Building a frog pond will attract wildlife like amphibians, birds and butterflies to your garden. Design your frog pond to attract animals that need aquatic conditions, but also provide dry land for food and shelter.
The following guide provides simple advice on how to build ponds for these fascinating creatures and looks at the ideal habitat for frogs to thrive in.
Step 1 – Choose a Location
Build your frog pond on low ground that collects water naturally so that it will be replenished whenever it rains. Make sure frogs have easy access points without exposing them to predators, human interference or road traffic.
Build ponds away from composts heaps. Compost can produce ammonia, which can be particularly harmful to amphibians.
Select an area of at least 12x6 ft. and dig down to at least 22 inches.
Step 2 – Choose a Lining
Pick out a suitable lining for your frog pond. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is considered to be the best type of liner as it is more resilient to direct sunlight and will not break down as easily as cheaper plastic alternatives.
A good liner will prevent soil seepage, and a thicker cut is ideal as these cannot be punctured as easily. Lining should be slightly oversized in relation to the size of the pond.
Step 3 – Excavation
Dig the pond out during dry or slightly damp weather conditions. Outline the dedicated area using stake pegs and string. Remove all natural debris from within the marked area and keep to one side to use as landscaping once the pond is complete.
Dig out in layers until the floor level is at least 22 inches deep. This will allow for the thickness of the lining and a 3-inch layer of sand on the bed of the pond. Add the sand as soon as the pond has been excavated and packed down firmly. Pack a thin layer—around 1 inch—against the pond walls.
Step 4 – Install the PVC Lining
Visually inspect the lining for holes or tears, and check the walls and bed of the pond to get rid of any snagging points.
Place the liner centrally into the excavated area and tamper by hand until flat and even. Work the lining against the walls of the pond to prevent sagging. If there is surplus lining that lips over the top of the pond, hold it in place with bricks.
Step 4 – Add Water
Stand barefoot in the center of the pond and begin adding water using the hose. As the weight of the water begins to settle the lining, gently tap any surplus into the corners of the pond with your feet. This will help to prevent leak points later on.
Once the pond is filled to an acceptable level, remove the bricks holding the edges of the lining. Cover the lining with at least 6 inches of soil to keep it in place.
Let water settle for at least 5 days to allow chlorine to evaporate.
Step 5 – Build an Environment
Landscape your frog pond using natural debris from the surrounding area. Ornamental rock piles also look great and provide sunning spots or hiding places for frogs.
Plant life is particularly important, as this will oxygenate the water and provide shelter and hiding places. Cat-tails, arrowhead and water lilies are all ideal, while duckweed provides a great floating species of plant. Submerge several potted plants at varying heights to provide amphibians with a more realistic natural environment. Place a little gravel on top of pots to add weight and to stop soil from floating back into the water.
Add snails that feed on waste products to keep algae under control, and leave dead timber to attract beetles and other insects for frogs to feed on.
Try adding plants to the surrounding area of your frog pond to provide further shelter and hiding spots for your amphibian visitors.