Lush outdoor patio with greenery and plants surrounding it
Outdoor entertainment area with grill, seating area under an umbrella, and plants/greenery surrounding it

During the years of being homebound due to COVID, American homeowners discovered something that societies in the Far East have known for centuries: Outdoor spaces such as patios, designed in a way that is consistent with nature, can enhance tranquility and peace of mind.

According to a “Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR),” and reported by this architectural design publication, “Spending time outdoors comes with many benefits. Being in nature can reduce stress and inflammation, improve memory, and might even boost your immune system. And it can be as easy as hanging out in your backyard or on an outdoor patio. Nearly 80% of people who have remodeled or built an outdoor patio space have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home.” 

It adds, “Designing a sustainable outdoor patio is one way to get close to the outdoors without leaving home.”

Acme has a wide array of home improvement products that enhance your quality of life, both inside and outside. Click here to find out more.

Five Ways to Make Your Outdoor Space Spectacular

The Secret Power of Plants

In a 1974 best-selling book, Brett Bolton intrigued millions with his insights about “the strange and mysterious powers of plants.” This led botanists and other scientists to prove in experiments - under controlled, scientific conditions - that plants do have almost incredible faculties, which we are only just beginning to understand. 

Landscape and building architects say homeowners should use PLENTY of plants in the design of outdoor spaces. Why? Plants are known to cleanse the air of harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), according to the GB&D article. “Some plants can also be low-maintenance and low-cost, like English Ivy, Bamboo Palm, and Weeping Fig. Incorporating native plants in and around an outdoor patio will provide even more benefits, like promoting biodiversity and erosion prevention; there is also no need to fertilize native plants.

“When it comes to using plants in outdoor patio design, features can range from incorporating a green wall to doing some traditional gardening. One simple way to add variety to an outdoor space is to use potted plants.”

Fire Features Are Hot

Nothing adds warmth to an outdoor space - literally and figuratively – like a fire feature. Fire pits such as the American Fyre Design and Mason-Lite outdoor fireplaces, available from Acme Brick, are among the most popular additions to outdoor patios. Adding a fire feature also improves homeowners’ happiness, as consumers gave a fire feature addition a perfect 10 on the Joy Score from NAR’s 2018 Remodeling Impact Report.

Fire features powered by natural gas or propane are extremely sustainable. They are easy to install in an outdoor entertainment space and superior to wood-burning features because they are clean-burning and smoke free.

Fire put in an open, outdoor patio area

Sustainability = Recycled Materials

Outdoor features such as railings and enclosures like fencing that are made of aluminum or steel are composed of recycled materials, one of the hallmarks of sustainability. “Stainless steel cable railing is a popular choice for outdoor spaces because it’s resistant to corrosion, easy to clean, and works well to complement many other materials,” according to GB&D Magazine.

Another way to feature recycled materials in an outdoor entertainment space is to install siding from MAC Metal Architectural on the outdoor wall of the home which faces the entertainment space. MAC siding is made from 100% recycled materials. This means homes and buildings can earn points toward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification with this “green” metal siding.

Hit the Deck

Building a deck as a part of the outdoor entertainment space has been a favorite approach by many homeowners for many years. Architects have noted that this addition increases the “livability” of the space. 

If sustainability is also important, composite decking might check this box. The editors of GB&D Magazine note that composite decking is “green” because “it allows for the use of post-industrial and post-consumer recycled materials on the open market. Composite decking also gives the look of hardwood without the maintenance and with added durability, and it’s typically made up of two or more nonmetallic materials. These materials are fused together to form the structure of the deck board with the most common being capped wood-plastic and capped-polymer decking.”

Efficiently Heating the Great Outdoors

Nothing puts a damper on outdoor entertaining like a fall or winter temperature drop. While fire pits and fireplaces can help slow the shivering, there is a more efficient and therefore sustainable way to warm up an outdoor entertainment space. According to this article, better technology is needed. Engineered outdoor heaters can keep the outdoor entertainment space usable all year long. 

“The best way to heat an outdoor area is through radiant heat,” said Britt Stokes of Acme Brick. “Radiant heat warms objects, not the air, like the experience of the sun warming your skin. This is fundamentally different from traditional outdoor fire sources.
Because of this focus on objects and not air, radiant heaters are wind resistant and can still warm people even in mild wind conditions. This method involves projecting infrared heat radiation onto people rather than moving warm air into the outdoor patio. 
“Radiant heating is the foundation for all Bromic heaters. When properly specified, Bromic heaters can heat any outdoor space more effectively than many competitors because of this principle.”

Sustainable Design Rules

The outdoor “room” of a home can be the most relaxing place of the house, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. By using these tips, the vibe can feel calm while the energy expenses are kept low. 


Sustainability is more than a buzzword for designers. It involves using natural construction materials such as Acme Brick, and other home improvement products that are made from recycled materials and are energy efficient. Click here to get some great ideas.