Garden Photo of the Day

Turning a Pond Into a Rock Garden

Replacing water with gravel

Today we’re visiting Margaret Sobolewski’s garden in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

I sent pictures of my garden to GPOD years ago, and I thought I would send some photos of my latest project, a rock/scree garden. My husband has a drone we used for the overhead shots. We have gardened on this land in Carlisle in south central Pennsylvania, a former cornfield, for 36 years. The rock garden used to be a formal pond. I decided it was too much maintenance and converted it to a rock garden three years ago. I took out the liner and filled the 28-inch-deep and 14-foot-diameter space with sand and gravel dust, placed the stones, and added a gravel mulch. Joseph Tychonievich’s book on rock gardening was a great resource.

Then the fun began: learning about a whole new group of plants. These are miniature gems that require sharp drainage and are mostly available through mail order. I joined the Delaware Valley chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society to learn from experts and got some wonderful plants and advice from them. About 10% of the plants have died. I plant new gems each spring. It’s very much trial and error—and very low maintenance.

Drone shot of the garden.

The rock garden from above, with the trees showing fall color.

Coming down to ground level, a view across the rock garden

Thickly planted perennials and shrubs make a lush backdrop for the former pond turned into a rock garden.

Filling the former pond with sand and gravel provided the tiny rock garden gems the excellent drainage they require to thrive.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. User avater
    user-7007816 07/14/2020

    Your conversion of a pond into a rock garden was such a great idea. I also enjoy the drone photos showing a wonderful selection of trees.

    1. Musette1 07/14/2020

      I agree! Those drone shots are great, showing the entire garden at a glance. And the rock garden is fabulous!

  2. wittyone 07/14/2020

    The shots from the drone are wonderful. They let us see all the work that you have done over the years. So often it's hard to get a real picture of how various parts of the gardens shown fit together. This makes it all clear how your time has been spent.

    How much sand and gravel did you have to transport to fill that pond? Looks like quite a few loads were necessary.

    Great job!

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/14/2020

    Love that rock garden!!

  4. PAdesigner 07/14/2020

    I have a small pick up truck and it took over 20 loads to fill it.

  5. cheryl_c 07/14/2020

    The overhead shots give such a nice perspective on your repeating elements of circles and white, repeated with gravel and with the roundness of shrubs and trees. Regarding your 20 loads, I'm surprised we don't see the tracks into the yard! The whole project is nicely done. Thanks for sharing

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest