Side Yards: 6 Hardscaping Solutions to Conquer Them and Other Uniquely Shaped Areas

Side yards, small yards, or yards with interesting shapes are often forgotten or considered an afterthought. Homeowners might assume that the limitations are too great to create value in a smaller space. 

But with a touch of inspiration and help from professionals, those “out of the ordinary” side yards can become anything from functional outdoor spaces to relaxing getaways. 

Side yards or irregular yards are still contenders for hosting barbecues with a patio space or having attractive water features that add value and beauty to your property. All it requires is a creative imagination combined with expert professionals. Overcoming an unusually shaped yard is easier than you think! 

Here are 6 hardscaping solutions that  can help create unique areas and make the most out of an awkward layout:

1. Retaining Walls

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Often, one of the most common challenges we see among our clients is a heavily sloped yard. Retaining walls are the perfect solution to this pesky problem. They can be used to partition different sections of the property into more usable areas, layered in terraces, or expand a narrow ridge into an exciting playground area

Retaining walls excel at creating extra space where it is needed most. Lower walls can even double as seating around a firepit or simply add character to an otherwise bland landscape.

Installing retaining walls is an excellent way to reduce the effects of erosion over time, meaning your property is better protected during storms and other forms of inclement weather.

2. Walkways & Stairs

side yards

Stairs and walkways can also serve as an ideal solution for awkward side yards or other problem areas around your home. Perhaps, like in the above section, a yard is dramatically sloped, rendering another area of the property inaccessible. A stone staircase leading down to the hard-to-reach part of the yard suddenly opens up a host of opportunities in the previously unused space.

Likewise, using elegantly curved walkways and patios are a fantastic way to add flow and accessibility to yards that are too boxy or angular. Custom patios don’t have to be elaborate or typical — getting creative with the design frees you up for some truly awe-inspiring outdoor living spaces. 

Modern stone pavers are incredibly versatile and can be hardscaped into sloped or hilly yards with the right help. The unconventional landscape might seem troublesome at first, but with the right planning and design, you can fit a gorgeous patio just about anywhere.

3. Firepits

Side Yards Oasis The Stone Man Charlotte NC

Often, all side yards needs is a focal point. Firepits add a simple allure to your side yard or other yard space and can act as the perfect starting place to inspire the rest of the design. They’re an excellent choice for anyone looking to entertain more, and are often very budget-friendly. So if you’re still planning out your vision for your yard and need a feature to build off of, a firepit is a great place to start.

Plus, firepits can be used for activities such as roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. They can also provide heat and light, making the side yard a more comfortable and inviting space to spend time in during cooler months. 

4. Outdoor Kitchens

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Whether you’re interested in entertaining on the patio more often or feel like you want to master the perfect Neapolitan-style pizza with a traditional oven, there’s an outdoor kitchen design for you.

The possibilities are endless, and the level of customization available makes small yards or oddly shaped yards the perfect candidate for outdoor kitchens. When planning a design for an outdoor kitchen in a side yard or otherwise awkward space, the key is to break up the area into distinct zones. 

By creatively combining covered structures, counters for prepping and grilling, and seating areas for relaxation/dining, a professional hardscaping company can design an outdoor living space that fits your odd little side yards like a glove.

5. Water Features

Fountains and water features can breathe life into those corners and crevices that are typically left either empty and lifeless or completely overgrown. Not only do beautiful water features provide a beautiful solution for these trouble spots but they also bring a sense of calm and balance to your outdoor living experience. 

Water features are also great if you’re planning to install any flowers or other landscaping, and they are bound to reanimate any stagnant areas of your property.

6. Covered Structures

side yards

Especially in modern developments, properties often lack sufficient natural shading from nearby trees. If you’re thinking about building an outdoor living space, a covered structure can help you and your guests stay cool in the summer heat and dry when it rains. Covered structures combined with other hardscape projects allow you to enjoy your outdoor spaces year-round. 

A screened-in porch is a highly sought-after feature for many Charlotte homeowners – especially since humidity, high heat, and mosquitoes often make the outdoors unbearable during the summer months. These porches allow you to enjoy all of the perks of being outdoors with no bothersome bugs or ire-inducing heat to send you back inside. 

The added privacy and increased value of your home are reason enough, but covered structures also play nicely with side yards. And hardscaping projects like covered structures can add incredible value, both now for you and your family and in the future for prospective buyers.


No matter the yard, The Stone Man has the experience and know-how to transform your outdoor spaces into the oasis you’ve always dreamed of. If you want assistance with your side yard project, contact us today. Our experts work with you to solve even the gnarliest of landscapes.