Before & After: A Sleepy Backyard Slope Becomes a Hillside Pond

I received a lovely Before & After from Claire over at The Garden Diaries last week, and I’m excited to share her hillside pond makeover with you guys today. What was once just a plain set of steps up the side of a grassy hill has become a fantastic hillside retreat nestled into a slope that leans right next to the house.

A front yard with a large tree and neatly-trimmed grass stretches over a sleepy slope. There is a patch of bare soil and a set of stairs leading up to a house with a brick foundation and white siding in the background. A green arrow with the word “Before” is on the left side of the image.
Before the transformation, this sloping garden did not provide any thing to look at, and it was difficult to maintain with turf. Terraced levels and retaining walls, as well as lush greenery and vibrant flowers, will enhance this outdoor space in the garden makeover. See the After for creative ideas to make the most of your sloping garden.

I love the addition of the retaining walls and the cascading waterfall, which really brings this sweet little pond to the next level. I really like the idea of having an area like this so close to the house- it’s nice to be able to step inside for another cup of coffee without having to trek across the entire dew-ridden yard. The other great thing, in this case anyway, is that the waterfall can be probably be heard from indoors, which I’m sure is a relaxing addition to a warm summer night.

Yep, I’m sold- definitely adding a project like this to my 5-year plan.

A landscaped backyard with various colorful plants and flowers surrounding a small pond with a waterfall on the sleepy slope. There is a rustic wooden bench in the foreground, and a stone retaining wall in the background. A green arrow with "After" written on it highlights the transformation.
This hillside waterfall design incorporates natural elements to create a serene and stunning landscape feature. Using cascading rocks, plants, and water features, this design brings the soothing sounds of a waterfall to the backyard. Consider incorporating native plants and sustainable materials for a harmonious and eco-friendly design.

And below is what it looks like in bloom…those purple irises are stunning in this setting!

A backyard garden features a small waterfall cascading over rocks into a hillside pond surrounded by lush greenery and vibrant purple irises. The scene includes various plants, shrubs, and a stone wall under a porch in the background.
A waterfall and pond on a hillside is a picturesque sight, where cascading water flows down the lush green slope, creating a stunning natural spectacle. This serene and tranquil setting offers a perfect escape into nature, ideal for relaxation and rejuvenation. Consider placing a patio or other seating area nearby so you can enjoy the views.

Thanks so much for sharing, Claire! –erin

If you have a great landscape makeover that you want to share, do what Claire did and send us an email! You may just see your project featured in a future Before & After article.

Images from: The Garden Diaries

More Makeovers and Pond Gardens:

REgister now!

A Free Master Class



  1. Kris P says:

    Of all the garden transformations you’ve shown, I think this is my favorite. I never – ever – would have conceived such a dramatic change from the 1st photo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Does Your Garden Need a Makeover?

Learn my 7-step system to design and build a stunning garden anywhere in the world.


Join my Free Class!

Understand the 5 mistakes everyone makes when creating a garden. (Save yourself time, money, & headaches and get much better results!)

See how to work directly with me (but at a DIY price!) to
design and create your own gorgeous garden.