, you might prefer a fireplace. Fireplaces tend to be larger and have a grander appearance than fire pits.”

Outdoor Isokern fireplace in backyard

#4 The Convenience Consideration
Especially for outdoor cooking, most grill masters have strong feelings about the taste benefits of wood versus the convenience of gas. “When it comes to convenience, gas fire features are unbeatable. You won’t have to buy, chop, stack, or season any wood; there will be no wood ashes to clean up, and you’ll be able to get a fire going in less than 10 seconds.” On the other hand, there’s something about the changes in taste of different species of wood—oak, cherry, pecan, ad infinitum.
# 5 What’s the Headcount?
When your neighbor, Fred, is tuning up the old six-string for his fabled version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” it’s too late to consider what type of fire feature can best accommodate the usual crowd around the fire. 
Here’s a rule-of-thumb from Houzz; For outdoor fireplaces, most traditional furniture arrangements include seating for five to six people. Because of this, fireplaces are often preferred by homeowners who host smaller, more intimate gatherings. Around six to 10 people can fit comfortably around most residential fire pits. As for keeping Fred on key? Well, that’s a different formula. 
#6 Is Everybody Warm Enough?
Depending on the local climate, outdoor entertaining can be a chilly situation. Many people don’t know that wood-burning fire features are hotter than gas. If warmth is a driving factor in your decision-making, a wood-burning fire feature is the best choice, according to Houzz.
“Also consider that unlike fireplaces, which put out a very direct warmth, fire pits project heat in all directions, creating a much warmer space. Additionally, fire pits are typically furnished with individual chairs, making it easier for someone cold to pull in closer. It’s difficult to do that with the sofas used with traditional fireplaces.”
One cool (or hot) way to regulate this climate conundrum is to get a portable heat source such as the Bromic outdoor heater. It is designed to keep the guests and the grill master warm as toast, even on a cool November night.

State-of-the-entertainment-art fireplaces, fire pits, grills, and even the brick for pizza ovens are all available from Acme. Here are some great ideas.