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How to Make A Frog Pond in Your Backyard

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During the hot summer season, you might notice yourself swatting swarms of insects away as they take over your backyard. A great solution to control the insect population is to make a frog pond in your backyard. Frogs will keep the bugs from bugging you, and will stay around if they’re well-fed, maintaining the ecosystem. Plus, you get a cool pond to spruce up your backyard!

Keep reading to find out what you need to get started on this pond-making project and how you can go about making a frog pond in your backyard. You will also find helpful tips on what kinds of aquatic vegetation and other pond decorations you can add to your newly-built frog pond to attract frogs.

frog in pond

What You’ll Need

Before you begin making your frog pond, you’ll need a few things to get started:

  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • Leveling tool
  • Pond liner
  • Sand or gravel
  • Stones in a variety of sizes
  • Scissors
  • Driftwood logs
  • Native terrestrial & aquatic plants
  • Clay plant pots in a variety of sizes

Find the Perfect Spot

The first step to building a frog pond in your backyard is to find a suitable place for it to go. The perfect spot for your frog pond is low to the ground, on even land, and surrounded by vegetation. Avoid hills and uneven ground to make digging less strenuous, plus uneven pond sides can cause water to escape. Vegetation will provide partial shade for the frogs.

Try not to make your frog pond too close to any trees, as, during the colder seasons, their leaves will fall into the water and disrupt the oxygen flow. If too many leaves are crowding the frog pond, you will have to constantly scoop them out, or the frogs might end up migrating somewhere else.

Plan Out the Frog Pond’s Design

Now that you’ve found the perfect spot for your frog pond, it’s time to plan out its design. The pond’s shape should be organic and straightforward to make laying the pond liner out easy. Once you’ve decided how big you want to go and what shape you want to make it, you can use a shovel to dig out a shallow trench for the perimeter of the pond to mark out where you’ll be digging.

The best design for a frog pond is one with levels. There should be a shallow level that gradually slopes down to a deep one. The pond’s edges should also be sloped and not too steep so frogs can easily make their way in and out. Keep in mind that tadpoles need a deep end in their pond of at least two inches, so make sure there are no wires or pipes in the way. Although it might not be a cheap landscaping idea, a frog pond will be a great addition to your backyard.

Start Digging

Once the design is all mapped out, you can start digging. Start by using a shovel to remove the turf, or the grassy top layer of the ground. You can use some turf after laying down the pond liner to cover its edges and make a place to plant some vegetation. Proceed to dig out the frog pond to the design you created, ensuring that the pond’s edges and layers are all sloped.

When digging, use a leveling tool to ensure that the pond’s sides are even so the water will sit evenly. After you reach the deep end, use a measuring tape to measure if it is at least two inches deep. Remove any sharp rocks or tree roots to make way for the pond liner, as they can puncture it and cause a leak. Disperse the collected piles of dirt around the rest of the backyard.

Lay Down the Pond Liner

The next step to making a frog pond in your backyard is to lay down the pond liner over the dugout pond. You can put it in place by pushing against it and making sure it is as flush to all of the curves and slopes of the frog pond as possible. Use a measuring tape to ensure that the pond liner is at least 15 inches over all of the pond’s edges and sides to prevent leakage.

After your pond liner is all laid out, you can begin preparing the frog pond to be filled with water. Whether you have chosen sand, gravel, or stones to be at the bottom of your frog pond, now is the time to add them. If you want a more natural look, you can fill the bottom and stack the sides of the pond with stones and then pour the sand or gravel over top of them to fill in the spaces.

Fill the Frog Pond with Water

Now that you’ve laid out the pond liner and decorated the bottom and sides of the frog pond to your liking, you can proceed to fill it with water. To ensure the water you’re using to fill it up won’t have any harmful chemicals, you should store enough to fill the pond in clean containers for about five days before using it. After pouring it in, let it sit for a bit for further precaution.

When your backyard frog pond is all filled up with water, you can start to see how everything is coming together. The only things left to do are to trim the pond liner and decorate the frog pond. To prevent the pond liner from toppling the stacked stones on the sides of the pond, you can use some larger ones to weigh it down by placing them around the edges like an outline.

Trim the Pond Liner

Once the frog pond has been filled with nontoxic water and you have weighed down the pond liner with some heavier stones, you can trim the pond liner. Use a pair of sharpened scissors to cut the excess pond liner, making sure to leave at least ten inches on all sides of the pond. You can cover the edges with some leftover soil or turf from digging to make it look more natural.

Decorate the Frog Pond

The last step to making a frog pond in your backyard is to decorate it so it will attract the attention of your amphibian friends. You can decorate the pond by planting plants that are native to your area and placing items for shelter at the base and edges of the pond. Some frog-friendly terrestrial and aquatic native vegetation options and ideas for frog shelters are also listed.

The Base

Some beneficial options for decorating the bottom of your frog pond:

  • Driftwood logs: Placing driftwood logs on the bottom of your frog pond can promote the growth of algae, which is a source of food for tadpoles.
  • Large stones: Large varieties of limestone, granite, and marble varieties tend to grow algae quickly, meaning they can provide lots of food for tadpoles when underwater in your frog pond.
  • Submerged aquatic plants: Plants that root into the sand at the bottom of your frog pond and stay mostly submerged can provide shelter for tadpoles and control the growth of algae.

The Edges

Some beneficial options for decorating around your frog pond:

  • Leaf litter: You can rake some dead leaves from any trees or shrubs in your backyard and scatter them around the frog pond to create a place for them to cool off.
  • Bark: Orchid bark, tea tree bark, and cork bark are all frog-friendly tree barks that frogs can climb under to cool down when placed around your frog pond.
  • Terrestrial plants: Terrestrial plants that live on the edges of your frog pond can provide tadpoles food from their droppings, frogs food from attracting insects, and shade from the sun.
  • Solar-powered garden lights: Placing a few solar-powered garden lights around your frog pond can attract insects at night, so your frogs will be well-fed.
  • Driftwood logs: If you partially submerge a driftwood log into your frog pond and have the rest slightly buried into the ground around the pond, it can serve as a ramp in and out of the water for frogs.

Native Vegetation

Some options for native terrestrial vegetation:

  • Grass
  • Golden Ragwort
  • Hosta
  • Fern
  • Cliff Goldenrod

Some options for native aquatic vegetation:

  • Elodea
  • Sago Pondweed
  • Water Canna
  • Tussock Sedge
  • Pickerelweed

Shelter

Some creative ideas for frog shelters:

  • Stacked stones: You can stack stones to create an arch that frogs will hide under.
  • Driftwood logs: Frogs can hide in hollow driftwood logs.
  • Clay plant pots: Set clay plant pots on their sides and partially bury them in the soil around your frog farm so frogs can hide in them.

Summary

Making a frog pond in your backyard is rewarding work and can help the ecosystem. Certain plants will attract flies that will feed the frogs that inhabit the pond, and they can even attract butterflies and bees to contribute to pollination. A frog pond can also add natural beauty to your backyard and garden with its blooming flowers and an extensive collection of critters.

If you have a water fountain in you backyard, learn how to keep the water clean. If you’re looking for a new project, you maybe interested in learning how to redeck a trailer or how you can make burner!

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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