Jeremy South encourages his clients to dream big and pushes himself to do the same with his business. Whether he’s working on a hardscape plan for a homeowner or a five-year plan for his Virginia-based company South Side Specialties, his ability to create a solid vision ensures a successful build.

A recent project started out like so many others, with a client unsure of what exactly they wanted and unaware of the potential their outdoor space could have. South worked with the homeowner to refine their goals, explaining “we created a 3D design for them before we actually did the project, and once they saw the design, you know, they’re all on board.”

That 3D model – created with Belgard Design Studio – helped the homeowner to expand their backyard vision from a simple patio to a fully functional outdoor living space. “When they came to me, they wanted to widen their space, to have more usable space,” he says. “They didn’t initially ask for an outdoor grill or pergola – all they asked for was a fire pit, and we ended up getting them to replace the deck, do the outdoor grill, the pergola, the fire pit and still do the fencing around as well.”

It’s all part of South’s process, working with the client to establish baseline must-haves and then helping them to envision the additional could-haves. “The first approach I take is finding out all the amenities that the client wants on it” – in this case, the patio space and fire pit – “and once we find out that, we also throw out a couple more suggestions to see if they’re open to it.”

And like many clients before them, these homeowners were thrilled to have had South’s expert guidance through the design process. “Oh my gosh, they were excited,” he says. “They were happy, we maintained a good relationship, and they love us now that we’re out of their backyard and they get to enjoy it!”

Not that there weren’t a few routine challenges along the way. “One of the biggest obstacles was that the pool was already existing, so we had to take up all the concrete up around it,” said South. “And then making sure that the water ran on all sides appropriately and getting the drainage correct was probably the biggest obstacle, but other than that it was pretty smooth.”

And “smooth” is just how South likes to see things run, whether it’s a hardscape buildout or developing his almost five-year-old company. As for his next five years? “My goal five years from now is to have five designers in the office constantly out designing, and probably up to a hundred employees,” he says. “I’d like to be putting out about like 20- to 40,000 square feet of hardscape every month.”

In the meantime, South will continue helping clients’ to dream big with their outdoor living space, all while keeping designs on the future of his thriving young business.


This project featured:

 Origins pavers in the color Mountain Mist

Mega Arbel pavers in Fossil Beige

Marina Coping in Charcoal


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