A hillside is the perfect place to create a cascading waterfall. ATTRIBUTION: Clotee Allochuku (Flickr)

I know that landscaping on a slope can be intimidating, and it does present a variety of challenges. However, it’s possible to create your dream yard with a little bit of creativity. Put the slopes to good use by creating a visual element that will add beauty and function to your backyard, such as a cascading waterfall or a series of natural stone steps. Here, I’ll show you how it’s possible to transform your hilly backyard into an incredible outdoor space.

Rock Garden

Sloped turf is an excellent place to create a rock garden, as the hill’s natural incline provides suitable drainage for plants. Select boulders, if possible, as well as assorted smaller rocks to fill in the gaps. Use the same type of rock throughout to create a uniform appearance. Add color to your rock garden by incorporating native drought-resistant plants that can thrive in rocky conditions.


A waterfall can add visual interest to any backyard landscaping. Having a pre-established slope in your backyard will prevent you from having to dig out one yourself. Natural elements like large stones can be used to build the walls of the waterfall. If desired, have the water flow into a pond, which can be accented with water lilies and various floating pond plants.

Multi-Layered Garden

Add a plethora of color and texture to your backyard with a multi-layered garden. Create a cohesive landscape design by choosing a palette of complementing colors, and then pick trees, flowering shrubs, and ground cover according to your chosen color scheme. Be sure to apply a heavy layer of mulch around each plant to help keep the soil moist and deter weed growth.

Stone Steps

Make use of every inch of your backyard by adding functional steps. For a natural look, opt for steps made of natural rock slabs, ensuring that each rock has a relatively flat side with substantial surface area for safety. Use ground-cover plants along the sides of the stone steps to help prevent erosion and to beauty your outdoor staircase.

Retaining Wall

Many homeowners choose to create a clean landscape design with retaining walls. A retaining wall is a type of structure used to hold soil behind it. It can be made of various materials, including treated timbers, concrete blocks, boulders, or rocks. Retaining walls are often used to prevent a hilly surface from eroding or to create a flat surface on which to build a flower bed or garden.

Terraced Garden

Terraces aim to create numerous mini-gardens in your backyard. During terracing, sloping land is formed into a number of level, flat areas that resemble steps. Not only does terrace landscaping add beauty to a backyard, but it can also prevent erosion by transforming a long slope into shorter, more level areas of ground. Depending on the size of the yard and the steepness of the slope, terraces can be designed with various wall heights. Once established, the terraces are an excellent place to plant ground covers, which eliminate the need to mow these difficult-to-maintain areas.