Sunburst stone path around pond


Linda from Each Little World recently asked whether she’d missed a post about the paving around my stock-tank pond. I did post a few pics of my new sunburst path after I got the stone laid, but I decided to hold off on more until I’d finished the details of “grouting” with decomposed granite and laying threshold stones. One thing led to another, and those tasks dragged out a couple of months, but it’s all done now. As you can see, the pond echoes the curvy shape—and watery vista—of the pool in the background.


An overhead view from the deck reveals the kids’ trampoline in the lower garden, down a slope of about 5 feet. The pond echoes its shape too. There’s a deliberate circle theme going on.


BEFORE: This is how the space looked a year ago. Click on the link for my post about how the circle design came to be.


I love how the pond has become the hub of the garden, with path spokes radiating out in four directions. Looking from the pool surround up the slope to the new side garden planted last fall, you can see that I’m in the process of constructing a hillside path—one of the “spokes.” Working backwards from how it should be done (hardscape first), I’d created beds first because I had plants to plant and no moolah for hardscaping. The eventual result was grassy paths that I planned to convert into gravel or stone. Well, that day has come. This will be a pea-gravel-and-timber path soon.


Turning back toward the pool, a wedge of bare dirt shows where I’ll soon be laying a flagstone path from the deck to the pool surround. Hours of sweaty labor await, but the result will be worth it.


In the meantime, I’ll close with a cooling image of a ‘Helvola’ water lily bud breaking the surface of the pond. I get so much pleasure from this simple stock-tank pond. It was exactly what I needed to transform an empty stretch of lawn into a focal point for a surrounding garden.

All material © 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

25 Responses

  1. Bren says:

    Wow Power! This is a great design. I love the materials you choose. IT is traditional modern but yet very comfy country. Does that makes sense? Do you have to add alot to the pond to keep it clean? I wonder if you could use microbes or barrel bail mats? We maintain a 1/2 acre pond and I am anxious to put a smaller pond in a landscape closer to the house.

    Thanks, Bren. As for the pond, I don’t add anything to it to keep it clean besides plenty of underwater oxygenating plants and a few goldfish. The oxygenating plants—along with water-shading lily leaves—keep the water free of algae all year, aside from a brief algae bloom each spring as the water heats up and the plants are still dormant. The fish eat algae too as well as mosquito larvae. Natural balance! —Pam

  2. Randy says:

    Pam,
    Everything is just looking fantastic!

    Thanks, Randy. You know how it is to start over with a garden. Before you know it, you have one again. —Pam

  3. Barbara H. says:

    Fantastic, Pam, especially after seeing the before shot. I’d seen the “before” before, of course, but it had been replaced in my mind by all the beautiful work you’ve done creating your new garden. Thanks for the inspirations! That “think tank” (pool) has been working.

    Indeed! I like posting “before” shots for myself as much as anyone. It’s easy to forget how much work one has done when you’re always looking ahead to the next project, like I am. —Pam

  4. Darla says:

    Beautiful is an understatement for this area Pam. I just love it!

    Thank you, Darla! —Pam

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    In the fourth photo those lily buds look like little fire lights in the pond. Your garden is evolving into a magical place. Love the fanning of the stones around the pond. It screams come hither and enjoy this space. Odd that I asked about crushed granite here for a project and they looked at me like I had two heads. Not available around here darn it.

    Thanks, Lisa. The garden does feel magical sometimes, especially in the late-afternoon light. Bummer that you can’t find crushed granite in Greenbow. I don’t know what I’d do without it. —Pam

  6. Jenny says:

    You have worked a miracle.

    Thanks, Jenny. I don’t know about miracle, but there’s a lot of sweat equity in this garden, and I enjoy it. Your marvelous hardscaping has inspired me to be more creative with mine. —Pam

  7. Kelsey says:

    An amazing design! It looks great! Keep up the good work (and posts!) – ha ha!

    Thanks, Kelsey. You can be sure I’ll keep gardening and posting. Both are enjoyable addictions. —Pam

  8. Cheryl says:

    I love the last photo! Beautiful!

    The light was so great right then, Cheryl. I’m glad you enjoyed it. —Pam

  9. Wow! All that hard work, is really paying off. It looks great.

    Thank you, Linda. —Pam

  10. As other commenters have noted the lily buds at first looked like firelight in your pond! This is just beautiful…well done! And I really appreciate your comment about doing it backwards. Sometimes that’s just the way we’ve got to do it…but as long as you stick with your vision it all comes out in the end.

    Thanks, Loree. Yep, the rule about hardscaping first makes perfect sense, and it’s what I advise clients, but hard-core gardeners usually want to get plants in the ground immediately. One solution is to lay out your paths and use mulch, gravel, or grass to “pave” them until you can afford to have them hardscaped the way you want. The risk, of course, is that your plants will be damaged or have to be moved when it’s time to add the hardscaping. —Pam

  11. It looks terrific, Pam – almost like a well at the heart of your outside world.
    Doing the path afterward doesn’t seem backward – just natural. Instead of forcing plants to follow an existing line, one adjusts the trail that wanders past them. Maybe it seems natural to me because my plants know I’m easy to boss around!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Thanks, Annie. Actually, I laid out the paths from the beginning, and so the planting beds were, by default, the spaces remaining after the paths and the pond area had been defined. So I did plant according to the hardscaping lines that just weren’t there yet. I find that defining spaces first and planting after makes for less work later in moving plants around for the (wider) paths you inevitably want and need. —Pam

  12. Gail says:

    It’s perfect~I remember those early posts, this has been an exciting transformation. gail

  13. Wow, Pam–it’s incredible! I love the repeated circle themes and the spoke leading to the hillside path.

  14. Mamaholt says:

    That is just perfect. I LOVE it. LOVE the circle theme too.

  15. Carol says:

    Excellent work. I love how that all came together.

  16. commonweeder says:

    I love before and after photos. they help nudge the imagination. We’ve got stock tanks in our neighbornood. Hmmmm. This is a very thought provoking post.

  17. Love it, love it!

  18. Jean says:

    I love it. Something about the pattern of the rock is so inviting.

  19. Chookie says:

    That looks great! Can we have another wander around all of your garden soon, to see how it fits together now?

    I will try to remember to do that sometime this summer or maybe early fall, Chookie. It was fun to show the before-and-after shots last year. —Pam

  20. cat says:

    so beautiful!! you are truly an incredible inspiration!

  21. Les says:

    Good for you for getting the beds and plants in before the hardscaping, I like your priorities. This project had fantastic results.

  22. Layanee says:

    The change is remarkable and serene. Now, I will go out and clean up around my fish pond. Inspiration lies in viewing other’s hard work….sometimes.

  23. Jayne says:

    Wow – seeing the “before” photo really highlights the wonderful changes that have happened. It looks awesome!

  24. […] and I couldn’t leave it half-finished. So I used some of my leftover stone strips from the sunburst path around the stock-tank pond and made a diamond-shaped insert. A biscuit-like river rock in the middle is the finishing […]

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